Music of the Night
(U2 – “Hands That Built America” – Music Video by Bald Punk)
From the moment we stepped outside our Upper Manhattan apartment building, I was in a bad way. The pizza and Chinese delivery guys(aka num and nuts) knew it. They kept shooting glances at me when my lady friend(LF) wasn’t looking. They tried to mock concern, which, I’m not going to get into except to say that they can’t even blink right. You’d think they had dust in their eyes. But I’m not allowed to malign num and nuts here. I don’t want to do a blog post like this one again: Nice Post about Pizza and Chinese Delivery Guys
That night we went to a place down in the East Village. It doesn’t matter where. Nothing matters right now.
Though if you must have a description . . .
It was red. Okay. The place was all red. Those darn clubs by Tompkins Square all have red lights, and I can’t tell one from the other. Sometimes it’s cool. But not when you’re on the lookout for signs of danger.
Num and nuts’ furtive eyes seemed to serve as a reminder that I brought the problem on myself.
I should never have intruded on “Alex’s space.” He’s the kid who’s not a kid that looked like Abe Lincoln. Meeting him, as even he had said, was what I had called “The First Mistake.”
I opened a door that now can’t be shut. The last time I saw Alex over by Cooper Union, I heard ghostly music. Now I hear it every night.
And boy oh boy was I in a bad way that night. The moment I stepped outside to go to the East Village, I began to hear the distant twinkling of piano keys. The sound followed me down the subway stairs and got louder when I reached the platform waiting area. When I craned my neck, I realized it echoed through the tunnels.
The silver train rattled into the station and drowned out the music. There were plenty of seats, but I was too fidgety. I hung by the doors. I plugged in the earbuds from my iPod that was out of battery life, and grooved with deliberate motions.
The train sounds were loud enough so I couldn’t tell if the ghostly music was audible.
My LF was reading Lovely Bones. She had her hair pulled back from her face in a ponytail and looked radiant in the fluorescent light. When she glanced up at me, I mouthed “Coltrane.” It was to give her a reason why my motions were a tad herky-jerky.
Since my LF was occupied, null and void num and nuts focused completely on muah.
My head could be on fire and those two wouldn’t notice, or if they did, they’d blow on the flames and set themselves on fire in the process.
As usual, it was hard to take them seriously. They looked like they’d robbed their clothes off some trashy-chic, Madison Avenue mannequins. While in truth, they came off the racks at T.J. Maxx, which is a great store.
I wore a leather jacket, and my dome was polished to a luster. I also have a wicked little sprig of hair at the top of my forehead that I’ve been growing for months. It was spiked and looked like a devil’s horn.
We got off at Houston Street and had to walk six or seven blocks to the club. Soon after the piano melody rose to a clear whisper. I hung back and found myself trying to pick up on someone, possibly a hooded figure. He was on the periphery, keeping to the shadows.
A few doors before the club that was located in the middle of Avenue A, the hooded figure appeared in full view two blocks away.
“Did I drop something,” I muttered and jogged a dozen feet or so toward him. I wanted to see if he would react. In the blink of an eye, he was gone.
I lifted my gaze to the ridge of the building, four-plus stories above us. Something flitted past.
Over at the entrance to the club, my LF called out, “What’s going on, Baldie?”
“Dropped my MetroCard,” I cried with a vapid smile and lifted an empty fist. My eyes shot to the hooded being. He had reappeared a full block-and-one-half ahead of us. He looked at me for a second before he began to jog uptown.
I stumbled and stiffly hopped about on one leg. Before my friends could say another word, I shimmied with fisted hands and gave a goofy grin. It was then I realized that the figure’s movement affected the music. But it was all too much to digest.
Num and nuts whimpered with concern.
“No-nothing’s wrong!” I cried, watching the figure vanish.
The music stopped.
“Okay,” my LF said, yet by the way her eyes studied me, it was more like, “Ooooookaaaaaay.”
I found myself wondering if the music was a temptation of some sort. I remembered how Alex had feared that the spirits were trying to lure him back through time. The thought that I was being tempted, possibly to my own demise, terrified me. Alas, anything is possible in NYC. Few know that better than me.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Twenty-Six – February 2010
Tompkins Square Park (Photos only)