Let’s go backwards tonight. We’ll start with now, and see if I can move backward faster than time moves forward. If it’s a tie, you will be stuck reading about the same moment until my fingers fail.
Now: Listening to a cover of “I’m in Love with a German Film Star” by Linoleum at volumes that may not be healthy. This is good. Got the nice headphones on, so the neighbors are safe. I went looking for the original, a spacy, ethereal bit from around 1980, but this cover does justice.
Just as it was starting, Soup Boy withdrew his head and closed the door to my room. He had just come back from a quest to a bar/archery range. Yes, you read that right. Alcohol and deadly weapons. Of course it is not their policy to put the bows and arrows into the hands of dangerously drunk people. (I wasn’t there, mind you, but someone I knew once went there, and while they were going through the formalities he sat down and missed the chair, and after reassurances from his comrades the manager put a lethal weapon in his hands. Tonight, however, Soup Boy reported that the archery range was closed (hours are notoriously erratic there), so they were shooting pool instead.
I got a response back from fuego – he was home. We fired up Skype and discovered our favorite three words. He sent me a really cool tune called “Belladonna”. We unraveled bits of life and poked the decaying corpse of civilization with a stick. Or maybe I just complained that someone had consumed 2/3 of my hard-earned beers.
Soup Boy’s phone chimed on the sofa where it lay, to indicate it had received a text message. I unpacked my computer, plugged it in, and checked up on the ol’ media empire.
When I got home tonight, the place was empty. I wondered where everyone had gone, so I sent a message to Soup Boy and fuego.
I got off the metro just a little after midnight, and knowing that my beer supply at home was severely compromised, I turned to a haven I have not sought in a long time – Hanka’s Herna Snack Bar. The door was locked. It seems the place closes at midnight on Sundays. There were still people inside, and I might be mistaken, but the bartender may even have seen me and headed for the door as I turned my feet up the street. It’s hard to see into the place. I tromped toward home; the only other bar I knew was open between me and the domocile was a glitzy sports bar that is not the kind of place you sit alone with only your pivo for company and mutter to yourself in a vaguely insane manner. I decided to head home.
After Belladonna got off the metro at JzP and the doors to the train slid shut, I wondered if I should have offered to walk her home. Prague is a pretty safe town, but she had definitely wanted me to ride with her on the metro.
The three of us retired to a nearby café/club to discuss the movie and to just hang out. It was a pleasant time; the caffeine from the tea I drank combining well with the beer to make me jolly and chatty. Belladonna continued to try to hide the hole in her sweater, but I never did get the chance to suggest duct tape. Neither was in a position to stay out late, which was OK by me, although the conversation was pleasant. We spent a lot of time comparing cultures, and I would smile and nod as they discussed various med school classes. I was disappointed to learn that Firenze intended to return to El Salvador – Europe’s just not for her. I tried to talk her into running away to Shanghai with me. I don’t think she thought I was serious. I got a message from fuego saying he was at my place and had drunk some of my beer.
We got out of the movie and spent a moment looking at each other, wondering, what the hell was that?. I think the reasons we disliked the movie were not all the same, but the overall we agreed. Hostel blows. The movie starts with breasts and moves on to dismemberment; it is a movie that you would expect a group of fourteen-year-olds to write as they sit around a table at the pizzeria whacked out on Mountain Dew, each one trying to outdo the others: “You know what would be really, really sick…” All would laugh at the fingers-on-the-floor gag and then move on to the next shock-for-shock’s sake schlock. The writing was bad, the acting was poor, the editing was shit. There were points where the dancing and the music were so disconnected that the audience laughed. Continuity was a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t disaster.
One bit player put in a very good performance.
We settled into our seats while the ever-longer sequence of advertisements played. I am not exaggerating to say that movies here start twenty minutes after the projectors roll. Belladonna smelled good. I thought about the garlic soup and wondered if maybe I didn’t. She was fiddling with her sweater to conceal a hole in a not-too-embarassing area on her upper chest. I began to compose a duct-tape joke about it.
Firenze showed up and we bid farewell to Sophie. I gave Sophie a hard time because each time I’ve met her she’s left almost immediately.
I put away Kundera’s essays on the art of the novel when Belladonna and Sophie arrived. They sat down and I finished my Pilsner as we waited for Firenze. We talked about this and that, nothing earth-shattering. I reflected on my good fortune to be there, then, in a movie theatre lobby, sipping a beer, sharing conversation with two pretty and intelligent girls.
I think that is where I will begin the story for tonight.