Thursday, May 16, 2013

THE NIGHT BLOGGER: A Season In Hell Prologue 'Personal Journal Entry #1'

...Brian Foster here. I arrived today, back in Albany again. So many of my friends moved away from this city after graduation only to come back a few years later. What is it about my home town that makes it so hard to escape? Does it have a kind of social gravity or does it just suck?

Living in an apartment above a pawn shop isn't where I thought I'd find myself at this point in my life, but I guess beggars can't be choosers can they?

“Careful,” I said as I struggled to get my lucky futon up the second flight of stairs. My cousin Roy kept panting and begging for a rest. I didn't see what all the whining was about; I was the one doing most of the lifting- all he had to do was push. Truth be told, Roy hadn't been much help at all in this endeavor but the chubby, balding almost forty year old man was the only family I had left in upstate New York. So as I said before beggars can't be choosers.

Is there anybody out there reading this? I hadn't expected to ever make another entry on this blog but then again I never expected to be thrown out of college and banned from ever returning to the town of Loch Sheldrake either. So there we are.

“Dude,” Roy panted, “you said this was a fully furnished apartment. You don't need this thing.”

“Just a few more steps and we're done,” I said, “then we can order that pizza.”

And that was true this was the last of it; everything else was stacked, piled or thrown into the middle of my new digs. It wasn't much to look at; two boxes of clothes, five totes filled with books and DVDs, my computer, my laptop, not much at all really. I didn't have much to show for the last couple of years, just a police record and some recurring nightmares.

Suddenly I was the only person holding the futon, I lurched forward, my spine popped in protest. I had to set my end down too. “Roy? What the Hell are you doing?”

“Just taking a break. I need a cigarette.”

“We're six steps from the door!” I yelled.

His voice became a biting staccato, “I. Need. A. Cigarette.”

Same old Roy, God help me.

One long Marlboro moment later we got the damn thing through the apartment door...

A Season In Hell
Personal Journal Entry #1
Al Bruno III

...once my lucky futon was right in front the TV set my cousin and I relaxed with a few beers. The promise of free beer, not familial loyalty, is what had sealed the deal with Roy. That's OK I get it- moving is one of the more mundane nightmares out there, but it is still a nightmare. I had my laptop plugged in and was enjoying some music, well I was trying to enjoy some music, Roy didn't have much nice to say about any of my tunes.

“What the Hell is this?” he was sitting on my futon, I was stretched out on the recliner.

“Regina Spektor,” I explained, “she's got a really great-”

“Good,” Roy took a swig of Sam Adams, “now I'll never have to worry about buying any of her stuff by accident.”

“Awww man.”

“You should listen to Hatebeak, they're awesome,” he paused in his talking to belch loudly and deeply, “they're so hardcore they don't even tour. They're all about the music.”

“If you say so,” I said. Then I remembered, “Hey weren't you in a band?”

“Yeah... but nothing came of it. That's all I get Brian, nothing.”

Nothing is right. That is what my Mom and Grandma always said about Roy, “That boy is never gonna amount to anything.” A pretty hurtful thing to say and an even more hurtful thing to repeat, but if you think I'm using Roy's real name here you're crazy.

“I wish I'd stayed with it,” he pulled a joint from his pocket, “my job is a pain in the ass, the hours, the co-workers, all of it.”

I stared in disbelief, “You work at a strip club!”

“I work at a hellhole, they're all idiots. The girls are skanks. The other bartenders are losers, and the only good thing about the boss is that she pays me under the table,” he lit up and inhaled the thick, oily smoke. “None of that Social Security bullshit.”

Tax evasion, drugs and rock and roll, Roy was living the life all right: thirty years old and still a teenager in so many ways. He wasn't even trying to grow up and move on, he was happy to just get by. Sometimes I pitied him, sometimes I envied him.

“You know,” I said, “the cable guy will be here in about half an hour.”


“So? He might not like having to come into an apartment that smells like stoner central.”

“Fuck him then,” Roy laughed and offered me the joint, “you want some or not?”

I shrugged and took a puff, cable guy be damned...

*'s always hard to get to sleep that first night in a new place. You feel like an intruder, a Goldilocks waiting for the three bears to come home. Every sound, every play of light and shadow across the room makes you realize that you're not where you belong.

But where do I belong now?

Sleep eluded me. Was it the beers, the pot or the greasy pizza, or all of the above? I tossed and turned and occasionally farted up a storm. By the time I considered taking a sleeping pill it was already too late to do so. My first day of work was tomorrow and I thought if might be more professional to be physically exhausted than chemically drowsy.

Finally I reached that place where I was sorta, kinda asleep: the kind of asleep where you're either half awake or dreaming about insomnia.

It must have been three AM when it happened. I was lying on my side, maybe dozing, maybe not when I felt a hand brush through my hair. A braver man might have spun around and sat up, but I'm no hero. I laid perfectly still and tried to control my breathing.

Unless of course I really was asleep but you can't smell things in your dreams and I know I smelled perfume; My grandmother's perfume to be exact.

And as you longtime readers know, Grandma's been dead for a while now.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like something interesting to put to audio.