Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Streak - 44

Carlos beamed at Evan walking through the lobby.

"Good night, sir!"

"Good night." Evan, self-conscious about the relatively short time that had elapsed since he entered the building, perceived a mocking tone in the doorman's voice.

"Good luck tomorrow, sir!"

"Thanks," Evan said with a rueful smile.

Out on the street, Evan phoned Kyle and they agreed to have a nightcap at Cassidy's. Evan got a cab and sat deep in the seat, scrutinizing the familiar, intoxicated views through window and windshield. He wondered how fucked up he was. He shouldn't have asked. The coke and ecstasy were receding rapidly now, allowing whisky to flood his synapses. It was as though the booze were angry to have been made to wait. Now it possessed him. He tried to keep his head up, to discern something in the blur. They stopped at an intersection, he was pretty sure of that. The cab was moving and now it's not, he told himself. If he could just be sure of a thing or two, he might be all right. The car seat's cool against my neck. These were fragile, ungirded facts, subject to the winds. But in this uncertainty lurked the absolute truth about everything, like a lighthouse in the fog. He was pretty sure of it, anyway. But where?

A panhandler approached the cab. The geometry of it all. He came 'round the front and sure enough, down the side. He looked through the glass and Evan looked back. Lines upon lines and grids upon grids. Minutes and seconds and years. Volume. Boundaries. The man touched his fingers to the glass. Evan touched his to the other side. Angle of incidence and angle of reflection. Evan felt a sensation in his right foot, a prickly tickle. The man withdrew and walked away, and at once the sensation ended.

Evan knocked on the locked bar door. Sean opened up and let him in.

"Your confederate's here."

"Thanks Seanie."

Kyle sat wide-eyed at the bar, gulping whisky. His right knee bobbed mechanically.

"What's the word, bro?" he asked, as though they hadn't spent the better part of the last twelve hours together.

"Oh, not much," said Evan. He took a seat and immediately rested his face in his hands. "Almost got assassinated. Almost got a blowjob."

"I hear that."

"What happened to you?"

"I was fooling around with Tania on the couch."

"Did she offer to get you a drink?"

Kyle thought a moment.

"I don't know."

"Go on."

"Then there's this pounding on the door. Just as we're starting to, you know."

"Play Monopoly?"

"Just as we're starting to fuck. I got up and pulled my pants up and looked through the peephole and it was one of those suit cocksuckers from before."

"Matt."

"Yeah. He tells me to step into the hallway for a second. He asks me if Tania is present and I say yeah. He says she may or may not be a terrorist or some shit. He tells me to make up some reason for her to leave. He's very insistent. He's also very apologetic."

"Did you tell her you were gay?" Evan asked drowsily.

"Fuck you. I just told her to go."

"Just like that?"

"Just like that."

"Like, 'I know we were starting to have sex, but go away?'"

Kyle nodded and took another sip.

"How did she react?"

"She said, 'Why?'"

"What did you tell her?"

"I said no reason. Go. Just go, go, go, go, go. It was killing me, believe me."

"And she left?"

"She asked me who it was at the door. I told her nobody, now go. She kind of got pissed. I wasn't sure if it was because she was not going to be able to fuck me or if it was because she was not going to be able to kill me."

"You frustrated her, anyway."

"She put her panties on and left. That dude was still standing in the hall, too. I guess he wanted to make sure."

"You managed to give her no reason whatsoever why she should leave, and yet she left."

"I told her to go."

"You have a way with the ladies, my friend."

Kyle's phone chirped its stupid alarm again. Kyle stopped it angrily and fumbled with the settings to turn it off for good.

"Goddamned fucking hell," he said.

"I love you, brother, but if I hear that sound again in my entire life I'm gonna kill you."

"You and me both," said Kyle.

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