“Into Each Heart Some Rain Must Fall” by Ella Fitzgerald and The Ink Spots came hoarsely sputtering from the jukebox speakers. I don’t remember ever hearing “Into Each Heart Some Rain Must Fall” or how I knew it was “Into Each Heart Some Rain Must Fall”, but I knew it was. Figured it was as good a signal as any to bring my evening to an end.
It was claustrophobically near to last call and the joint was suffocated of life. You had a couple of guys in boring tweed suits, horribly wrinkled and ties knotted loosely at their necks; mostly inebriated and gone, and two decently attractive tarts giggling mad between cupped hands to each other about fuck-knows-what. If I’d been successfully more drunk I’d probably had given it a-go at taking them back to my place. However, tonight had been anything but successful in any definition, malapropism or interpretation of the word, in any language you might care to speak. I tossed back a final shot of low-grade, cucaracha-piss tequila and packed up my smokes before snaking through the ghost-town arrangement of empty tables and upturned chairs.
I quickly hit the alleyway behind the speakeasy into the back alley, letting the heavy iron door bang helplessly against itself a few times.
I was more intent on lighting up. Damn those legislative bullshit measures saying it’s “too damn impolite to smoke indoors,” including -for fuck’s sake- a gin mill of all the lowly, undeserving places. I loosened the crumpled, abused pack of fags from the marsupium pocket of my hoodie and fit a square between clenched teeth. From the same pouch came the lighter, all too excited to oblige my willingness to suck down all kinds of rot. With a quick spark we were off and goddamn smoking, finally, and it felt, well, I definitely wasn’t going to feel James-fucking-Dean here tonight, but I’d settle for calmed; to terms with the back-alley abortion of an evening I’d had and relaxed enough.
In my haste to light up, I’d failed to notice that between the time I came and left the nightery, it had begun to rain.
I’d always dug the rain. It was pure, unadulterated clean. No matter how godawful the smog of the city might get, or the stench of, whatever might reek, a good rain would take it all away; replaced by a tinny water fragrance, like the inside of a gardening hose. No matter how many people might actually be on this planet, when it rained, it felt like you were the only person within a good shout and all the cacophony of life just simply washed away along the little rivulets between the cracks in the asphalt, disappearing underneath storm drains.
I put my hood up, either way. Not so much to protect from the rain, but to further distance myself from everyone and everything else. It seemed to work; as I trudged down the narrow alley, everything was unusually distant, even in the rain.
Looking at both exits of the alley, I found no pubcrawlers ambling haplessly toward parking garages, or orange-and-black leopard spotted taxis picking off the stragglers. The usual flicker of a dying streetlamp, or the utilitarian brake light game of tag in the streets, all of it was gone. The setting, as it mused playfully through my imagination was like an old silent film. The diluted colours of the world seemed dutifully black and white, even. However the white wasn’t quite right. A bit too green.
This all seemed quite unlikely and suggested that contrary to my belief, I had gotten quite successfully drunk. But bullshit to that. The day I get drunk off two shots in three hours is the day I hand in my youth. Put me out to pasture, take me out back and unload buckshot into my skull. Ser-ious-ly. It’s horeshit.
I let loose a wisp of smoke and lifted my eyes slowly to the sky. I don’t know why, I guess that seemed like the best way to check my drunkedness against my sanity, or to see, if, in fact, I’d be turned to glue any time soon.