Fall. It has fallen over the world in an instant. Yesterday it was ninety five degrees and the whole state was in a drought. The river nearly ran dry, the earth parched for water and full of fire. But today the rain came so suddenly that those who woke up to it rose in confusion and awe. Pushing back the curtains and staring at the sky falling. What is this? What is it that could be falling from the sky? And the leaves which yesterday were clinging to trees now tumble, carried by the gusting and powerful wind.
On the bus ride to Café Funeral I watch people drive in the downpour. Exploding puddles against rolling tires. The waves of cold gutter water splashing on damp sidewalks.
At Café Funeral It's cozy and the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon fills the air. Its always fall in here, but today it has flooded out the doors and consumed the entire world. The new residents of the deceased are on display in the viewing room. Their silent faces and parched looking lips will never speak again. I order an Americano and douse it in cream. I find my usual corner, put in my headphones and pull out a notebook and pen.
I must look like a distraught poet, ragged from lack of sleep and too much coffee. I’m scribbling my observations of the world and the names to songs that I think should follow one another. I can hear the transitions in my mind, the 80’s rock, oldies, deep house beats, indie, all of it trying to come together as one idea, a continuous movement that won’t let you down, just keep you moving.
“Hey,” someone says, I raise my eyes from the scribbles in my notepad.
“Hey,” I say. It’s June. She’s wearing a long black dress with black rain boots.
“Did you see her yet?” She asks.
I know exactly who she means, “I didn't know she was already here.”
“She’s in there. It breaks my heart.”
“Will you come with me to look?” I ask.
At Café Funeral people pay in advance for their loved ones and themselves to be displayed in the viewing room once they’ve gone. Their bodies are patiently rotting inside glass tombs. All the ghoul boys and the ghoul girls come out with their muffins and lattes to pay their respects. And the world keeps turning. On the walls are some genuine mummies. Those hardcore ghouls who paid a sum to have their bodies mummified and used as decoration.
Alison always fit right in. When she could, she would meet me here for coffee. Its what I looked forward to. But I never knew if she would be here.
“It's sad,” June says, resting her head on my shoulder.
“I know,” I say. I'm thinking about those mornings having coffee, the way she smiled, the way she laughed. Then later in the evenings at the club. The way she danced.
“Who will ever dance like that again….” June says, as if seeing my thoughts.
We stand there for a long time, June slides her hand into mine and I squeeze it, she turns her head into my shoulder and she’s sobbing.
Alison had a boyfriend. People make mistakes. Drink too much. Take too much. Do things that wouldn’t make sense to their sober selves. And sometimes we fuck up. Sometimes it kills us.
At Toad’s Pub down the street from Café Funeral I order two gin and tonics. The rain has stopped, the wind died down, and the street is littered with orange leaves. It’s an English Pub with jet black walls and hanging flags of different English futbol clubs. Its quaint and feels like something off the streets of London.
“What time do you go on tonight?” June asks.
“Pretty much the best.”
“What time are you going to the club?”
“Soon. I like to get there early.”
When Alison was alive we would meet at the club when the house lights were still on. The bartender knew our routine and when he saw us that was his cue to shut them off.
“Can I join you?” June says.
We walk into the club at eight forty five. The house lights are on and the opener is up behind the booth getting his stuff ready. We pull up seats at the bar.
“whatcha havin early birds?” The bartender says.
“Long Island. Stiff,” I say.
“Make it a Rum and Coke….” June says.
At nine o'clock the lights turn off leaving the swishing colored lights to dance alone on the empty metallic floor. The music is indie dance and its mellow, perfect for the scene right now. All I can think about is Alison. I see her face when I close my eyes. June’s body brushes against mine. When I turn my head she gives me a smile and a gentle shoulder push. I smile.
By ten o'clock there are a small handful of people in the club and I order another stiff long island and choke it down while bobbing my head and saying hi to friends who come in. The crews and cliques, the ghouls and ghosts, everyone dressed like tonight is Halloween.
My friend Sid nestles up to me wearing pink high heels. He towers above.
“Sid, how’s it hanging?”
“Its a sloppy mess,” he says, and orders a gin and tonic.
“What time do you go on?” he asks.
“You better be playing good shit tonight. Don't fucking let me down.”
“Do I ever?”
He snaps me a serious look.
“Don’t answer that,” I say.
When its my turn to command the dance floor, standing behind the decks, I think about Alison. Her absence is felt. The newbies won’t know who she was. And as time passes the world will continue to change and soon no one will know anyone anymore. I’m high. And the music is flashing. The lights are orchestra. Someone is shouting at me. A woman. I can’t see her through the music. Its like fog.
Alison? My lips glide over the word and my eyebrows raise at the meaning.
The woman looks confused like she didn’t understand. She says something again.
It’s June. She is asking if I want something. Do I want a drink?
Of course, my silent lips speak.
After my set I’m dancing with June. I’m in a time warp. Colored lights and bodies frozen and flashing like a dream. Alison is everywhere.
Stumbling out of the club into the cold. June, June and me, hanging on each other like we can’t walk. We can’t walk. Where are we going? What are we doing? Her house. Roommates. Her bed and our clothes on the floor and our naked bodies playing, licking, sucking, and all the things worth doing. And when I look at her its Alison. I’m fucking her, I’m fucking Alison. She’s so warm and everything is okay.
It’s all okay.