You think I am exaggerating? No, Annie, with all my soul, no.
The steps of the Franzensquai were, I readily admit, more daunting than I had initially expected. But this, Annie, stemmed from the enormous – and I mean truly enormous – quantity of good German Resiling that I had imbibed prior to leaving the party for this jaunt.
Ill-advised? No, Annie, no. There comes a time in a man’s life when he knows that words are not enough, that polite smiles have failed, that the truest and best thing left available to him is to fight, up close and with fists, until blood flows.
I followed him out of the party. Was I stealthy? No. But I thought I was. He must have known that I was dogging his footsteps virtually from the outset. But then, he had been drinking, also (I had watched him through the night like a vulture eyeing off prey, and made sure to match his drinks one for one – in all things, fairness), so perhaps not. I followed him across rain-wet streets, and underneath the glittering lights of late night kebab shops, 7-11’s, taverns, night clubs, strip clubs, descending, it seemed, deeper into the caverns of vice, though really these places were ordinary, banal in their excesses, and largely uninspiring. The vices of the middle class writ large across the streets, nothing more. He walked, I walked, the other people vanished into my drunken peripheral vision.
Finally, Annie, I cornered him at a park bench by a dried up water fountain. I grabbed his arm, he spun around, the indigent gypsy beggar on the other side of the fountain laughed, the rain fell, the moon was clear, the stars pierced through the sky and seemed to fall to earth, the night roared, the air pulsed, the sounds of the city dulled and faded, and I realised – god help me, Annie – that I was following the wrong man, but it was too late, my eyes were hard, his mouth had opened into a soundless “o”, my fingers were sticky, the gypsy was shrieking, and the man – the wrong man, Annie – fell back, the knife I had stolen from the party buried in his stomach, and I knew then that everything had changed.
* * *
The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.