Wild things happen when you’re living in the city.
I’ve been living in the city my whole life. Since I was a baby me. Just a little guy. And I don’t remember who my parents were anymore, so don’t ask.
On the day that I’m going to tell you about, man, it was a cold fucking day. The snow was piling up since six. My feet were near frozen. The boots I wore, I’d picked up at one of those yard sales or thrift shops or giveaways that the church does. Fuck, I don’t remember where I gottem. But they’re good for nothing. Especially for keeping my feet warm.
So, there I am, in the middle of town with cold ass feet. I’ve got all my things. Everything in the world that belongs to me, except my dreams and what not, all in this duffle bag that I found out back of the convention center. It ain’t half bad either. Not too smelly. Not really that dirty. And the zipper works too.
I ain’t got nowhere to go. That’s fine by me, though. I’m used to it. Been that way since I can remember. A vagabond. A traveler. A man about town!
I was somewhere on Thirteenth street, I think, when the trouble started up.
The sky opened up. I mean, it had been snowing for a few hours then, but then the sky literally opened up. And all the negativity, all the hate and anger and strife this city doles out over the course of a lifetime just came dumping down on my head. And I’ll admit it. I lost my cool. I got angry. But hey, you would too.
I started to hear all the people who were around me. They were getting angry too. They were just grumbling at first, you know like union workers. But then things built up. And built up and so on until just damn near everyone around me was screaming.
So, I started screaming too.
At that point, my toes was damn close to falling off.
I was up on Fourteenth Street by then. By the Seven Eleven. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hot. I was a goddamned human firecracker.
I was screaming, yeah. I was yelling, yeah. And I was cold. So, I went on inside the Seven Eleven. I know the guy who owns the place, Hassan. Hassan’s a nice guy and he’s usually real good to me. Lets me use the restroom in the back if I need to. It’s not often a guy like me finds a clean place to do business. Sometimes, on the real real cold days, like this one, he lets me hang out in the back office. Where it’s warm. Where I can take my shoes off, toast my toes a little bit. Where I can just be without everyone bothering me.
All those people though, the yelling ones, they was in there with me. Shouting and hollering. Saying all kinds of crazy stuff. Coming out of their mouths all wrong. You don’t talk to a guy like me with that kind of craziness. And you sure don’t talk to a guy like Hassan with all that bass in your voice.
So, when I went inside I was yelling at them.
“Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” I was trying to keep them calm, for Hassan’s sake. He’s a real nice guy.
But it was no use. They got Hassan all angry too. Then he started yelling. And let me tell you, that’s when all hell broke loose. They was yelling at Hassan. I was yelling at them. And Hassan was yelling at all of us.
Well, in the city, when people get to carrying on like that the blue men aren’t usually that far off. I was thankful too. When I saw them blue lights outside I thought “Finally, somebody coming to get these crazy fucking people away from me”.
But things get pretty hectic out there on the streets. And things get all confused and people get all confused and I think that’s what happened.
I heard Hassan telling the blue men that I was the one yelling and screaming. But he didn’t tell them about the other crazy people I was yelling at. I don’t blame Hassan, though, he’s a real nice guy. Sometimes people get confused.
So, then the blue men came at me. Some of them were nice, they usually treat me alright. I talked to them, real cool and real calm. But then the crazy people, you know the one’s yelling at me, they started getting all in my face again. And the blue men weren’t doing anything to stop it! So I started yelling again.
And did I mention, my damn does were still cold! They hurt something awful, even in the heat of the store. The rest of my body was sweating. In the winter time I have to wear a lot of clothes. A lot of layers. That’s one of those tricks to keep you healthy out there. You can have that one for free.
Then one thing led to another and those blue men, bless their souls, they got the story all wrong. Just like Hassan got all mixed up, they did too. But I can’t really get too mad at them. All them crazy people yelling and screaming and talking nonsense, well it can get pretty disorienting.
So now I’m sitting in a jail cell. Again.
I tried to tell the blue men about how it all started. How the sky opened up on me. How the crazy people wouldn’t stop following me, wouldn’t stop yelling. But they didn’t seem to care. They said there’s more guys like me out there and they had to tend to them.
But, on the bright side, my toes didn’t fall off. I gotta keep rubbin’ them. The jail cell isn’t that warm, so I gotta keep rubbin’ them. Keep rubbin’. Keep rubbin’. So damn cold in this city.
Ryan Morris is an emerging author living in the Washington, DC area. Focusing on the interplay between identity and reality, his work is as close to the truth as possible, with obvious exceptions. He’s been published most recently in The Bitchin Kitsch and forthcoming in Sidereal Journal.