The night sky above Alyosha was filled with only a handful of noticeable stars. Such a small amount didn’t hold his attention longer than the time needed for lighting a cigarette. His next disappointing viewpoint were his own two feet mimicking each other as he walked down the side-walk. Soon his frustration at the present visible entertainment came booming out of his lungs, “What moron would stare at his shoes as he walks? Is it the pavement or the feet, what does the looker look at?” In a much more hushed voice he added, “I’ll ask the next time I see an idiot staring at his shoes while he walks, the person walking should be watching which direction they are going!” He stopped abruptly but continued his vocal discord even quieter now. Perhaps this person I want to ask about vantage points while walking, would have the kindness to ask me why I’m talking aloud?” Turning towards the storefront window of the ‘Gap’, he sighed at his distorted mirror image. The second Alyosha staring dully back at himself. Stepping closer towards the thick plate-glass to inspect the elements of his face that weren’t up to his preference. He mumbled about needing a shave, and to pluck hairs from his brow, and if he would need Botox in the future? His list continued until the hot ember of his cigarette started to sear the inside of his index finger. “Goddamn it!” Alexie, cursed the god he had no belief in, which got him laughing. “Why do I care if an imaginary God damns anything?” His thoughts on the philosophy of curse words and their origins came to an abrupt halt. Ivan’s RX-8 drove past him. Bewildered at seeing this particular car and it not having a human being behind the steering wheel, caused his eyes to widened and his jaw to give slack while he watched. The car then put on its turn signal and took a left turn at the next intersection. Having just witnessed an impossibility. He uttered one word of his previous thought, “…Idioms.” As if someone else had said the word, he used his hand to swat away the imaginary person and their confusing one word statement as he took sprint in pursuit of the car.
While attempting to run and scourer his pockets simultaneously resulting in an ambidextrous failure. Alyosha’s pocket’s contents goes flying in multiple directions. His cellphone was what he was desperately trying to find without slowing his race towards the car. He brought his pack of cigarettes to ear level before noticing it was the wrong weight and dimensions. Seeing a car drive without a person operating it, was more than enough to put Alexie into a hysteria. He had fumbled his action movie sequence that should have been him running at mach speeds while at the same time dialing his brother to report the apparition. Instead it was him fumbling a few feet, then turning around to collect all the things that had been flung from his pants. While he was on his knees collecting his chap-stick, cellphone, money-clip, identification and credit cards, pretty much everything he had in his pockets. He couldn’t help but think, maybe he had done such a blunder because he didn’t want to catch up to a driver-less car? While that thought crept behind his eyes, his phone began to illuminate and vibrate against the pavement making an awful noise. He had most of his possessions back to their original thigh-warmed cotton homes. He stood and thought it best to calmly walk while he answered his phone, he wasn’t an action movie hero after all.
“Alexie!, Where are you? I’ve been trying-” As usual Alyosha cut Ivan’s speech short.
“You won’t believe this! I just saw your car!”
“Um… That’s great Alexie, where are you?” Ivan’s voice changed from high-speed concern to sluggish confusion.
“It was driving down the street and then took a left! I’m chasing it right now!”
“Alexie, calm down and stop doing whatever drug you have in your hand. You and I both know my ex-wife got ownership of the car in the divorce, she even had to report it stolen to find it. Because if you remember, I was covering your ass. I had temporarily let my assistant barrow it after you wrecked her car, does any of this ring a bell?” Alexie’s snort of derision wasn’t intended to aggravate Ivan anymore than he already was, but recalling the situation brought a nefarious smile to his face. Hearing the truth about how much of an asshole he was and by comparison making Ivan out to be a saint. It had its own unique humor to Alyosha.
“Nevermind all that! I saw your car driving, but nobody was behind the wheel!”
“Quit chasing my ex-wife driving her own property. You probably just didn’t notice her.”
“I’m not going to argue with you about this, I know what I saw! I’m just going to turn this corner and see where the car went and who was driving it. If it’s your ex-wife, I’ll steer clear of her and forget the whole thing.” Ivan was shaking his head already dreading what would happen next when Alyosha continued his side of the conversation.
“There it is! I see it! It’s parked at that shitty Irish pub we never go to.”
“I’ll admit it’s strange that she would be there at this time of the night but it doesn’t concern you, just let it go Alexie, don’t make a scene.”
The dial tone was the only reply Ivan received.
