1 by luis silva
They drank and talked of revolution
like two kids eating ice cream
and complaining about bedtimes.
They talked of corporate greed and
how the hell they could get things done.
Benny ranted about willful ignorance,
but Lauren interrupted and sneered
at them for being so fucking boring.
Jake looked around at the crowd
pushing against them, embarrassed
that they might be thinking the same.
He suggested a round of shots with
a placating look at his girlfriend
and a pat on Benny’s shoulder.
They weaved through the crowd
towards the suspended kitchen light.
They spilled out from the dark
and into the eddy of bodies huddled
around a plywood bar that tilted precariously
and would topple by the end of the night in a shattering
of shot glasses with college witticisms
and martini glasses shaped like alien genitalia.
The only thing left unscathed
would be the plastic handles of vodka
that Jake started pouring.
There was a click of glass,
and the liquor went down with
the sting of an open wound.
Lauren called for a larger round,
and as the shots were poured,
she pulled friends out of the amorphous mob
because the prevailing wisdom in those days
required the drinking of ten dollar paint thinner
to include the maximum amount of people available,
all wailing something resembling a war cry,
with something approaching religious fervor.
Their faces imploded in strange patterns
then dissipated back into the dark side of the room,
still chanting: shots, shots, shots.
The girlfriend was led away
by the hand of a friend
while Benny watched her
round denim shorts
The guys were left standing
beneath the naked bulb
that swung to the vibrations
of a subwoofer shuddering
against a nearby wall.
They talked of what happened last night
and what they hoped would happen tonight,
how bad they felt this morning
and how they’d keep it all down this time,
what they remembered and
how much they had forgotten.
Having too much of last night in black,
Benny didn’t want to stay to hear it filled in,
so he took advantage of the girlfriend coming back
to make a blind exit.
Outside, he paused to look
at the tumultuous crowd of debauchery
prowling Del Playa, and it seemed to him,
they all had somewhere to go.
Some lucky few
had even found their party
on the street.
These were the screamers,
the most inebriated, perhaps,
the best pretenders.
Moving as a herd
under a sepia filter of streetlights
and the ubiquitous but ignored supervision
of a police patrol, they were separated
into the two lanes of traffic, not by
the ranch hands with guns, but
some innate urge for order.
And as they crossed paths
they studied each other, envious
of what they may be missing, disguising
their insecurity through smirks they hoped
would say, “You fools are going the wrong way.
The real party is this way.”
Benny began walking through the penumbra
of the burnt yellow street, passing by
windows bursting popsicle purple to
the pulse of a techno monotony.
He separated himself from the auspicious
in space and thought, walking
without their smirk or the sense
that they shared his strong desire
to feel nothing.
LUIS SILVA is the editor of Electric Cereal. His fiction is forthcoming in Luna Luna and his work as a translator has been featured in Adult Mag.