A friend passed away recently. He was a hair-breadth away rom finishing the revision on his first novel. I need to get back into writing, for myself, but in honour of my friend.
This is the beginning of a new story I’ve been working on recently: a fictionalised account of one long drunken day and night from back when I was a college-goer, when life seemed fuller and more round at the edges.
Rumble, Young Man, Rumble
Silent and dead sober, Carlos drove with a purpose. As we emerged from a laneway onto the main road, he high-beamed a slow-turning campervan and accelerated.
In the thumb-and-forefinger wide space of the Ford’s backseat, we friends and former friends lay slanted, compressed tightly against each other. As our drunken conversation flowed, we grinned at each other like eager springs: craving release, alive in the moment, ready to leap into the unknown.
I flipped open my red Nokia Astro—pre-held in the one limb that wasn’t being crushed by human bulk—and jabbed Speaker as I dialed. ‘How you guys doin’ back there?’
A feeble warbling cut through the static: a muffled something about hurry the fuck up and why the hell weren’t we there yet, and then incoherent yelling. I hung up and gave the group a half-a-thumbs-up.
A rapid thumping sounded out from behind the backseat.
‘Yeah, yeah, shut up,’ said Johnson. He leaned back and started singing Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Closer’ at the top of his voice. We joined him for a few off-key lines but our din quickly subsided.
The meaty thumping rose up again, but more slowly this time, pounding out in time to ‘Closer’s main refrain.
That was probably Jimmy. Jimmy loved Nine Inch Nails.
Hey-heyyyyy, we all cried, and began to wail again at a greater level of decibelic mayhem.
My head was buzzing. Eight long island ice teas plus six long hours equalled photography I wouldn’t recall later, but I didn’t care. I felt alive. The Party lay somewhere ahead; The Party lay somewhere behind. Today was a blurred bridge connecting yesterday to all those approaching tomorrows. But tonight?
Tonight was ours.
The Ford screeched across an empty intersection and careened down a side street. Immutable Law of the Universe #212: An old car tightly packed with young men rides low.