Today I woke up and wanted to write a story about nothing. So, I did. More buses and getting drunk, because that's all I know.
There were three lines. Two of them were lime green, and stretched across the automatic doors, where the buses pulled up. The other was a dappled tan stripe of vinyl, which cut a path through the industrial-kaleidoscope carpet. Through my blurring eyes, the effect was like a strange upended topographical map, and rendered the room in an extra dimension. I tried to ignore this illusion and focus instead on the other people waiting for the night's last bus--trying to figure out who was going Out, and who was going Home. Across from me were two girls gossiping about god knows what, and I could almost taste the cheap wine in their piercing laughter. I wondered if maybe they were going to the same party as me. Small chances in a big city, but you never know. Maybe I'd get drunk and hit on one of them. The red head, probably. Not the fat one. Or maybe, depending on how I was feeling. I thought about what her face would look like when she came. The only thing I ever learned from my uncle is that fat girls try harder. Anything for a distraction.
I thought the man who'd sat down next to me was trying to start a conversation, before realising he was talking only to himself.
'The boats! The boats! The waves!'
He looked like a homeless Robert De Niro, and kept up chanting his strange incantation the whole time I sat there. If I was a better person, maybe I woulda talked to him. Found out his story, if he needed help, that kind of thing. It's always a risk though. Talk to a guy like that and there's a fifty-fifty chance he starts putting dead cats in your letterbox, or something. I took the easy road and ignored him, instead stealing sidelong glances at his big wet eyes and wondering if being retarded is just like being drunk all the time, not caring about the god damned world and all of these problems, or if maybe it's like a bad acid trip with no way out. Blind speculation. Anything to pass the time.
The bus arrived around the time this guy progressed to 'The boats! The boats! The waves! The sand!'. It was empty apart from the four of us who got on. My fat girl and her friend paid child fares, and I felt like some creepy old pocket-masturbating weirdo. Our love died with a $1.40 concession fare. The muttering tard sat right behind me, even though almost every other seat was empty. I spent that bus ride focused on the classic rock hits which played quiet through the speakers somewhere up the back, praying to God that I wasn't minutes away from death by strangulation and wishing that I hadn't had those beers after work so I didn't have to ride the damned bus. I learned from John Mellencamp that life goes on, even after the thrill of living's gone. And it did.
The underaged girls got off at the same stop as me, and to avoid feeling even more like a creepy rape dude, I said hi. They were going to Josh's party, too--friends of his sister, or something. We parted ways in the kitchen, and I felt better. Soon enough I was outside by the fire, opening beers with lighters and talking shit about oh my god who was so drunk, and all that other stuff. Thinking about that red-haired girl I'd left in the kitchen and how society just couldn't accept a love like ours. You start to accept the impossibility of it all the further through the dozen you get. Less matters. Sure getting laid would be good, but who cares, have a good time. On the piss, or whatever. We talked about the guy on the bus. How he was some Navy experiment gone wrong, or De Niro himself, trying out method acting for the remake of Rain Man. How he was probably watching us through the fence, waiting to rape Josh in his sleep.
The night drew on and soon enough, I was sitting alone on a couch outside, tasting the cold air and watching the ashes fly skyward. Wishing there was someone I could talk about those ashes with without getting called a fag. Wanting to shout about what it'd be like to slowly float out of this scene, everyone blurring into the same face, the house beginning to look just like all the others. To look out from above, across that very same strange topographical dimension, on a grand scale, and see all the other blurred faces in the backyards of identical houses across the city. And how you'd look down, and see all the other ashes rising, making the exact same journey as you, and feel so common and meaningless, before realising that even if the journey's the same, your perspective right now is, like, different from all the other ashes, and none of them are in your place. Wanting to shout all of this at anyone who'll listen, thinking about all of this and feeling a bit to drunk to make sense of it all, and it stopped mattering at that point anyways 'cause Josh was sitting down with his arm around me telling me how drunk he was and how he wanted to bang the fuck out of his sister's ginger friend, and how we should go watch John 'Cougar' Mellencamp on youtube. I took one last look at the fire, and realised that some day those ashes would be the death of me.