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The rabbits are running in the ditch; the beatniks are out to make it rich; must be the season of the witch: 10.30.09

If I told you something utterly, absurdly, gloriously ridiculous, would you believe it's true? Let's try it. Last night, I was sitting on my stoop gabbing to P. on the telephone. It had been a few days. Yes, I can sulk hard, but I do not usually sulk long. It's tough to take when your pals have high-stakes stress going on and all you want is their frivolous attention. Well, not completely frivolous. I mean, I don't do fiction/poetry readings every week around here. But, like they say, you can't always get what you want. Which means there I was, happily gabbing again with P. and enjoying this unseasonably warm weather in spite of my deep yearning for the descent of the damp, dark days to more or less match my usual mood and general soulless affect. (Affect, by the by, is a word that doesn't work so well on paper. It's not my effect, yo, it's my AFFect. Anyhoo.) I should also mention two contextual facts:

1) I was smoking a cigarette. Smoking is filthy habit and I really shouldn't do it. A thousand pardons.

2) I live in a neighborhood here in my little burgh with a disproportionate number of sports bars. It's ok. I slink about to select establishments that don't have 25 TV's all simultaneously broadcasting 25 different games on any given evening. But a few weeks ago, a sporty bar opened up caddy-corner from my house. It's a block up and on the opposite side of the street. That's close, believe me. And, of course, as the bar opening grew imminent I muttered and complained and predicted dire predictions like noise violations and mad crowds of twenty-something jockstrap idiots loitering outside, and so forth. And you know what? I was right. It is loud. And jerky foot traffic on my little corner has increased noticeably.

Which brings us back to our story. As I sit on my stoop gabbing in the warm night air, smoking, two young men walk by. Stagger by. I'm not kidding. These guys were soused. Mind you, this is at about 9:00 p.m. on a Thursday. I catch a snippet of their discourse. And this is what I overheard: "Man, I laid a fart in the bar that was so great, it cleared out about 20 people." I think we'll let that just speak for itself, as it were.

Souse #1 pauses as he weaves by me. Souse #2 barges on and stumbles into a parked car. I wince. Souse #1 says, "Boy, that cigarette looks delicious." I pause and look at him. "Oh, it is," I tell him. He slurs, "I'll give you five dollars if you give me a cigarette and light it." I pause again. "REally?" I say. "You'll really give me five bucks for one cigarette." Souse #1, taking out his wallet and pawing through his leftover drinking money, "Yes. Yes, I will." "This is a recession, you know," I chastised the young man, "Don't you know the value of a dollar during times like these?" He doesn't miss a beat. "Yeah, I do, and that's why I'm giving you five dollars for a smoke." He hands over a Lincoln. I was almost gleefully snickering at the plain absurdity of this scenario.

For one brief second, I thought about not taking it. Look, the kid probably works hard. He's probably too wasted to think any straighter. Shouldn't I just give him a ciggie for free? And as I reached down for it, Souse #2 suddenly became engaged in the conversation and said, "You look like a really nice lady. Just take his money." And so I did. LADY??? Uhg. Shudder. Cringe. Shake head in disbelief. Do I look that old? Has it come to that?

And that, my dears, is the unbelievably ridiculous part of my little tale.

Happiest of Halloweens! This happens to be my favorite overcommercialized festive occasion of the season...so I hope it's a good one this year.

reflect - reinvent ....rayclaire@gmail.com... what i used to think... what i hear... what i see... where i'd like to be...

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