My attempt at a little fictional drama. All names, places, times, events, locations, proper nouns, personality disorders, situations and species, have been changed to protect the guilty… or is it the innocent.
It was 2:00 am when Nehpets Renraw walked out of Prospect Street Tavern having just emptied his wallet of every last penny in his pockets. He shouldn’t have been blowing any cash in a bar having just twelve hours earlier walked away from an eighteen year stable career that had provided him with a great income, but during the last few years, had provided him with little personal creative satisfaction. A few drinks though, was his reward for finally having the balls to make a change and try to make a living writing, even though it was a rash decision he had made with little forethought. He was just done wasting time. “I’ve only got one life”, he had said to himself, “and I’m not going to waste it sitting at this fucking desk.” He had gathered up his personal belongings and walked in and gave his resignation to a shocked boss.
Nehpets had always wanted to be a writer. He knew an unusually weird name like Nehpets Renraw would look great on the front cover of a best selling novel. But as a young man, life and the need for a stable job with a decent income had quickly gotten in the way of any creative pursuits. Now, eighteen years later he found himself, walking drunk out of a bar, unemployed and with no plan for the future, other than continuing to write a modestly successful blog that he had been working on for the last six months. He certainly didn’t have any clue how he would explain this to his wife and kids in the morning.
“Well, here’s to a new start” he mumbled under his booze soaked breath as he stepped onto the cobblestone sidewalks that traversed his neighborhood. A slight drizzle fell from the sky and he felt it appropriate as if somehow it was cleansing him of the doubts and fearfulness he felt deep down inside. Sure, he was finally free, but he also knew the odds were slim of realistically making a living as a writer. He had no experience other than this personal blog he wrote, an idea that had started as just a place to keep some thoughts about his life, but had quickly developed into a project that he would focus on throughout each day. He had named it The Prospect Street Chronicles, after the name of the street he lived on, and because he wanted to share with readers what his life in the city was like with his family and his animals, four cats, a miniature poodle and the two Bengal Tigers they had adopted from a local zoo. The response from his readers had been so positive and encouraging with comments such as;
“You always make me laugh and smile buddy.”
“Holy Hell! Hands down, the best post of the day…I think I just wet my pants.”
“I could hardly speak because I was laughing so hard! “
“That’s fucking hysterical!!”
“I hope you get this published.”
“You are very talented.”
It was all very narcissistic and somewhere down deep inside Nehpets’ heart he had begun to feel like he might just have the skills to finally make a go of being a writer.
Prospect Street Tavern was one of those local bars that seemed to attract the hardcore, down and out drunks, the people whose lives had somewhere along the line taken a wrong turn. It was a place where it was okay to sit alone at the old intricately carved oak bar and not feel like people were judging you for getting smashed by yourself. Although it had a reputation as a Bowery style bar that attracted some riff-raff and homeless types, Nehpets liked to hang out there because he knew the bartenders by name and somehow the place made him feel at home, comfortable even, as if he had been coming there for years. He talked with Frankie, the bartender on duty in the evenings and told him about the life changing decision he had just made and Frankie served him a couple of shots on the house. As on previous visits, Frankie mostly just stood behind the bar and listened to Nehpets talk about his blog, and the comments people had left. Comments such as;
“Outrageously funny. Bravo.”
“Dude…you crack me up!!”
“You make the reader think, “I’d like to have a beer with this guy.”
“Man, that was awesome…what a great read! “
“What a fun post!”
“So funny! I cracked some chuckles.”
“I am officially convinced now that you must be smoking weed?!?”
Bartenders have bigger responsibilities than just serving drinks, one of which is to be a good listener and Frankie always performed that part of his job well. “We’ll see you around” Frankie said as Nehpets left for the night.
Nehpets headed down Prospect Street on foot towards the apartment. The neighborhood was always eerily quiet at 2:00 am when state laws required the bars to close. For a brief moment, as he walked, he felt a pang of nausea and he couldn’t be sure if it was from too much alcohol or from the pit in his stomach that maybe he had made a mistake leaving his job. As he walked past the old brick buildings that hovered over the sidewalk with their front steps jutting out and their iron railings coated in peeling paint, he thought the neighborhood looked old and worn, as if time had somehow passed him by in the short time he had spent at the tavern. Had he made the right decision, he questioned himself over and over again? He recounted the conversation he’d had with his boss, and how his boss had continually questioned him on the merits of his actions. “I know what I’m doing” Nehpets had said, “I know what I am doing” and he wondered if he could write a blog post about this conversation that would generate lots of comments.
Roughly twenty minutes later, Nehpets had managed to stumble his way back to the apartment at 1211 Prospect Street. The red entry door to the apartment building was always what made him remember. When he and his family had lived there, the door had been a beautiful shade of dark green that contrasted sharply with the buildings century old brick façade. He didn’t remember when it had changed, but now the door was red, and seeing it every night would temporarily snap him out of his drunken trance. He wondered how many times he had walked this route after leaving Prospect Street Tavern, recounting that fateful day when he had left his stable job to become a writer, a decision that had failed miserably and never earned him a cent. Had he really lost everything because a few loyal readers had left encouraging comments on a blog? Comments such as;
“Brilliant, just brilliant! Love it… “
“Really funny blog.”
“Feel free to whine, complain and share things that will not cause us to wet our pants and snort coffee out of our noses.”
“This had me rolling in the aisles!”
“Hahaha…. this is the funniest blog I have come across. “
“PUBLISH THIS BOOK. “
“LOL x 1000”
Had it really been twelve years since his wife had taken the kids, the four cats, the miniature poodle and the two Bengal Tigers and left him drunk, penniless and homeless so they could find a more stable life somewhere else? Had his mind really deteriorated into a chaotic mass of mental illness and delusional thoughts because of a silly blog and a failed writing career?
Nehpets stared for a moment at the red door to 1211 Prospect Street. As happened every night, he thought about what a funny and entertaining blog post his life would make and how many great comments it would generate. Perhaps comments such as;
“I friggin’ love your dialogues. And I’m painfully sober AND this is hilarious.”
“I can’t stop giggling.”
“What a beautiful post.”
“Dude, you are fucking funny! I’m so glad to have found you.”
“Such an interesting post!”
“I cracked up all through your post. Hysterical!”
“This post made me laugh out loud. . .seriously, not lol, but actually laugh out loud.”
But computers, blackberries and smart phones had long since disappeared from his life. A few tears dripped from his eyes and he wiped them with his dirty, tattered sleeve. He wondered who might live in the old apartment now, and whether they ever noticed the homeless guy that walked by their door every night and if they knew what a great blogger he had been years ago. But he knew he better get on his way, to find a doorway or park bench where he could get some sleep and dream of all the great comments he used to get on his blog. Tomorrow would be another day, panhandling money on the streets. He usually could collect twenty to thirty dollars a day from the tourists and working folks that strolled around the neighborhood. Not enough money to purchase the equipment to get his blog started again, but just enough to buy some booze at Prospect Street Tavern and talk to Frankie for another night about all those great comments….