This is a short story/free-verse poem that I wrote about a strange night I had.
|Terror at Brookline Village
By, Joseph Bitton
Out of work and into the howling night. The crunching beneath our feet breaks the snowy silence save for distant cacophonies of college kids. They tumble forth from mouths of hungry bars. “ This kids cool?” To break the cobwebs of quiet between us. “Yeah” he replies with a half-smiling turn, “he’s my neighbor. I get from him all the time and we just chill and play x-box and shit.” Crunch, crunch, crunch, “cool.” Our breath takes flight in ghostly dances, fleeing frightened from man in motion. We walk on, two travelers, two specks in a vacuous snowy void. “Not far now!” I really don’t care, “cool” crunch, crunch, crunch.
The place is littered with household commodities; empty candle holders, a fine knife set in wooden block, high end drapes that droop (out of place), no name paintings just to take up space. “Just let me find Kat and we’ll spark up a bowl. Honey!” he calls as he turns from the room, and I’m left with a vague feeling of being entombed. This is weird man, just take your jacket and go, “There she is” he says in an affectionate tone, is she your fucking pet? In the other room I’m still alone.
We Sit And Smoke
The TV sits, heavy and hollow. Its empty stare pulls at me from across the room; eyes dead, staring at my reflection. “The bitch came into my house okay she came into my house and gets so fucking drunk she can’t get off my couch without falling on her fat ass and breaking something soIwaslike OOOOOOOH hoho no you gross cunt get your freaky anime friends to fucking ROLL you back to your apartment caus’ you are not staying Here I swear to got she was so fucking gross my couch smelled like cheese and back fat for a week UGGHHH!” I furrowed my brow and coughed something up. I thought for a moment. I swallowed it. She hit the joint like it was hers. Like it was some overworked servant, given by her mother, wrinkled and defeated, used to the pinches and the burn. And its ever obsequious, and she always has wrath. The TV doesn’t seem to mind, its used to it too. Its hollow and heavy and it sits.
There’s trouble and I can feel it. I could feel it as soon as I turned off the front walk. The streets are too dark, too quiet, and I’m being watched. Space gapes ahead with orange streetlight teeth. I don’t know my shadow. My feet take flight and pound the pavement, rhythmic tribal drum of sacrifice. Buildings loom like silent spectators at an execution. Oh God when? Not how not why just kill the suspense. The station’s approaching. I give silent thanks.
The silence is leering, almost accusatory. The people are part of the silence, they avert their gaze out of respect for the condemned. Six of them, inbound. I cross the tracks. Outbound: 1. One is a Brit, blonde and bouncing his head to a beat unheard, like a scarecrow, underfed. Two are vagrants, or bums or whathaveyou, coughing and
hawking into ragged tissues , carriers of the plague. Three are college kids, two guys and one girl. Into the open night their laughter unfurls and dances around me, hiding a blade. One is me, I am the outbound.
Let’s Start the Show
Alone, and what if their train comes first? Don’t think about that just stand and smoke. They all see me but nobody looks. Who am I then; criminal, crook? I could be an innocent, wrongly accused, waiting and sweating from palms confused. Nothing to grab at, I thought you were smoking, light up another. Wait! He is looking. Scarecrow peers through the veil between, straining his eyes he assists with a lean. Look at your feet, at the moon in between he’s still there, unsmiling, a distant horn screams. WHAT! Oh God, was that in my head? Now all of my insides congeal, I’m dead. He’s making his way across the tracks, and the plague spreaders hush, the kids relax. Still bobbing his head to a tune all his own, he approaches me, the trembling crow. He pulls out an ear bud “You got a smoke mate?” I stare, I choke, my hands hesitate. “Yeah” like a sigh it falls from my lips. I hand him a cig, but he stands, unrequited. “I don’t have a light” so I hand it to him. His face is bright for a moment, then dim. “Thanks” as he turns and replaces the bud, but in my ears its deafening; the rushing of blood. He doesn’t return but just leaves all together, fading into night, I rustle my feathers. Five still wait, one is alone. I’m outbound I think I’m on my way home.