The Break Down (aka Don’t Drink & Write)

I’m on stage. I don’t know what I’ve done, what line I’ve just said, what part I’ve just played, it’s like I just showed up here, and a smattering of applause washes over me, like light snow, cold and beautiful. Suddenly I’m not comfortable with the attention so I draw my cloak around me, snuggle in the darkness, not quite invisible but damn near improbable. Wherever you think you see me you can’t really be sure, and I’m probably not there.

Next I’m looking into windows set into walls on the stage. You’d think they’d be fake, a set, not real, but behind the windows, inside the rooms happy couples watch TV and love each other. This is obviously not my world. The closer I look the lonelier I feel. I wish I wasn’t here. I’m probably not.

The audience is bored. They like the stage more than they like me. Happy nights, bright lights, neon fights. Sushi. Starbucks. Video. And happy couples, young and loving each other, hold happy hands and spend discretionary income with no care. It’s not fair.

Somebody please let me go home.

Up the block, down the avenue, all forced perspective for the audience’s benefit, the lights go out as a whole new universe closes in, with what I’m sure is one less seat, the one that used to have my name on it. Pop goes the weasel, the musical chair dangles off the edge of the stage and then falls with an embarrassing crash, the front row too polite to take notice or suspend their suspended disbelief. It’s a show, what do you want?

The squeeze is on, the squish is in, and seen or unseen, I know this will soon be over and I’ll be forced to make way for something newer and better and younger and with a higher credit rating. The universe is shrinking. I’m the wrong shape. The cars stop moving and the red light lasts forever. I’ll be breaking down now, decompose to feed a better kind of life.

I just want to go home. I wish I could remember where it was. It’s not here. It’s not here.

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