Sunday, September 23, 2012

City on a hill (Confluence of forces)

          Wending out of downtown, aimless, sloshed to and fro along the sidestreets by the last vestiges of their doses and the invisible strings of the night Jeff and Keely wander. The become caught up in the middle of the street looking at a strange bug or the interplay of shadows on a fence. They laugh, they talk, the world seems new to them, all the anxiety felt earlier has dissipated. Keely listens more than Jeff, and is content with this. The night breathes cool on them, a slight breeze ruffles his hair along with the cadres of leaves which gather at every boundary on the ground: between street and curb, curb and lawn, lawn and home. At a certain point in time, where the descent of their reeling minds meets the brace of the rising chill, the decision is made to return home. They are spent, but in the good way. The walk back is quiet. Even Jeff is wrapped in the serenity of the night. The distractions are fewer, the allure of home too great now to allow meager stops.
But ahead: shouts.
        "Hey! The Fuck are you doing?" coming from behind a small house. It is unusual in this neighborhood, so steeped in its domesticity. Keely and Jeff look to each other for some explanation, some security. A few bobbing pulsing cherries emerge from the darkness of the front porch to form human shapes in the street light. They tentatively ease around the front of the house to peer along the side and into the backyard where the commotion lives and is growing. A tangle of flannel and pastel tumbles through the side yard rendered greyscale under the streetlights, those few watching from the front inch back onto the porch. Jeff and Keely pause, now directly across the street.
      "The fuck bro!?" It becomes apparent that there are two men, one obviously dominant, larger, his frame pulled back and up pushing another, the same height but shabby and stringy in all his characteristics. The larger one advances and pushes the other. He stumbles, and falls. In a move of pure instinct the larger closes the distance in two steps and finds him on the ground with two hands around his neck. "DON'T EVER COME TO MY HOUSE AND TRY TO FUCK WITH ME...AGAIN" the words barrel out, into the yard, into the street, the small crowd behind him them now watching, hands over mouths, eyes wide, unsure.
      Jeff is gone, sprinting toward the two, who have become a statue now: the two locked in fear and anger. From where Keely stands the actions unfold as a mobius strip of bodies and clothes, Jeff barrels in and becomes a part of the other two, fusing with them one sided and revolving into their bodies and the ground below. The one below pops up, a loaded machine, and takes off at an overdriven and embarrassed walk. Down the small hill from the house to the sidewalk in one bound, stumbling once and regaining traction then swigging from a double long can, swaggering off away from Keely. Jeff gets up a second later and trots after him. Keely is left staring, mouth open and hands locked before her. It all happened so fast, and now over seems as if it never happened at all. Within seconds the crowd dissipates back into the house, the incident already forgotten, the attacker even showing off as if nothing had happened, brushing himself clean and giving one last hard stare, the potential repercussions of his actions just barely peeking through his drunk to touch his last conscious parts.
    Keely looks for Jeff and spots him already at the end of the block catching up with the other figure. She crosses the street and approaches them but is waylaid by a yell from the porch.
       "Yo! Keely?" She looks up but only sees the bobbing cherries.
       "Who is that?" she shades her eyes from the streetlight but it doesn't help.
       "It's Cole. Hey what are you doing?"
       "Hey! I'm walking home." She moves toward the porch "Do you know what happened?" up the stairs and entering she discovers two couches laid out perpendicular full of silent bodies, male and female crushed together.
       "I donno I guess this guy was really wasted and Joel was talking to him and he just started cussing him out so Joel picked his scrawny ass up and and hauled him to the front. He fukin choked him out too, I can't believe he did that..."
       "Do you know who it was?" She leans back, out the porch and sees Jeff and the other still talking. How does Jeff know him, how did he pull him off?
       "Naw, I donno. I don't know how he got here." The door to the house opens and Keely looks up. The porch is so dark that the little light streaming from inside inscribes a halo around the body there leaving a hole, a human shaped void for a long moment. The door closes like a water rushing back over and yet the body is still obscured by tired rods and cones. As the porch returns to darkness Keely sees a man of average height, wearing loose clothes and a resigned look.
       "Is everything calm here? Now?" his voice rolls out smooth and deep and yet it seems as if no one pays him any attention. Keely notices he is looking directly at her and she answers:
       "Yeah." He steps over to her and extends an arm to her shoulder, she feels like flinching but is too exhausted to, his eyes settle on her only she can't see them can only feel them and when his fingers settle on her it's like insects crawling down her ski nfrom whe rehe ist ouch ing andhe say s
"You look distraught." and then "Is everything, O-Kay?"

       After they leave the street lays bare behind them.
The street lamps had stood for four years and would stand for fifteen more. The asphalt had lain for ten years and would lay for ten more.
The trees along the road had stood for thirty two years and would stand for one hundred and seventeen more.
The dirt below which ran hard packed and dry was lain down one hundred and fifty years before and was always turning, always changing.

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