Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ashes Ashes

The morning starts with; a loud ringing in my ear. Blindly, I grope for my cellphone, grabbing it and flipping it open on the fourth ring, "Hello?" I grumble. The shrill voice on the other end of the line reveals who is calling without even needing to check caller ID- Nancy, my boss.
"Charlie! Hi! I know you're probably on your way, but I don't need you to come in for prep work this morning. Howard is covering you," She says quickly, too quick for me to understand it all for about thirty seconds.
"Oh, great," Sure, yeah, I was on the way, "Tell Howie I said thanks." I say through a yawn.
"Alright, have a great one, Char!"
Ugh, it irks me when my boss calls me by my nickname. Only people like Rose can do that.
I yawn. 9:45am. It's too damn early to be awake without caffeine in my veins.

After stumbling into the kitchen, only to discover that I was fresh out of coffee grounds, my shoes are being tied lazily, my lipstick applied, and I'm out the door. The 72 is just across the street, so when I have enough money, I grab coffee in there. The whole place is dark green and grimy, with big booths and a bar with padded stools that wobble a little too much to be considered stable. It's quaint, though. Kind of a happy place, where I can enjoy some watery coffee without being bothered. Well, usually I wasn't bothered, but today was a bit of a change. It starts when a man, all wrapped up in bandages, wearing a hospital gown, sits down next to me at the bar.

"What happened to you?" Ok. So I'm a little rude before I've had my coffee, but after looking that guy up and down I have to ask.
"Accident with a fire..." He says grimly.
"Well...sorry." I dismiss him quickly, having gotten all the information I wanted.
"It wasn't an accident." His voice gives me shivers. Why does this dude sound like some sort of prophet from a horror movie? He drops his head down and turns his dark eyes towards me. When I remain silent, he continues, "My daughter died in a fire, but not the same fire. The same flame, though..."
"Listen, man. I'm sorry about your daughter, but why the hell are you telling me all this?"
"The clock is ticking," He starts to repeat in a sing-songy voice, "They're gonna come and get me, 'cause I'm gonna bleed out my arms and my feet." He laughed/
"Wow, dude, wha-" My stool squeaks as I jump up.
"You're who I've got to tell before they come back and take me to hell."
At that, I hear an ambulance siren. Before I know it, paramedics are rusing into The 72, and taking the burnt man away. He doesn't resist, just smiles at me. "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down..."

I find myself staring at the door minutes after he is gone.

That night I dream about fire colored hair, and stars fading from red to purple. I see sparks and wake up in a sweat. I walk to my window, opening it for some air. Walking down the street, towards the graveyard, is a young girl with violet hair. Her hair is the same color as my dreams.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sweetheart My Ass, Mister

The small red numbers displayed on the digital clock under the bar catch my eye over and over again. One o'clock and I'm off. Done for the night.

The chairs are all stacked, the bar is wiped down, and the whole place is empty besides the kitchen workers and me. Every night it's like this. Every night I get tipped shit on shit on shit. I'm over it. Glancing around quickly, I pour myself a whisky and sprite. I know whisky and coke is the traditional drink, but it's an unknown thing that sprite actually brings out the whiskey's flavor. A little bartender secret, I guess. Usually I just do shots, but the whole night has been slow, so I've taken...a few with my buddy Howard from the kitchen.
"There's gonna be a lunar eclipse tonight." he informed me after our second shot together. Maybe I'll see it out my window or something if I don't just pass right out.

Shrugging, I sip my drink, eyes fixed on the clock. 12:47.
The front door opens. Now way someone's coming in this damn late. I look over and sure enough it's a couple of dudes.

