Saturday, January 15, 2011

Year Of The Rabbit (Redux)

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It was New Year's Eve. Inexplicably, the lads had started to balk at raising a little Hell. I was becoming impatient. "Gimme the God damn thing!" I was throwing on layers against the cold. Last of all, the pak boots; you must keep your feet warm, or all is lost. A pause for a moment to admire them; I liked the way they looked, how they felt. I tucked my jeans in and bloused them slightly, just right, reminding me of soldiers in the Great War crouching in their trenches. At times it felt we languished in trenches in this part of the city.

"What about the cars? We can't put it in the middle of the street."
"Fuck 'em. This is our fuckin' street, ain't it?" A half-smile grew on young Brad's face - out of nervousness or admiration, I couldn't say. "It was you guy's idea in the first place, right?" The uncertainty was starting to piss me off. KC was still apprehensive. He hadn't seen me this way for a long, long time. "We'll miss our window of opportunity. Come on!"

boots on the stair - thirteen steps into winter's ire.

"Wait for it." A quick scan of the street for trouble, not to mention the cops. Fifteen minutes past midnight, and a few cars might still be on the prowl. As luck would have it, we were able to walk directly to the middle of the road. By coincidence, the storefront church across the way was just letting out, the only inhabitants on a block of boarded up businesses, their ramshackle fronts the only clue to a bustling, bygone era. The congregation eyed us with caution.

another day, another new religion - the old chapel back home

Kneeling on the center line, I produced a new lighter from my pocket: 'guaranteed to have a thousand lights'. Headlights shone far in the distance. "Move your hand - get your face outta there!" A few tries and some muttered oaths produced an alluring hiss and sparkle. We all stood quickly just as a beat-up SUV rounded the corner. Standing my ground, I made a motion for the driver to stop, causing him to honk his horn defiantly. Setting my feet firm, I pointed my index finger sternly. "Hold it right there, buddy!" Just then, fireworks exploded into a thousand showers of glittering balls behind me.


Striding back to the relative safety of the sidewalk, through strobes of colored light and a series of cracks and whistles, the buildings nearby were illuminated briefly, the explosions amplified in narrow alleys echoed through icy night air.

Framed in an open window above, little Izzy jumped up and down, clapping his hands with joy as the lady of the house bellowed out a drunken, "Happy New Year!" A few more cars appeared, slowing down then speeding past the gunpowder's roar, gunning their engines in annoyance, or, could it have been delight? I wasn't so sure, though even the patrons of Iglesias Cristiana Cedros del Libano appeared to be enthralled. Was this a tradition in their home country?

For the life of me I couldn't stop grinning. Then, out of the corner of one eye, I noticed a movement deep in the darkness of the alley.

mother rabbit - leaping a drift and back again, never to touch down.


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4 comments:

altadenahiker said...

You're getting good at this.

T.Migratorius said...

wow! We shot off some fireworks but you took your experience of it to a whole new level.

bandit said...

Hey Swede,

A belated thanks. From you, that means a lot.

willie

bandit said...

Robin,

It was their idea!!!