Against Musette’s wishes, I leave the apartment, and head towards the subway where I buy a ticket and descend underground. While waiting for the train, I roll the awareness around in my mind that I am heading into battle, literally a boss battle, a New York test. The train arrives, and I board it. It takes me to Metropolitan/Lorimer where I transfer onto the L which takes me the rest of the way, into Bushwick.

I exit to the sound of music emanating onto the street from the store. It is a little after ten. We are usually closed by now, but the gate is still up. There are people inside. More than I expected. I am greeted at the door by Linda, who immediately introduces me to a couple. It is a man and a woman. The woman says that I look scared.

I laugh and brush past the couple, into the store. There is no sign of Elektra, but one of my old coworkers, whom I met only once before he quit, is there. He is sitting in one of a few lawn chairs that have been set up. I take the seat next to him.

My boss, Ulric, is behind the counter. He tells Linda to get me a glass of apple pie moonshine, which he made himself. I am warned that it is stronger than it seems. Linda is talking with her friends, and doesn’t respond immediately. Ulric says to her, are you going to host or are you going to coast, which makes her stop talking and go to the cooler, where she pours me a glass of the moonshine.

One of her friends is upset by this. He audibly reacts with a statement of disgust which Ulric doesn’t respond to.    

It rubs me the wrong way too, but I don’t make any noticeable response. This is my boss we’re talking about, and I’m used to this kind of behavior from him. I don’t know which Star Wars character he is within my force filled universe, but I sense the dark side within him, even though he proclaims to possess so much light.

He doesn’t seem to have read anything of mine though, which is relieving. There seems to be no new conflictual weight between us. I don’t let my guard down though yet. I mean, I never let my guard down around him, but there wasn’t any added bitterness to his offering me his moonshine. I figure he might be reserving his attack on me for once I’m good and vulnerably stoned. It’s what I would do if I were him.

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