Evading Friction

November 28, 2010
By Anonymous

He was sitting at the bar, gripping a small glass of whiskey and occasionally turning it to different angles. What a place to be. It was such a cliché to sit there that he had considered moving, but realised that his follow up would be walking around the dark streets of the city alone, another unavoidable cliché that would most likely result in him getting mugged. He sat and drank and stared. Stared at the other people and stared at the middle of the air in front of his face. What a place to be. He sipped his drink, eyes drying.
There was always an act at the pubs in Peckham. Tonight it was mostly music, mostly younger types with misplaced gigs. The pub was older, and the inhabitants came here for their own reasons. Sometimes he wondered why acts were hired; either the gigs were paid with a free drink or owners were losing money.
“Thanks, have good night.”
Another kid stepped off behind the stage curtain, just a muted fabric patch over the small, elevated platform. He hadn’t noticed the kid perform. He gulped the last of his whiskey and pulled a few crinkled fivers out of his pocket. He dropped them on the countertop before exiting the bar, entering into the cold urban streets: a completely different world with the same roots. Few people were out tonight, and if they were they were too captivated by their own lives for anyone else to notice them. He walked the streets and turned corners, making himself look like he knew where he was going, but there was no destination. The streets didn’t exist; only the air and the trees. Buildings were abstracted now, and people were only pictures. He wondered what he would liken them to if cameras didn’t exist. The thought was brief and soon dissolved amongst the buzzing of his other thoughts, lost forever but perhaps the effect moving on to inspire a new one. Was the sidewalk real anymore? It was so hard and he couldn’t imagine a foundation; like the concrete was the real core of the earth.

“Oi, mate, you lost?”
So someone had noticed the scattered man. He turned around to see three kids, probably around seventeen years, leaning back against the wall and sitting on the bars of the side rails. He assumed he shouldn’t catch their eye, as it was usually avoided in this situation for safety on both sides, but he glanced over and caught the attention of the tallest of the three boys, who kicked himself from off the wall and straightened out his back.

“Woah, what ‘appened? You alright there?”
Of course, his eyes would still be red. They felt red. The scrapes would still be there as well. He didn’t recall why he didn’t bother to clean up. He didn’t remember why he wound up in the pub, though. He dropped his head for moment and looked at his feet; the boots were scuffed at the toes. He didn’t want to know what the rest of his body looked like. He looked back up at the boys, who were all standing now, trying to get a look at his face and waiting for him to talk.

“I- I’m fine.”
His voice cracked from the dry air. He coughed and tried to hide his slip. The boys remained in their position.

“You should call an ‘ospital or somefink. You don’ look too good.”
Why were they being so persistent? This isn't right.

“Really, I’m fine.”
The boy hesitated.
“Jus’ take eet easy mate.”

He passed off the streets and noticed that he had somehow wound up in a park. He would sigh if he could make sound. Time was as irrelevant as the roads. He tried to put together details of his night, but there were none. He was living in a dream that seemingly held no illusions. Memory never worked in dreams, the idea of memory maybe, but all apparent thoughts were used up as fuel to create a dream reality. He couldn’t distinguish between any of his thoughts and this one dissolved like the rest. His face started to sting and he thought of his swollen eyes.

Mystery and misery, morning of the night
There's darker air hidden in all that seems right.
Truer truths lead in the paths of the strange,
You must break off the purpose to unbind the reigns.

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