Commodores pound by in waves of tacky techno.
The outbound Lygon Street tram sheered through a soft bend. screaming distantly like a Jurassic carnivore. He caught his reflection bouncing through the windows, pail, stooped, solo. Muffling a sneer, he resumed writing.
Plain and vain. Disastrous combination. Truly a folie à deux, a comical conflict of interest. These booming Friday night drivers. Somehow I envy them, seemingly unburdened by cynicism or critical thought. Of course, one craves this imagined ignorant bliss. But then, where would I get this bitter sense of superiority?
Normally, cloaked by the translucent membrane of mutual indifference draped between customer and serf, there is much the latter can get away with, but a crew-cut man saw through me tonight. I sped last night and it was powerful, so once back at work in the freezer's ejected heat, pumping my heart into ice cream scoop upon ice cream scoop, the world again grew brighter, jaw resumed grinding, eyes twitching. I had been oblivious until his knowing gaze drew mine in with a little shake of the head. A cop, most likely. A cop or a fairly serious drug dealer. I imagine both require similar characteristics.
Here's my stop. More later! Mwah!
He closed the papyrus pad, muttered involuntarily, "Oh, Ana", and flinched at his unexpected, alien voice. A furtive check - no one was close enough to hear. Maybe.
Getting off now, all these strangers real no more.
He surfed the brakes hands-free, always challenging himself to ride the momentum shifts smoothly, secretly hoping someone noticed and admired his little game, reddening at the slightest stumble, beaming inwardly when the angle was just right. He was always on a stage, somehow. In the TV in those door windows he now faced, framed by initial-scratched enamel and a dog-eared rubber seal. Then blasted out of existence by a trillion watts of fluorescent light bursting from the corner Seven Eleven.
The doors folded open and the burble of Fitzroy sucked him down onto the street. Fried things instantly filled his nostrils and desires. Beautiful, unattainable girls of a million brilliant styles paraded by. This was a fine gentle segment of the ride home. Some nights he could float those 120 metres. If a rare social mood was in him he might stop in a bar, sit with an Irish whiskey on the rocks, mini-bop to the music he was already feeling too old for at age 25 and pretend to be comfortable. Every girl's eyes declared him a miserable failure on the last point. Well, most. Not that he had a clue either way, really. Smile and pretend you got a juicy secret. Not this one they could only think a lame source of life.
Tonight, though, he headed straight home, even unintentionally neglecting the one head-turn-to-see-ass-of-pretty-girl he typically allowed himself on each leg of the journey ritual. He was particularly enjoying writing, tonight, still rolling sentences over his mind's tongue, consciously stifling muttering aloud. Tonight's letter felt significant. She loved his words so much that it drew a confidence he had never known and this exotic atmosphere she exhaled was just now feeling like home. Ana declared herself his muse, long ago, and now she truly was. Her constant praise had shattered the most stultifying insecurities enshrouding his love for writing. He progressively had come to fall parallel with the creative force for the first time since music.
The feral semi-junkies beat their bongos on the corner. Yanos the Greek barked for his dollar fifty. Heavily scented youth bounced along the pavement. He faded into the darkened street and again through the heavy door of 102, ascending to the bong room to smoke and write. In an hour he could call.