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Sunday, July 06, 2008 

Darkness On The Edge of Town

He sat easily on the edges of the group, letting the standard shop-talk flow about him. The sweat on the tracksuit chilling in the evening breeze began to feel clammy on the still hot flesh. He idly noted random muscles in the shoulders and calves twitching as the weariness of the day gradually unwound. A plane went by overhead, impossibly low, and he followed its reflection in the pool, dark metal body undulating in the gentle ripples.

“Orange juice ?” cackled one of the guys. “Hey, what plans for the weekend, man ?”

The weekend, he thought. He heard the muted strains of the music and recognized the lines. Plans for what, he wanted to ask. For the weekend is the houri with dancing eyes and painted lips displayed fleetingly with a swish of diaphanous veils and you unwillingly follow the beckoning finger

(Why does the sun go on shining)

And you know why there are birthdays and that some eyes crinkle when they smile and how people come to believe in miracles and that some things are said without having to put them into words and what the blue in the sky stands for

(Why does the sea rush to shore)

And then there are promises of the future and the joys of the present and you are carried along the swirling edges of the whirlpool, faster and faster

(Why do the birds go on singin)

Till you are sucked into the abyss where all dreams fade to black , where the frenzied channels lapse into the tired re-runs and you are lying with the malignant rictus of that hag, Sunday afternoon, leering at you and you know why all love stories end in the past tense and that even magic has a sell by date and why you clutch at the haft of the knife that is embedded in your heart and the truest things are hardest to tell and that if it had not been for religion and alcohol and the cicatrices of lingering relationships, oblivion would have descended on the world a long while ago

(Why do the stars glow above).

And he feels the madness building up and that curtain of blackness drop just behind his eyelids, the stage where you crook a finger and ask him to bring over a double, then two, threefourfive and then …

(Don’t they know, it’s the end of the world)

He blinks a little uncertainly, like a man emerging into sudden sunshine, and says “Weekend ? Nothing, bro. Just catch up on some sleep, I thought”.