John was alone these past seven weeks, the love of his life Betty
gone to El Salvador with gameshow host Bob Barker, John now had the
heart of a killer but thankfully the manners of a civilized man.
In a seedy bar in a supposedly dangerous district on an early
Friday night, John studies the jukebox while cops battle winos out
front and inside opiates and cash are exchanged and everywhere a
noise-- his songs having played John exits into the park, pretty
pointless park and eyes the bright lights of downtown. High on noise
John walks like a zombie toward the pretty lights. The sight of a
bank of payphones wakes him to the fact that he could use some
allies. After a number of calls he convinces comrade Paul to show up
at some stupid disco-overdrive club in an hour.
Receiver back in its cradle, stripped of his zombiehood John
stares at a blank wall while he searches his pockets. Finding some
pills he gratefully pops them and drifts toward the river, waiting
for the buzz or whatever.
Later at the disco, John drinks cocktails and stares around at
the girls and their dresses until Paul is at his side, muttering
who-knows-what, but John is glad for his company.
Now it is late on a random Friday night and John is intent on
finding a face, a voice, a dress like Betty and this is hopeless he
muddily reasons, she's in El Salvador and Ohio can't compete with
THAT so, let's find a fresh-faced girl we can lead astray in a
couple hours or-- or-- John is standing by the D.J.'s booth while a
robotic sex song plays so loud-- John takes the live microphone and
all of a sudden he's a beat generation type for 2002--
In a combat zone called/I'm so-at-home/
Line up for cheap rates on your very own grave/
Pretty faces pouty faces worthless farces/
Yet you pay and you pay and you pay/
For the right to fall into this bed, no that bed/
If this nightmare won't stop I guess I'll walk away--
Then, shockingly the D.J. throws an effective punch at John's
jaw and the wasted young man collapses into Paul's arms.
Later, driving on the interstate Paul asks tentative questions
about Betty which Paul answers. Finally, Paul announces that they
are going to drive all night to Ohio State and John falls asleep
happy and calm.

Copyright 2002 Darius Smith.