"Closed." I bark.
"Sign said open till one, sweetheart." A particularly ugly man with a beard slurs as he saunters to the bar.
Rage burns in my stomach. Sweetheart. Sweetheart my ass, mister.
"Not tonight, sir. We closed early." I say slowly, like I'm talking to a child. When I drink I turn into a lil bit of a snappy person, and right now I'm not having it.
"Why don't you just pour us a-"
"Get out."
"Calm down suga-" He reaches for me, and I slap his arm.
"Out!" I demand, and, looking like a kicked puppy, he obeys,


I sit sipping on the last bit of my second glass of whisky and sprite, watching people's shadows dance in the neon lights out front. The clock changes to 1:00am, and I'm sprinting for the door. Well, wobbling towards my bag then rifling through it aimlessly for some cigarettes and a lighter. Quickly, I put on some lipstick, looking in my reflection in the window, before I push the front door open with my hip and head outside. I flick my little yellow lighter and a flame brushes the bottom of my cigarette, but doesn't light it. The wind just keeps blowing it out.

A raspy voice saying, "Need help, kid?" pulls me out of my lighter educed trance, and I nod, handing her my lighter. The lights from Hot Legs just barely illuminate this woman's face, and I can almost recognize her. Maybe she lives in my apartments? I'm too smashed to think, nevermind.

She lights my Newport for me, and after a minute, I'm calm. God, I love smoking when I'm drunk. A red glow pulls my eyes towards the sky. The moon is a beautiful, fire red. My mouth gapes and lazily, I point at the sky. "There's a lunar eclipse, ya know." I slur, remembering what Howard had said to me earlier. Shit, I sound wasted. I clear my throat and look back up at sky, a smile pulling at my lips. Maybe I live in an ugly town and work at a crappy restaurant, but the moon is fucking beautiful and I have money for cigarettes. What more can you ask for?

Monday, August 10, 2015

More of the Same

The day started with the same bullshit I always wake up to; the sun shines right in my eyes, there's a throbbing in my head, a horrible taste on my tongue and the inside of my teeth, and, to top it all off, the construction going on right above me. Floor twelve is already full of the smallest, smelliest, but cheapest apartments in Collingwood Heights.

It makes me sick.

This whole damn place is sickening. I've lived in this wreck of a town since Stanley Collingwood himself moved in, well Stanley Collingwood the fourth, and "re-beautified" the town, as he said. Frankly I knew it was a lost cause since they changed "Collingwood Manor" to "Collingwood Heights" and I was only 12 years old. Heights is a place you don't get out of. You're 46 and smoking too many cigarettes in your crappy apartment and wasting your life away.

Wow, anyway, I get up out of bed and head towards the kitchen. Out of the corner of my eye I spot myself in the mirror and take a moment to notice how much of a mess I am. I quickly apply some dark brown lipstick, and tie my dark gray hair up into a bun, taking a moment to admire the tattoo behind my ear, of a tiny candy heart with "me" written in it. Since I was 16 years old, which was only 10 years ago, I had wanted that tattoo. It reminded me that I only needed myself. Which I do. Other people just let you down.

My eggs for breakfast turn out fantastic and make my nausea go away. Feeling better, I sit down on the couch and turn on my small, brown tv. Apparently a girl's body was found by the lake, which doesn't surprise me in this gross place. That story was the only vaguely interesting, so I lay down for a nap before work. So, maybe I nap from 1-5 but I have a reason. I work at the bar next door to the heights. Yes, the gay bar. Lesbar. I'm covered in tattoos and openly gay, my family doesn't talk to me.

But, working at Hot Legs is nice, I guess. the few woman that come in there are older couples usually just drinking on a Friday night. Sometimes though, young men come in there for some unknown reason and order a drink. I look them dead in the eyes as I spill drinks all over their laps. They deserve it. Only creepy straight dudes show up at gay bars.

I wake up from my nice nap feeling refreshed as a hungover person can. I do it every day, you'd think I could handle it by now. I roll out of bed for the second time that day, and slip into my work clothes. Lazily, I re-apply my lipstick as I walk out the door before dropping the tube in my huge purse, even though it'll get lost in that black hole. Down the elevator I go, and then out the front doors and towards Hot Legs. I sit down after clocking in at 6 and get ready to work a boring shift.