Preface: I wrote this piece a while back, and really had no direction or purpose to lead the overall narrative. I merely wrote what was comfortable for the moment. Sadly though, this piece is a little rough around the edges, but consider the grammatical errors as author’s will and judge the content, rather than the mechanics. However, I really did enjoy this one, and the ending seemed tacked on so I omitted it–I think it reads better for it. I also was unable to come up with a suitable title, so for the moment it’ll simply be labeled as “Untitled.” But, if you have any suggestions, or something jumps out at you while reading it, please feel free to suggest something. I might eventually rework this and write an adequate ending, but till then just enjoy the ride! Hopefully you like the atmosphere and imagery, and as always feel free to critique.
He walked briskly in the night, gandering as he gaggled across the sturdily built bridge. The moon hung high, and the stars shimmered in unison like a child whimsically toying with a flashlight beneath a sheet. Elliot was not fearful, or in a hurry, but his feet and his heart wanted him at his destination. He had several blocks to go, but he observed and absorbed his surroundings with taught fervor.
There was an old man partially lit in the lamp that lay sunken in the shadows. His mast was a long wooden pipe that could only be distinguished by the slow inhales and synchronic puffs, as smoke wafted above the stoop. The man grinned a crooked grin as Elliot weaved onwards in an equally crooked fashion.
Beyond the old man’s resting place nestled a cat on the nearby roof. He lay between the gutter and the top rail, and his eyes were aglow and his tail twitched irritatedly as if to say, “Leave before I scrap and howl.” Elliot smirked at the sudden revelation that the roof was tin. His own humor goaded him further, and before long he was at his destination—he was at the place where everyone knew his name.
The loudness of people cheering and clinking glass could be heard out front, and just as the wind began to carry the hundred year old sign into a sway Elliot stepped through the massive door frame.
As his eyes adjusted to the new lights and the clinks stopped as all the stools of the house pivoted toward him he bellowed in response, “It is I!” and the whole establishment went up in a cheer! Before he could even find a stool at the bar a vodka on the rocks was served.
“You can smell the freedom with every wisp,” he whispered to the nearest patron.
“Ah, what you smell is your next novel my friend,” replied the man, “after all you do your best when your drunk!”
And, at that remark the bar went up in a roar even larger than the first!
“Bah, you don’t know me too well ye old snark.”
“I know you better than most and pray tell would you call your best friend a snark? That’s just unkind!”
Another round of laughs erupted from the fiendish bartends.
“Thomas is that you?”
“It looks like you put on the goggles early tonight Elliot! Hopefully you didn’t mount a stray without recollection? Remember the last one—I thought you had stumbled into a zoo! I had to pry her off of you.”
There was no laughter this time. Elliot’s face suddenly became very taciturn. He looked at Thomas–eye to eye, like a man killing his first beast. At that moment, he let his now empty glass adrift and just about the time a full one reached his hand he burst out laughing along with everyone else.
“God, I can’t even remember the tits on her!” and that elicited a much hardier laugh than all the others combined.
The hours waned, and even though the bar was closed many men and women still laughed and cried as their old war stories unfolded into the sunrise. In the wee hours of the morrow Thomas and Elliot stumbled arm and arm into the cobblestone incoherently mumbling to one another about the tits on that one! There was always a laugh to be found in a drunken tale of lust and crime.
They staggered and yammered past the cat on the roof and a stoop that now stood empty. As the blocks faded into memory, like the first drink had many hours ago, they found their bearings and plodded back to Elliot’s home. Thomas hiccupped like an old cartoon character as he bid his friend farewell. He staggered back down the street towards the tavern that he owned.
Elliot ambled across the gangplank into his floating home and promptly plopped face-down into the double that was coated in pages of his manuscript. His snores matched the soft laps of the water against the old boat and just as quickly as the sun had risen above the hills in the distance it sunk into the waters on the other side.