Saturday, May 5, 2012

Moment Guy by Brandon Will


Drinking used to be something you did at night – shit, night used to be something you did at night, not this night-and-day-dribbling-all-up-in-each-other’s-business thing, drinking no longer an event in itself like when you weren’t legal yet. Was drinking more fun then? In memory maybe.

Not even eight, this newly-old routine: after-work drinks long ago enough to be mostly un-drunk again, trying to not have that tired end-of-drunk scowl on a crowded Friday-night-people-just-starting-to-go-out train. I just need a little nap man. Damnit lookit those kids acting like this train is only their train just for them, louder than the train screeching, so damn loud, laughing over each other in a round. How these people manage to ignore them, I don’t know. This woman across from me, nodding off, grocery bags dipping forward. That jar of sweet relish on tops gonna roll out, crash, splatter. She wouldn't clean it – that’s how it always is. Super rude. And this business guy next to me, tan jacket whore, just lookin’ out the window like none of this gets his attention.
One of the kids, white-kid-redhead-afro kid, keeps doing this dance, acting drunker than he is – I know that act – he and his friends, freshmen – tops – all excited because they’re drinking, its night IN THE CITY, and that's exciting. I get it. His little buddy dressed trying to look like some hot young actor trying to look like some cool old actor, Shia LeBouf channeling Steve McQueen.

Every lurch of the train echoes that hollow drunkenness, man. Those kids laughing, so obnoxiously, some in-joke one only they know, all us suckers just left to watch our window reflections. I should just be that guy who walks up to them, silently watch, wait for them to acknowledge me, the laughing stopping, wait until I have their full attention, sincerely say “hey, what’s funny? I’d like laughter in my life, too.” Now that’d be funny. I’d be a new in-joke for them, scowling dude on the train who was all “I want laughter in my life, too.” They’d make up scenarios for how sad my life is, make up this whole life for this character me, like me and Ray used to do, me with my frizzy white-kid brown afro, Ray’s clothes channeling an actor for the 70's – didn’t need Shai LaBink to be McQueen’s middle-man – making wildly elaborate scenarios for people we’d glimpse. Like one time this guy waiting for the bus, thirty-something guy, washed up looking, a real mess, wearing this green spring jacket a dad would wear, but it was winter, so was huddlin’ his shoulders up together to warm himself. And he had this little mustache. We couldn’t figure out how the hell he thought it looked good. And he kept looking both ways, jerking his head back and forth, like he’d just get on whichever bus came first. We kept getting flashes of his face. His eyes were all fuckin’ teary, but he had this little crazy smile. Looked truly happy, waiting for the bus in the cold with his loser jacket – didn’t make any fucking sense – and he kept shuffling his huge, silly lookin feet, kept lunging his knees forward a little, springing forward a bit, stopping himself. We figured from the looks of him that like, whenever waiting for the bus, he’d this crazy impulse. Every time. Like this voice in his head, that's really just his voice, saying very determinedly and a little bit scared and a little bit excited:

"This is…my moment, my moment, MY MOMENT!"
And then he pictures himself having this profoundly glorious moment, screaming "Whoa!" throwing himself in front of the bus. Sweet release upon impact, life knocked outta him in like a second…but in that second, he knew he’d feel such glory.

And our scenario just kept getting more elaborate, like this guy would like do this whenever he saw an open window without a screen in a high-rise, too, he’d think about this being his moment and picture walking to the window, stepping out, a huge orb of light coming to collect him, opening his arms to it, to his moment, Barry Manilow would start playing loud, coming from the light, “Ready to take a chaaaaaaance again…” And he’d ascend in his head in this orb of light to the heavens or something, I don’t fuckin know man, I don’t even know how we came up with that shit. Fuckin’ funny, man.

Ray, man. Ray back home, hundreds of miles away, Ray who I’ve always called Ray, soon someone’s gonna be calling him dad. When’s the last time we spoke, man?
I shift, pull out my phone, text him "This is my moment!"
Across from the kids being jackasses I’m all disheveled, rumpled suit, smell like booze, alone, laughing. I am moment guy to those kids. So unaware of how douchey they look, laughing about the dumbest shit, having the best fuckin time. I should just own it, be the creepster guy who gets all sincere, says “Cherish these times, they’re gone before you know it, kids. Hug each other, tell each other you love each other. Because ya do, and that’s beautiful, even though, like, in five years you’ll barely know each other. Won’t know what each other are doing day to day. But you’ll always know what you were like these days, know parts of each other no other friends any of you guys ever make in your adult lives will ever know.” Force them to hug. 

Then scream “This is my moment!” Run away real quick. Sit down, look at them weirdly sentimental. Nod wisely.
My phone buzzes. It’s Aleka: “Hey what are you doin tonight poopie?”
I’m textin her back, my phone buzzes again, this time it’s Ray: “Haha, random. It’s always moment guy’s moment, man.”

Brandon Will is – like his name implies – at once an action and a question. One time he made a ridiculously ambitious feature-length suburban epic, “Dadbot: The Movie.” Another time he was a Detroit store-front puppet theater troupe member, and also performed at bars with the punk-rock puppet show The Gepetto Files. Some other times he had pieces published in places like featherproof mini-books, Hair Trigger, and Knee-Jerk – where he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He’s told stories around Chicago at Orange Alert, Reading Under the Influence, The Rec Room, Essay Fiesta, Two With Water Rx Reading Series, 2nd Story, some other random places, and become a mascot at Quickies!. This fall he'll begin pursuing his MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the New School.

Street artist unknown.
Photo by Adam Lawrence

Bleached was the band of the summer last year and we still love listen to their breakthrough track "Think of You."

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