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a knife in the snow. A short story from the collection, one from the Ice by Sean. Welsh The last time I remember feeling this good about a snowfall. I was sober in 17 on the Linoleum of my parents house, sprawled out and content to be alone for a while. I could barely get alone in that house. There were a lot of us. Some music was on, I can't say what and the refrigerator would hum in sporadic moments, but everything else was dead. I just decided to lay there and look out the window directly above the sink. And in the upper left corner of that window was a single floodlight that highlighted that portion of the driveway by the side door and falling all over. That single light was snow coming down too fast and thick for the heat of the bulb to melt it. It just kept coming. Pat was closing the tavern early and wanting to get back to Woodlawn before the roads got really bad. He apologized, gave me a shot of beam and sent me out into the snow. I stood next to the gyro cart zipping up. It was the first time I felt new york dormant and dense, let alone completely white. Don't you ever close man? I asked, walking by. No boss, never close. He flipped kabobs and stomped his feet. Small piles of onion and chicken were moved to the corner of his griddle, waiting and small icicles started to form on the tips of his black mustache. I was warm inside And there was barely any wind as I turned to walk up the middle of 31st Street towards 36th Avenue. The chop shops and garages were not visible and every car that aligned both sides of the street was buried to the roof by discarded snow from the plows. Not even the criminals were out and I was still thirsty. 3 17 I huffed back in Kansas city, I would have been defrosting a junker trying to hook up and after hours in a parking lot with nobody I knew walking under the end train was better. In fact leaving where I lived to come to new york was better. It was not rushed. It was not desperate or at least not as desperate as it used to be as what had become the norm. Everyone I had lied to for so many years was glad to see me go. All my friends that really were or pretended to be shook my hand and gave me a nice party. All the women to whom I told pretty things showed up to tell me to **** off. And a couple of them just to fund me. I only loved twice in KC and when I left I left a long lady who was good to me on all fronts for several years. But she understood and it helped that we were not in love. I thought about that apartment with no electricity, no phone and a dead man smell seeping from the fridge and off the mildew in the shower That poor ****** I put in the hospital, but he had a knife so fund him. Ball the bartender who never bought me a drink, but looking back I never deserved one. And so under the shoulders of the N train was better and I didn't know anyone which was fine. It was better than taking rolled coins for 40 oz of crazy horse in thinking that I was living desperate out, there. feeling life all under the cozy umbrella of parents and friends, trying to shield me from the shame and criticism that they knew would bury me. It was better than any writhing desperation I had for a woman, the nonsensical humiliation of failure seemed to hold no present and short, sometimes brilliant flashes of the past, but nothing more. It all rolled itself, coupling with the depletion of two respectable influences that did not trust me anymore. And looked at me with two sets of strangers eyes instead of a son that they once did. That sharp biting reality of everyday cascaded through. Family's eyes eroded with time and ended hopefully with me here walking in new york by myself expecting nothing. It was hard to be comfortable with no phone or electricity, though not impossible. I did it so long. I managed to find real peace in some moments, usually right at dusk. The only one not worried for me was me. I learned that there were basics that I wanted that people could not would not give me. And one I found I craved the most was respect. The others were a phone, food and electricity. I always found a way for drink. Later on when I was evicted I made sure I would not let my friend down in any of these areas. When he asked me to join him in his first apartment outside of his graduation from college, he had a big heart and pity that he disguised as a legitimate need for a roommate. I thought of my first months in new york. I thought of how they were filled with expectations and newfound history. Some nights I remembered how worrying would keep me up as I lay on the floor listening to the end train go back and forth. As I looked up at the white lights from the city bank, building thoughts of how anger helped me to carry out the decision to leave in a controlled defiance and how I felt my skin of old being shed with every new hand that I shook every street that I walked with a new humble confidence finding solace in all of its anonymity. I could drink as much as I wanted, as long as the bills were paid and the rent was covered as long as there was bail money and some kind of rainy day broken ribs fund. Maybe I could start it tonight in new york. God bless the ******* possibilities with snow, burying everything in the history of those you could get behind The snow kept coming and I kept walking almost to 36th Avenue. My feet were wet and I felt shameless knowing exactly where to go. It was not where I came from, it was not where I was living. It was now. I stood in