the Kingsville Underground (KU)

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Fiction
Tags: ,

“Only now do I understand the lonely hero who alone had waged war against the fathomless, elemental boredom that strangled the city.” 

–Bruno Schulz, Tailors’ Dummies

The cold night came as a godsend. In the middle of a marathon like summer, the heat blazing at will, a gift from the venerable kings of the city was given. They had summoned the favor owed to them from the great horizon with the mighty form of an ancient past. Standing tall like spires into the heavens, the kings called out in one loud harmonious voice to the four winds, beckoning the North wind forth. And because the favor owed to them was long overdue, the cold night wind fell on the town with a sort of vengeance. The winds blew leaf and other debris into whirling and chaotic dirt devils, the trees danced at the behest of mighty gusts; so mighty in some places across the city that when blown against some wall or other such flat edifice, the leaves were said to form sinister faces. This is how the Third Epoch befell us: as a soothing gesture before the fall.

He had always wondered what it would be like to peer out of a second story window, strike up a match and light up a pipe of smoke. You know, to accentuate a point; to summon drama and emphasis from the act alone. He rarely had anything that important to say, however. Being from a small town is like that; all the moxie in the world, but with a chance for bravery that is always either too early or too late. And with the state of the city before the fall (sexual scandals among the university elite, embezzlement charges brought against several county employees, one member of the business community involved in stealing monies customers had paid her for the grave stones of their loved ones) you would think there would be a lot for a hero to do. But his story is not that kind of story. And as some would come to say: Yuvàl ain’t that kind of hero. The Second Epoch ended innocuously enough: a blind man walked into a bar.

Yuvàl entered the Kingsville Underground (KU), paid the cover charge, and sputtered over to the bar where he ordered his usual drink: straight Crown on the rocks. Unlike the other early birds that mooned about the room, he was still and observant. He would strike up a conversation at will to anyone that would listen. This time it was Mel, the bartender.

“Can you believe this,” he said, “of all the days to forget my damned overcoat, I pick the day a stringent norther rolls through.”

“Mr. Yu,” offered Mel, “it shouldn’t get that cold tonight.”

Already hip to the routine, she placed the drink before him clinking the glass with a spoon.

He moved his arm in a most methodical fashion, almost inching his way forward, toward the glass. When his hand had reached the vicinity of the drink, Mel would take his hand the rest of the way. Once in his grip, Yuvàl had no problems sipping from it.

He retorted: “Not that cold?! Little one, have you been outside in the last hour, it was cold enough for an old man like me walking over here and it will be even colder when I walk home after Last Call,” adding at the end of the sentence in his best Tony M, “let me tell ya!”

“Maybe you’re right,” she said, “I’ll see if I can’t maybe find something for you. Do you need help to your table?”

“Not at all madame, thank you. But I will have another one of these at the table,” he said shaking the ice about in the glass.

He continued.

“Is anyone here yet?”

“Sure are,” said Mel, “Dino and Dominick are over at the stage setting up.”

He turned right, toward the stage, and let out in loud vulgar death metal grunts: “Dominick the Devil, where art thou?!”

Even before he could catch his breath Dino interrupted, already walking toward the bar.

“What’s up Yuvi Hall?! Bout time you get here. Want a shot?! I’m buying!” he said as he placed his hand on Yuvàl’s shoulder.

You bet your ass I do,” he fired back, “especially if you’re buying.”

Hell yeah! Two Jager Bombs, and one for yourself, pretty lady.”

The three raised their shots in the air carefully taking the time to clink the glass in Yuvàl’s hand.

To the KU and all that come here”

While this was taking place, Dominick begrudgingly assembled his drum set. Though methodical, having every little piece already laid out across the stage floor and labeled, he appeared haphazard and hurried. He was sweating and you could easily see he wanted to finish the task as quickly as possible. His eyes cutting back and forth from the equipment on the floor to the half assembled facade of the drum set on the stage. He clearly was not cut out for this part, he was thin and ibis like. He much preferred the fine tuning of the drums: the sound of the tom toms to get just the right punch and tone or the angle of the cymbals to attain fluidity and balance with his, as the band would constantly tease him, suspiciously short arms.

As the glasses were emptied and placed on the bar, Dominick walked up slowly, full of intentionality. Peering at the three he asked in a calm stern voice, knowing full well the answer: “Did you bastards just take a fucking shot without me?!”

The question sent Mel and Dino scurrying for a hiding place; she behind the bar pretending to work, and he, pretending to chat amidst the others that were standing near by.

Yuvàl stood his ground.

Bout time you get your ass over here, you dirty beast!” he said imposingly.

I gotta set my shit up man!” countered Dominick.

A blind man could set that shit up faster!”

I’d like to see you try bitch!” he spat back.

Allowing the pretext to dwindle, he and Yuvàl began to laugh raucously.

Continuing in quite a different tone,

How you been, Dom?!”

Dominick took a step back, raised his tatted arms in hip hop fashion and said, butchering an infamous Biggie lyric: “Beats, Bitches and Dro – that’s all this Nigga know.”

You ain’t big or black motherfucker, now help me to my table.”

Once at the table, the two began to speak of still more introductory things. It was them that had hit it off in the few weeks since Yuvàl had begun to hang out at the KU.

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