#420: Land of Sky-Blue Waters

January 2nd, 2015

A blue-gold can of Hamm’s Premium exploded in foam against the wall.

One of the men on the Clark/Lake Blue Line platform had whipped it through the closing train car doors at the last possible moment before they shut entirely. It was impressive timing undercut by the doors immediately re-opening.

The old black street person and the young white college kid stared at the open doors and the mess of foam and domestic pale lager one of them had created.

They had been friends the moment before. They had danced together on the seats as the white college kid’s white college friends danced and swigged from bottles and heaved balloons and yelled “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” in the aisles.

The party had taken over the front third of the car and adopted an old black street person. The young white college kid he now stood on the platform with had been his biggest pal at the party.

“I’m in love with a stripper!” they had sung together standing on the seats, arm in arm, chugging tall boys of Icehouse.

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!” a drunker college student had yelled as he stumbled through the car with a bundle of balloons.

There had been women there and men, all young and all white and all reeking of that certain type of privilege that still thinks it’s cool.

These were not skimpy-clad sorority girls or pop-collared bros. These were hipsters in training, skinny music dudes and burly lumbersexuals with well-trimmed beards. Well-coiffed women with long coats and perfect makeup.

They had sung and danced and pushed each other, drunk as skunks, bellowing T-Pain’s ode to stripper love with a real live street person.

The front third of the car was a mess of beer cans, booze bottles and popped balloons when they piled out at Clark/Lake. The coiffed women and lumbersexuals pushed out of the car, a stumbly conga line of laughing drunks holding each other up to get to the next party.

The old man followed.

On the platform, his greatest pal at the party stopped and saw the old man, no longer a fellow partier, but now an old black street person who wanted to keep hanging with the young white college kids.

A Hamm’s can heaved through the closing doors, exploding on the far wall. I don’t know which of the men threw it.

The doors re-opened and the two men stood staring at the mess they had created. Then they turned and looked at each other.

The doors closed and the train pulled away, leaving the two men on the platform blinking at each other, unsure of what to do.

Comment on this story

Read about a time I did that

What's this?

You are currently reading #420: Land of Sky-Blue Waters by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • -30-