Zooey and Fritz descended from their creative insanity into the happily lit streets of the night. They walked in silence for some time taking in the atmosphere of the city that they equally adored. If there was any time they loved the city, it was in the vibrant early evening, when cheesy neon lights were no longer just for the frequented adult shops, but they reigned for everyone’s enjoyment.
“So,” Zooey challenged their silence, “Aren’t you going to tell me anything about this place we supposedly own?” Fritz looked at her warmly.
“It’s going to be a suprise now that you’ve gotten all inquisitive,” he challenged.
“What? No way,” she stammered, “you can’t keep me guessing all night. My imagination will turn me into a blubbering insomniac. You know how scary that is.”
“True,” said Fritz, “but still, words can’t even describe how remotely awful and amazing this place is.”
“Awful and amazing describes quite a lot to me. It must be wonderful then. Do you smell corndogs?” Zooey sniffed the air.
“I wonder why you always smell things you hate when you are about to have a migraine,” Fritz pondered as he looked up at the sky that was void of stars.
“Must be some karmic thing,” Zooey said, shrugging off the idea, “Where do you suppose we could find really tacky coffee mugs at this hour?”
“Well, we are kind of close to the bay, and those touristy places are open fairly late…that stuff is more kitschy than your red and white checkered table cloth and those ridiculous corn on the cob holders we never use,” Fritz said with a laugh.
“Ooh,” Zooey smirked, “I love gawking at tourists, maybe that’s why I smell those revolting corn dogs.” They continued along the crowded sidewalks full of nightclubbers shrouded in ciggarette smoke and from time to time would bump into determined drag queens on their way to the shiny bars on the north side.
“I wish one of them would adopt me,” Zooey said hopefully as she looked back at the throng of vibrantly dressed characters.
Zooey continued to study the people of the night as they walked in a downward slope masked in the yellow lamplight that eminated from the streetlamps.
“I’m glad I broke in these boots a long time ago,” Zooey said as she grabbed Fritz’s arm and began to jog, trailing him behind her in attempts to cross the street before the trolley could block foot traffic. They panted as they crossed the metal tracks and saluted the passenger trolley with their customary peace signs as it rang its obnoxious bell.
“Oh look, the outskirts of tourist-ville,” Fritz said arrogantly, “I can see the GAP from here.”
Zooey grimaced, “How repulsive.” She dug into her purse and pulled out a pair of blue heart shaped sunglasses and put them on in a dignified manner.
“Those are mine,” Fritz said sternly with an air of humour.
“So is this shirt I’m wearing,” she rebutted. She pulled off the glasses and turned to put them on Fritz. He flashed another peace sign and pulled off his tacky piano key scarf and handed it to her.
“Thanks,” Zooey said, wrapping the scarf around her neck. They continued to walk along the streets that were filled with the bright lights of traffic.
“I can’t believe you are going to make me wait,” Zooey sighed.
“For what,” said Fritz, “to talk amateur business philosophy?”
“I’m just excited, that’s all,” she said gazing out at the lantern strung tourist boats. Fritz gripped Zooey’s arm vigorously.
“Look, they’re open,” he pointed to the trinket shop at the end of the pier, “God, I haven’t been to this place in ages.” The pier was alive with action among the throngs of bag carrying, stroller pushing, visor wearing tourists. Zooey and Fritz made their way into the compact store. The walls were crowded with cheap seashells and shotglasses, and the smell of plastic bags and cotton candy mingled in the air.
“This is so tacky it’s almost cool,” Fritz said, beaming. They both stopped short in front of a floor to ceiling case of monogrammed coffee mugs.
“We need these,” Fritz gasped.
Fritz picked up one of the mugs which featured a comical image of the Golden Gate Bridge printed under the name ‘Frank’.
“I doubt they have our names,” Zooey said frowning.
“Let’s just pick some really absurd ones then,” Fritz said hopefully.
“I call the one that says Barbara,” he shouted. He clutched the cup to his chest protectively.
“No way,” Zooey whined, “I so wanted to be Barbara!” Fritz frowned from underneath his sunglasses.
“Fine,” she said grabbing a mug randomly, “then I get to be Josh.”
Fritz laughed, “Barb and Josh!”
“We must bring these out when we have company,” he said in a snobbish tone.
“Quite,” Zooey agreed in an equally snobbish manner.
The guy running the counter was a young twenty-something Morrissey look-alike. He squinted at them from underneath large, black Elvis Costello-style glasses.
“Isn’t it a bit dark outside to be wearing sunglasses?” He sniffed at Fritz.
“I don’t suppose your names are actually Barbara and Josh,” he said looking from Fritz to Zooey, who smirked.
“Rough day?” Zooey asked. The guy softened his look.
“You two must be locals,” he said as he wrapped the mugs in yellow tissue paper.
“No,” Zooey gasped sarcastically, “What gave it away?”
“Well,” he started, “You two look like extras from the Urban Oufitter’s catalogue. Besides, you are the first people today who didn’t try to take my picture.” Zooey and Fritz laughed, they knew how ridiculous the tourists could get, especially when given free usage of cameras.
“I’m Nasa,” the guy chimed in.
“You’re name is Nasa?” Questioned Zooey.
“Better than Barbara or Josh,” he quipped.
“No, I mean, that’s a deck name,” replied Zooey, taking note of his Joy Division tshirt and smiling as she handed him the money.
“I’m Zooey, and this is my roomate Fritz, we live over on Haight. So, what the hell is a guy named Nasa doing working in tourist-ville for?”
“I must look like a loser,” Nasa blushed, “I’m filling in for a friend of mine…it’s a long story.” Fritz nudged Zooey, she dug in her purse.
“Hey Nasa, you got a pen?” Zooey asked. He handed her a purple sharpie from behind the register as she pulled out a peach flavoured Swisher Sweet cigarello and wrote her address and phone number on the side before handing it to him.
“Call us,” Fritz chimed in. He and Zooey channeled out to the night. Nasa held on to the ciggarello, looking back sheepishly at Zooey who flashed him a peace sign from the window outside.
“Don’t smoke it!” Zooey shouted through the glass.
Fritz and Zooey mingled on the sidewalks, swinging their arms back and forth in silence.
“I hope Nasa calls us,” Fritz said dreamily.
“He does have undeniable sex appeal,” Zooey said squinting, “God, I’m starving, let’s go eat.”
“We better go somewhere that serves coffee, I feel like my caffiene levels are running low,” Fritz said as he polished his sunglasses on the end of his tshirt.
“Yeah, after about fifteen cups you really start hitting rock bottom,” Zooey said sternly. “You have any spare cash?”
“Yeah, somewhere in here,” Fritz said, digging into the bottom of his hemp bag.
“Perfect,” Zooey said dragging him to a bus that had just stopped at a corner where a folk music group was playing for a small crowd that gave out no spare change.