party at the mansion, y'all
why you take from a giver?
why you gotta get high?
why you watch a carwreck,
-"Fat City (Slight Return)" - Twilight Singers
He's been watching the glow of Marlboro Red tips crawl with each breath, a fast slow fast slow stutter of orange and ash, for the past hour. His fingertips are getting yellow again, but he can't seem to care. Instead, like he has done for the past hour, he watches that orange ring get as close to his fingers before it burns him, flicks the butt out the window and watches it fall four stories past brick and fire escapes. Then he takes the bottle of Jack Daniels, swallows heavily and coughs. He's finished a pack of Marlboros, but he's got five more to last him through the night. His sinuses are finally burnt. He can't smell the mildew, dried piss and disinfectant of the flophouse.
The air at 3 a.m. is cool, but not cool enough the chase the humidity of the day. Still, it's the only time that he doesn't sweat just by breathing. So he has his window open, and he's turned off the light. Just him, his shadow and his cigarettes, black and orange on a deep blue frame.
He could go home. He could walk out of this gutter flophouse, stumble the five blocks to the better side of town where he parked his car and drive to his loft. He could return the calls of his friends and fall into their well-wishing so warm like down blankets. But instead, well, instead . . .
At 3 a.m., the pushers have already left. A couple of skinny ass streetwalkers get returned by their johns and now looked bored, and a little bit pissed the pushers have fucked off. The streetlamps don't work to well here, and flicker erraticly. The hookers look like jones'd up moths.
He focuses on the burning tip of his cigarette, the sour taste of alcohol in his mouth, the coolness of the air. They distract him. Buddha by degradation.
He doesn't want to think about his friends. That's not what he's here for. He wants to know if he can handle this by himself. If he's the type of guy who can come through this on his own, then he knows he can be a tough muthafucker, he's got his shit all tight. But if he goes crawling to his friends, well, he knows he's that type of person. So he has another Marloro, and he downs another shot. He'll see who he is in the morning.
save yourself, you little sinner
path it up right
take the road less traveled
make sure you keep that shit all tight
--"Fat City(Slight Return)" -- Twilight Singers