Don't Ask Me Why Excerpt: All Nighter
I’ve noticed that the average human person doesn’t have a personality in the wee, pathetic moments before dawn. Whatever your temperament, whatever your deal, it isn’t shit at 5:00 in the morning. You’re just a hollowed out, brainless creature feeling your way through the dark.
I grab the pack of Reds and the Prince lighter and walk out to the porch. It rained. I hadn’t noticed. Outside is damp and freshly washed, pitch dark and chilled. I sniffle and zip my fleece to the top. Man, what a miserable conflation of sensation. Cold, tired, wet, brain dead, and sniffling. And that post-Hot Pocket fatigue-unease.
No wind, just full on darkest-before-dawn silence, dissolved once and a while by cars scraping along budget deficit potholes somewhere. On the corner of Oak and Spruce a streetlight hangs low. There aren’t a whole lot of leaves right now, but if there were, they’d block that streetlight. Winter is a slow season for mugging. Across the street, a hulk of an Oak bursts through the corrugated sidewalk. A few strands of dirty Mardi Gras beads dangle. The trees always get the most beads. In the dark, so far removed from the revelry, the beads look sinister, like bejeweled nooses for oompah loompahs.
The unresolved wreckage of Joey and Jeff’s two man fuck-you-fest lies untouched like a prototype out of some futuristic museum: “And here, ladies and gentlemen: College Porch Circa-2014. All items have been rigorously gathered and reimagined to mimic the utmost realism. Look, there you can even see a passed out DOFF with a phallus meticulously sketched across his forehead. “Hmm… yezzzz,” the tour group will nod, “A phallus, indeed.”
I swipe away an empty solo cup and sit down on the porch couch. I wonder how many people are awake in New Orleans right now. Ten percent? Too high. It’s funny, people always talk about solitude and isolation in terms of space—reclusive monk on the rocky cliff, paranoid freak camped out in bunker. But, I gotta say, isolation in time, that shit is the real deal. Being awake—going—while the world around you is shut off. It’s like holding a secret no other person knows, at least that’s how it feels. Even though everyone knows that secret at some time or another.