Street lights dredge the pavement like corn flour, a shapeless drift of luminance. It’s the same street, up and down, but it’s not. It’s different from ground perspective, sprawled on the cracks. His vision is fractured, bones the weight of gravestones, head like a shotgunned jukebox, kaput. It’s not like passed-out drunk in the funnies. It’s puking out your soul and then stuffing it back in your mouth, gathering the slop, hoping it fits back the way it was. And then waiting for the better angels to show up. They hardly ever do.
Drowning in an archipelago of shadows and neon, bobbing and submerging. A breeze riffs a storefront canopy — Andy’s Liquor Outlet — and the sound reminds him of sails, of a peaceable ocean somewhere far, somewhere clean. He waits for the footfalls of hard-souled men, ready to put him into a hard place, into a hard sleep.
No more, he mouths, but the words are tasteless. The night is silent, so maybe the angels can hear him.
The breeze lifts him up, the angels at work.