he spit a husked sunflower shell through his pursed lips, standing out on the balcony, overlooking the industrialized city, its smokestacks careening from the ground like so many birthday candles, and whispered to himself with resolve, repeating the same phrase over and again while tapping his calloused fingers on the rusted railing.
no point now in continuing on, not after what he had learned the night before, in an addled haze, licking up scraps from the warehouse floor, the strobe lights casting his shadow in harsh relief.
she -- two towers of feet, legs, and knees -- standing in front and above him, her tears splashing down onto the grimy concrete floor, pooling into aimless rivers, mixing with the light to spray prismatic lines over the olive skin of the dogs that circled the dance floor, upper lips drawn skyward by tangible wire threads -- their sneers were as captivating as wasps trapped in an electron microscope's gaze.
coats lay on a table by the door. it was cold outside but the snow had not yet fallen.
in a moment's time his eyes travelled from the floor to the clock in a fish-eyed lens. choking back vomit and blood he stood and stumbled out the door to collapse sharply in the frost-covered lot across from a furniture store, began picking rocks from the ground and mixed them with chunks of enamel as he bit down again and again, always keeping perfect time with the music that invaded his skull, echoing in time with wave after wave of the oppressive music.