Six Days In Oblivion
Monday. He woke 7ish with a headache and dehydration, classic hangover. He gulped coffee and chewed a croissant and made art while listening to old music. He did that all day; didn’t see or talk to anyone. In the evening he left his cluttered loft and walked a block to the neighborhood tavern, where he sat on a bar stool and drank beer. He had supper there and watched and listened to the happy, animated, laughing patrons, most of whom he recognized and who recognized him. He hardly talked to anybody except the bartender, but he never did. A guitarist strummed music in the corner. After several hours he returned home and drank whiskey until he fell asleep.
Tuesday. He woke 7ish with a headache and dehydration. He gulped coffee and chewed a croissant. He made art and listened to old music, today jazz rather than yesterday’s classical. He thought to himself what a cultured and eclectic person he was, listening to varied forms of music. At 2p his agent arrived to collect several of his art pieces. The agent had hoped for a specific work the artist was doing on commission. He told his agent to return on Friday and he’d have it. His agent asked how he was doing, what with everything going on. He just shrugged. He wondered what the hell his agent was talking about. In the evening he walked to the neighborhood tavern and sat on a bar stool and drank beer and had supper and watched and listened to the patrons, who he thought seemed less happy and animated and laughing than yesterday, and the guitarist seemed to be playing moodier stuff. The bartender was keeping to himself. After several hours he returned home and drank whiskey until he fell asleep.
Wednesday. He woke 7ish with a headache and dehydration and gulped coffee and chewed a croissant and made art and listened to old blues music. He did that alone all day, then walked to the tavern and sat on his stool with beers and supper, but there was no guitarist. No music playing at all and there were fewer people and they just sort of sat around quietly. He felt annoyed with them. A stern man in a black coat and hood came in and sat alone in a corner and watched everyone even less discreetly than he did. He decided he didn’t like the man. The bartender seemed nervous. After several hours he returned home and drank whiskey until he fell asleep.
Thursday. He woke 7ish with a headache and dehydration and gulped coffee and chewed a croissant and made art and listened to old rock music. After making art all day and finishing the work his agent wanted he walked to the tavern and sat on his stool. The bartender gave him a beer and told him there was no supper except pretzels because the cook had not come to work and again there was no music. And again there were fewer, quieter patrons. The stern man in the black coat and hood returned and this time had two other stern associates with him. They sat for a few minutes, then rose and approached one of the patrons, the stern man standing in front of his table and the two others on either side. “No,” the patron said. “No, I haven’t done anything.” But the two on either side each grabbed an arm each and lifted him, and they left. He returned home and drank whiskey until he fell asleep.
Friday. He awoke as usual and made art all day. He placed the work his agent wanted against the wall, but the agent never arrived to collect it. He kept waiting and delayed leaving for the tavern. He was annoyed, but more confused; his agent was never late. The bartender silently set a beer and a bowl of pretzels in front of him and there was still no music. The stern man and his two stern associates entered, and this time walked straight to the bar, moving behind it to the bartender who backed frightened against the counter and rattled bottles. Each associate took and arm and left with the bartender in tow, but the stern man in the black coat and hood took a seat in the corner and watched. The waitress moved behind the bar, but there were hardly any patrons to attend to and those who were there sat quietly. He looked quizzically to the waitress, who said nothing, then he returned home and drank whiskey until he fell asleep.
Saturday. He slept a little later but still awoke with a headache and dehydration, and did not make art. He spent the day reading novels and relaxing but was distracted by the disruptions he’d witnessed and felt annoyed by that. He still expected his agent to pop up, but he never did. In the evening he walked to the tavern and sat on his stool and the waitress placed a beer in front of him and told him there were no more pretzels, and there was still no music, and hardly any patrons. He hunched over his beer, and then two more, and then the one after those he felt a tap on his shoulder, and he turned expecting his agent had finally showed up. Instead he stared into the face of the stern man and his associates, each of whom placed a hand under his arms, and it dawned on him that, for whatever reason, they were there for him.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.