Edge of Town III

Our waitress takes the menus
and we’re on our own.

Mike unwraps a bottle, smiles big
and tips my glass.

Jesus, that’s strong.

Good. My guys didn’t gyp me.

The alcohol coats
my nerves and I feel like I’m on the edge
of a diving board.

So. Uh…

It’s that time?

I wince.

Yeah.

God, Mike, the last time I saw you
I still thought the night was stalking me.

He spits up his drink laughing.

…What?

I thought Night was a woman with short
black hair and awesome taste in music
who kept showing up at weird times.

You thought… nighttime
was following you?

I was a weird kid.

Anyway, I think the last time
I saw you… you were making a movie
in the basem—

Oh, holy shit. That was the last time
I saw you? Frickin’ universe’s
sense of humor.

He sucks in a breath. Sips his whiskey.
Chews his beef.

Folks divorced. Dad was cheating
on my Mom with some chick. Sandy.
I got off the bus from school
one day in ninth grade and my sister
was crying on the front lawn.
I figured it was some stupid shit
girls get upset about, but then
I saw my clothes in boxes
in the station wagon.

He sips.

Didn’t see my dad again
for three months.

Where’d you go?

Florida. Everyone was idiots,
or jocks, stoners. He cuts a beef cube.
Or eggheads.
But we had a swimming pool.

She could take you,
just like that?

She got a Catholic judge.
Left my dad
with almost nothing.
Ended up with the lawyer
for a while.

Revenge fucking.

A few seconds pass.

She still there?

Yup. Gainsville.

Wow. And she’s alright?

Yeah, she’s alright.
Teaching Ceramics
at a community college
till she retires.

When’s that?

July 27, 1995.

I smirk. Hold on, Susie.
Just five more years.

Food arrives. I eat fast.
He eats fast.
We rub our bellies.

Man, I look at Mike’s car.
I don’t know how we survived
middle school. And never mind
those METCO kids…

METCO?

Black kids from Boston.
They started coming in high school.
Smart, but shit,
could they throw a punch.

I stare off.

I mean, did any of us even surv—
Oh, no way…
I point to his hand.

Oh, yeah, man! Rose.

And… another one coming in October.
Robert. Robert Shawn. Bobby.
He looks over my shoulder and swings
an invisible bat.

Congratulations, man.
I guess you… survived
.

To survival.

And old stories.

And freaks.

We clink.
Mike pours another round.

Now, I wanna hear
the whole story, but first
I gotta know: how the hell
are you and…

He snaps his fingers. And…
and Alice?

Added: January 31, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015