Bryan Coffelt

Because the World Needs Us Now

Lance told me my dreams were like the Himalayas, tall and irrelevant. I figured this was a warning or something. I got extremely disfigured when he talked. He'd say dreams were so obfuscated you ought not remember them. Just forget them, he'd say, the way you try to forget your last girl. It was like listening to a preacher on a Sunday, trying my best, reaching out and shit. I'd pass myself around the room, caressing egos and touching girl hair.

--Your hair smells so good.

They'd believe me, flip it a bit, grin, party on. We never got along, me and hair. It was so fickle and condescending. To think, hair could be condescending. I hated it and took ibuprofen more frequently because thinking about it made my head hurt. Hair in front of eyes was, like, enticing. I remember that. I was always enticed by something, or forgiven. I was always between segments, just strapping myself into the current requisite.

Lance was wearing suede shoes and talking with his left hand a lot because his right hand was a giant party foul. He spilled and gestured, spilled and gestured. I ate it up, a well trained mime. We bantered about politics for a moment and I sat down on the couch. I needed to cross my legs.

--Ever seen that one movie with Kevin Spacey about life and shit? That one is crazy as fuck.

Crazy as all fuck. Crazy as a hypnotist with an agenda. Crazy crazy like those dolphins that can smell fear or bombs or something. We lay on the sound, carry it upward into the maestro's nostrils. Who can smell the noise? No one takes our pithy comments as commands or suggestions anymore.We are rock stars without voices. Lance hit me for thinking too much.

--Too many big words and shit shouldn't be thy nature, you know?

We like to crowd around the coffee tables at parties and watch people play cards. Sometimes Lance bets money, but I always like watching what cards people have in their hands. Tonight no one had a good hand. Tonight we all found ourselves shrouded by lonely thoughts and slow music.

--Todd, you want another beer?

I nodded and started peeling the label off my empty. It's something I do. Someone came in and started yelling about his girlfriend and how he just caught her with someone else. He was crying and half drunk. We started pouring him shots and letting him vent. I had the deepest sympathy for him I'd ever had for someone before.

--We know man, I said.

Lance just sat back in his chair and glanced around the room before he gave the order:

--Let's go break her.

So we were off, out to break her. None of us were sober, so we walked. We were responsible young people. We came to the elementary school where Lance and I grew up and played kickball and got in fights and where Lance's mom came to pick him up when his dad killed himself, and before I could stop him, Lance was dashing at the fence, then climbing it, then falling over the other side. I chased after him and ripped my pants on the fence. I yelled for him to stop but there is no stopping a rock star. He did stop when he got to the front office. He was cupping his hands around his face and looking in the window. He took off his jacket, put it on his right hand, nodding and grinning.

--Fuckin' A, he said, Fuckin' A.

Then he slammed his fist through the glass and tried to reach around to grab the doorknob like you see in movies, but he was so drunk that he didn't realize there was no way he was going to reach the doorknob. His knuckles were swollen and probably broken, and the glass cut his arm. I stopped him, which is something I never do.

--You're going to hurt yourself man. Let's go before the cops get here.

And Lance cried because he didn't reach the doorknob, because he didn't open the door. He hunched over while I wrapped his arm in his jacket and we went on through the relentless myriads of broken streetlamps and brick alleyways with steam vents. We skipped town the next day and decided to learn how to put our fingers on fretboards.

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