front of MacGuineas with frozen snot to wipe while I contemplated at all the end, train slid past shaking snow. I had a good enough amount to drink with and was still thirsty. Let this night stand, ************'s was what I heard as I stomped the snow off. Through the door to my left was an older woman with a bronze drink and a brazen face and slightly red highlights at the top of her cheeks and throughout her nose. She smiled at me and slurred. There were a couple of small Latinos in the corner, drinking Coronas. Everything else was fogged except for the bar and a stool. Nobody seemed unhappy to see. A stranger in the jukebox was playing loud without the care of neighbors, which opened things up for everybody. It sounded like Tony Bennett definitely not frank or one of the other crooners. We're not leaving until the plows go home. He finished shouting and stood in front of the open end of the bar. Six something in a damp gray sweatshirt with a Michelob light in one hand, balancing a cigarette with a long tired ash that led to a short glass that shifted with a cherry swimming in a deep mahogany liquid. He looked at me past me and then took a sip of his beer. What do you have there kid? The barman asked draft. Of course. He hobbled away and smiled at the room, not looking straight at anyone. A pair colored fluorescent light colored him brighter than anything else in the room. And he moved with absolutely no urgency or irritation. And as I looked around, I noticed everyone had a drink. The space he moved between was flanked by union stickers, pictures of people who had died, trophies of stuffed squirrel, a deer from the late sixties and a couple for bowling and softball at the far end covered in dust all surrounding the mighty cash register that was manual and silver shiny and dimly lit by a clip on M. G. D. Light probably from when the beer was first introduced. The taps were sunken under the bar on the other side and I preferred not to see what was surrounding them. God bless you, honey! Where are you from? She slid into me, spilling half her drink and her nasty all night cigarette breath Her hair was typical brown and in a ponytail and as I slid back to catch some semi decent air, I could not help but notice that she must have been good looking. At one point I live across the street. I said, oh that's nice. She swayed back and then in close so the sides of her breast were rubbing my arm. My name is joan. She put out her hands, smiling to reveal a crowded city of teeth all bunched. Dave. I said, Hey jojo, Joma jojo dancer, joe ma marina, come take me to the corner. He didn't acknowledge me and took her other hand. He looked like he could have been prosperous or attractive at one time as he brushed past me and led her to the corner of the bar by the only window I could smell that he hadn't washed his black suit for days. I knew that smell because I used to not wash my clothes for days. It was a stench between dried natural body fluids combined with everything else. The garment caught from the air. You've had a good night or what? The bartender appeared in front of me sipping a Dunkin Donuts cup that looked two days old. Yeah, not bad. I said, I've seen you in here last week. Question name Dave. Davey boy paul, nice to meet you. He extended his hand and when I took it, I noticed it did not feel right and when he pulled it back to take another sip, I noticed he was missing the tops of his pinky and ring fingers. He had hair like pete rose and slightly tinted glasses that were encased by silver breadbox frames. He would adjust them after almost hacking up his innards just before lighting a long parliament, my beer went down and paul brought me another. I downed another and paul refilled it. I put another 20 on the bar and Paul gave me one on the house. The bottles stood like soldiers with the best ones clean and often used a lot of whiskey soldiers and a lot of their fans waiting in exquisite swollen worship. Paul rolled the machine quiet and efficient, sometimes pretending to laugh through clicks and clicks of forbidden time known as after hours I went to the jukebox around 5.30. I played my songs and went back to finish my session when Seager came on. I thought of myself on an ivory colored Fatboy with solid steel rims. When that one beach boys song came on. I wished that they had made more like it when meeting across the river played lonely letting the smooth, thick sacks through. I thought about the tall lady in K. C. Perhaps a bit lonely for some touch After that came samba petit and I thought of sentences I would use during my father's eulogy and that rolled into waiting on a friend and no thought just a smooth thick buzz, not wanting to see daylight, Just the snow against night and the dense freshness with which it covered everything but that lasted until just after the song and then I was drunk and daylight started to peek through the curtains and the ends started to run more frequently. I got up and paul was still sipping his coffee cup. Everyone was hammered and sloppy and the guy who would yell at the end of the bar was looking at me blasted paul. Who's the guy at the end of the bar? I asked, clutching the wood. Oh, that's Hugh Hugh, Say hello to Davey Boy, cheers Fusco. He raised the guys drink that was asleep on the bar next to him and downed it. I walked across the street before it got too light out with hope for the afternoon. I know you will. I thought of my father saying, as I fought the snow and my pockets for my keys.