Taking It In
The music was loud, the room was covered in a deep hue of red light, and for him everything was a blur. The empty table he had stumbled away from was covered in cranberry-hued vodka, some of which had dripped onto the seats and floor; he had almost slipped in it on his way over to the bar. And now he was at the bar. He grasped onto the counter, his cup slapping onto the glass counter. He felt hungry. He didn’t know if he felt sick. He looked down at the cup, fascinated by the stylized bat inked onto the hard plastic. His eyes stumbled to the counter. He noticed it was made up of small glass cubes, and he stared at the random little patterns of clear and dark cubes running across the surface as his fingers rubbed over the smooth surfaces and grooves where the cubes met. A man nudged him on the shoulder.
“Hey man,” the guy shouted, “am I in your way?”
Was he? No, he wasn’t. Just trying to get a new drink.
The man edged away a few feet.
He remembered that he spilled a drink. He figured he should clean it up. He looked up at the bartenders mixing drinks back and forth across the bar. One of them had massive biceps. One of them didn’t. One of them with a rag tossed over his shoulder walked up to him and nodded. He asked for the rag. A friend of his had spilled over at the bar, he said. The bartender slung the rag onto the counter.
When he got back to the table, he found it was already wiped clean. He wasn’t sure how. He felt dizzy. He sat down, slapping his cup onto the table. He didn’t mean to slap it down, and it upset him that he did. He gripped the cup tight, then loosened. Maybe he’d get another drink.
He stared at a few women dancing in a miniature lightshow, half a bar away. He watched the neon green and purple and blue dance across them, across the thick and omnipresent red. He saw a face he recognized. Krista was her name. He tried talking to her once, when he was drunk. It didn’t end well.
A large man whom he recognized as one of the bouncers ambled drunkenly into the dance floor, drink in hand. The man stumbled around in the middle of the pack, spilling his drink on one of the women, then stared at her, confused, as she frantically wiped at her top. Krista intervened, giving the man a big hug and leading him over to a booth. The woman he had spilled a drink on went to the bathroom with one of her friends, and Krista brought over a bowl of popcorn for the man to munch on. A few minutes later, the man was passed out on the booth and his roommate was called in to lead him away.
It was all an abstraction, and watching it tired him. He felt like he was watching this from ten feet in the air. He felt like he was miles away, sitting upright in his bed. He felt like he didn’t exist right now. He lifted his cup to sip at his vodka and cranberry, then remembered that he didn’t have any. Maybe he’d get another drink. Maybe he’d just get water. Maybe he’d just leave.
The colors and women and lights danced around the room for a while longer, and then it was closing time. Things went white, then black. It was all a blur for him.