His shadow mocked him.
Sure, the sun mocked him most of the time during the day in Denver, but his shadow decided to join in on the action. His shadow did not just remind him that it was ninety degrees Fahrenheit with 8% humidity like the sun did; nah, his shadow didn’t care for that shit. His shadow wanted to fuck with him good. His shadow became twisted somewhere along the way. Maybe too many beers and not enough love somewhere in Texas, or maybe it was just that way all the time, twisted and bent for no particular reason.
If it was noon, his shadow would stretch way the hell out to the right like it was five P.M. If it were five or six in the evening his shadow would creep right up under him all tight like it was lunch time. His shadow just did not give a fuck. His shadow did not care. His shadow was more nihilistic than any 1970s smacked out New York punk living on 53rd and 3rd.
At first he did not realize that his shadow was fucking with him. He would walk through the day not noticing, oblivious to his shadow’s shenanigans. Then, after awhile he started feeling that something was off, but he did not quite get what. He just carried on with his life.
This went on for a while, then one day he went to “It’s Just Lunch.” His date was a high-talking vocal fry woman from some eastern New Jersey shit-hole suburb. As they were chatting and eating on the patio of the Squire Lounge she said, “oh my gawd like…yer shaaaaaadow is all liiiiiike not liiiiiike miiiiiiiine!” He just looked at her while he masticated his fish sandwich thinking to himself that she was probably just another moron, too bad, a pretty face, yes, but a pretty face who probably went to Duke or some other shitty party school and who majored in servicing their cheating basketball team or some such shit. He dropped his napkin and bent down to retrieve it when he noticed that indeed his shadow had crept over to the left while the vocal fry lady’s shadow was right under her as a normal 12 noon shadow should be. He just swallowed his fish bite and said, “it must be the wind or some something.” She “goes,” “okaaaay” and begins yammering on about some reality show that he would never see. He quickly downed his Jim Beam and water, paid the bill and bolted, his shot at pretty vocal fry ass be damned.
He rode his fixie to City Park — to his one refuge amongst the goose poop, a park bench tucked out of the way by the lake. As he was sitting on a bench watching a rat chew on a goose carcass Smokie the local vagrant rolled up on his scooter, guitar strapped to his back. He wondered to himself how that dude was still alive — living on the streets and doing bad coke all the time. Smokie asks him for $20. Smokie had stopped trying to scam money out him by playing that one old blues tune over and over again a long time ago, so he would just ask for cash. He told Smokie to go pound pavement elsewhere as he had bigger fish to fry. He mumbled something about shadows and girls as Smokie just smiled like he understood what he was talking about. “What the fuck”, he thought to himself, “savants are ruining the god damned country, or is every third person a fucking savant?” “Whatever, fucking commie savants” he mumbled to himself as he jumped on his bike and rode away from the park. He would not stop by Larimer Lounge tonight or go to one of the skateparks littering the landscape of his town. He would just head home with his fucked up shadow.
As he rode home with his fucked up, wrong side shadow, it started messing with his head. He would look down and his shadow would be on the right, then all of a sudden it would be on the left. As he pulled up Market street the sun was setting and his shadow was hiding from him, nowhere to be seen. He gets off his bike to lock it up and looks down in time to see his shadow flip him off as obnoxious laughter rumbles through the air. “Gotta get more sleep and lay off that legal weed”, he thinks to himself while heading up the stairs to his place as his shadow pockets the Bowie knife it lifted from Smokie earlier and follows him into his apartment.
I wrote this clunky story at a bar called Fenix on Isla Mujeres, Mexico while sipping Indio beers and enjoying a beautiful beach view and a nice cooling breeze off the Caribbean. One day I might hone this craft. But, this is where I am now. Story title copped from Michael D. of the great Denver band Omens who I am playing with right now.