by Sean Braun

The sky is dark. It's been dark for some time. Looking up. It's like waking up in a tent that's become incredibly humid during the night. You know outside the tent it's beautiful, but you can't bear to face it so early. The warmth of the rain is better.

The car is a Buick. One old enough to have played 'Imagine' through its speakers when it was still relevant, still conceivable. A collection of roaches lies in the ashtray, dormant until someone desperate enough attempts to revive them, but I'm not that desperate. A detour would be a good idea now. J-Rock's always dependable. Yes, I like the sound of that.

The room is hazy. Even if someone wanted to know what was going on I doubt they could see a damn thing. The scent is familiar too. Where is he?

He is stretched out watching an old black and white sci-fi horror film. There's no sound but the clinking of his fingernail against his bottle of Coors as he stares blankly at the screen. There's a woman shining a flashlight into the bushes. And then she screams, but we can't hear it; the sound is off. I don't think J-Rock would have noticed anyway.

[Let's go for a drive.] He rises without an utterance. There are two others in the car. I don't know how they got in, I don't know if I invited them. It doesn't matter.

Minutes have passed, probably hours. It doesn't matter. [Where are we going?] Nobody ever knew, let alone remembers. That's not the point. [Hold the wheel] I don't trust his driving when he's sober, let alone in his present condition. But if I want to escape tonight, it has to be done. Three bills are placed on the dashboard. One little bag in the glove compartment. Good to go.

When dealing with a tambourine man, it is customary to share a song. It passes around this four-man circle several times. Minutes pass, slide away.

[Burn 'em] He has been mumbling this for the past half hour now. I wish he would either explain himself or shut the fuck up. When someone acts in this fashion he has either stumbled upon an idea nothing short of god-like, or he is a moron and deserves to be kicked in the teeth. I can never tell the difference. I still don't know his name.

The sky has cleared. The stars reveal themselves one at a time. Brilliant. We sit in silence. Have you ever noticed that you can sit with someone for hours in silence and learn more of him than had you been conversing the entire time? I have. [Burn 'em] Not here though, not in this case. Everyone, including Pyro, is too lost in his own thoughts to be even remotely concerned with any others. I forget what my thoughts were. I'm sure they were crap any way. [Burn 'em] [Shut up] Silence.

Another song. Another circle. Another drive. Somehow we find our way back home or at least to the right town. How? It must be fate. We don't deserve to find our way back. The car sputters and dies. Finally, an excuse to walk. [Burn 'em] [Shut up] [Both of you shut the fuck up] The first words J-Rock has uttered all evening. This walk has gotten a bit tense for me. It had to. We had no choice but to walk. If it had been our choice, I'm sure we'd be getting on better. But it wasn't. [Fuck fate, I'm sitting down] A finger raised in the air, directed to the heavens.

I wake up. The grass has become wet. The dew soaks through my shoes, soaks through my socks, my skin, and has chilled me through and through. I look at the sky. It's dark. It's beautiful. But I can't bear to face it. The warmth of the rain is better.