Alyosha attempted to walk towards the car with the intent of ownership. As each step brought him closer his mind was recycling some bullshit psychology from either the classes he had taken in college or maybe he had picked up on this trick from one of those popular crime forensics television shows. He could almost hear the droning of the narrator or teacher saying, “When people pretend an item is their’s, in their mind it is. Thus the onlookers will believe that whatever item in question needs no questioning.” Alyosha rolled his eyes at himself for putting so much thought into walking up to a car and trying to open the door. The pub’s single lamp dimly lit the parking area. The brackish yellow-washed out glow barely provided visibility for its drunken patrons to find their own cars. The owner of this dive bar was probably such a sleazily individual he wanted people to leave their cars so he could break into them after putting the proper owners in cabs for a safe ride home. Alyosha couldn’t help but think of what a good scam it would be to steal from your customers and blame it on street hoodlums. All while knowing they would be asleep and hung over for the next day until they even thought of retrieving their car. Shaking his head, Alexie realized he was being too generous and creative to the owner of this pub. He took note that he needed to start writing again. Without an artistic release he’ll paint the world with more ingenuity than anyone deserves and then he’ll start to believe or have hope in his own creations instead of seeing them for what they really were. By this time Alyosha realized he was only a few feet away from being at the drivers side door. Chanting pointlessly to himself, “I own this car. I own this car.”
“ruoy dlrow gnidne
Alexie was utterly confused by the backwards writing. How was it written on such a warm night? Why was it there? Who the fuck wrote whatever it said? He took out his smart phone and took a quick picture, so he could examine it more intently later. He was trying to read the streaky finger-painting scribble when he noticed a couple leaving the pub and heading straight towards him, or more likely their car that was parked probably right beside him. Quietly inside his mind, he repeated his mantra. “I own this foggy “redrum”, RX-8 scary piece of shit!” He put his hand on the door handle hoping that it would open allowing him safety from the passerbyes. When he was denied access he pretended to be locking the car door and then started his walk to the pub. The car wasn’t going anywhere, he could see nobody was inside and if there were a driver he or she would be inside. He took notice of all the other clunkers in the lot, none of them would make the same sound as the RX-8’s rotary two-cylinder engine. Alexie had grown quite fond of that engine’s sound, especially putting its manufacturers specifications to the brink of destruction knowing it wasn’t his problem if it needed repairs. He loved borrowing/stealing that car. He wished Ivan still owned it. Realizing a facial expression of loss was more than appropriate for a place like this, he wore his frown proudly walking into the dreary establishment.
Alyosha sat himself atop a bar stool closest from the entrance. He used his knuckles to knock on the sticky wooden bar signaling for the bartenders attention. The only person behind the bar was a fat guy wearing a thick beard. He didn’t look Irish, but Alyosha couldn’t imagine anyone other than the owner willing to work such late hours. The obese man was leaning against the bar not even pretending to wipe anything clean. But he did give notice to Alyosha’s universal single for a drink, which started his humbly slow approach. While the beast of a man walked slowly towards him, Alexie took note of the lack of customers. Only 3 people, unless there was someone inside the bathroom. Which given the level of grime and overall lack of cleanliness, there very well could have been a person puking his or her guts out, not only from the abuse of alcohol but from the bacteria growing on them from sitting in this shit hole.
“The name’s Dave. What can I get fer ya’?” Alexie quickly noticed he spoke with a rugged Irish accent, either taking the theme of the bar to very unexpected level of authenticity, or the guy was actually from Ireland. His mind spun the idea that maybe the accent was fake and a ploy to make people ask if he was really from Ireland and was this a real Irish pub? Alyosha let the idea dissipate, he wasn’t here to get information about the bartenders background, he was to stay focused on the car and who, if anyone drove it here.
“I’ll have a double vodka tonic. In a short… with extra ice and forget the garnish.” The drink he always ordered when expecting to get drunk. Dave was staring at Alyosha as if he had spoken in Greek. It felt like Dave was trying to burn holes into Alexie’s head. His paranoia started pumping through his veins. All the questions in his head started darting for his mouth. What he was doing? Why he was there? Who or what he was chasing? Luckily none of these maniac thoughts came through his teeth. Alyosha felt a bead of sweat start to roll down his forehead. All the while never taking his eyes from Dave’s. It was a staring match, or at least inside Alexie’s mind it had become a staring match, to the death maybe. What the hell was going on?
“You want a specific vodka don’t ‘cha? I figure a guy like you, who’s repeated that drink order too many times, probably has a particular flavor… well?” Alyosha let out what was probably a very confusing sigh to the bartender. Then even a slight chuckle to himself while saying, “Of course, of course. Belvedere. If you have it?” While Dave the fat-maybe-real-Irish bartender had his back turned, Alyosha took a moment to really take notice of the people who were in here. Near the billiards tables were what looked to be a couple or maybe they were just old friends who like to touch each other more than regular people. The next (if nobody came out of the bathroom) and last person was at the extreme opposite end of the bar and was so old, he may have come here to have his final drink before dying. Barely audible Alexie unintentionally said, “Well…fuck.” Dave turned around and placed the slightly fizzy drink in front of Alyosha, but keeping his hand on the glass he asked in a strange sing-song voice, “Don’t tell me yer actin’ the maggot?” Alyosha knew his facial expression of confusion would be better understood than any word in his verbal dictionary. Slowly Alexie repeated the words as accurately as he could, “Acting… The maggot? I’m sorry, I don’t know what that means?” With his hand still firmly holding the 14 dollar drink. Dave explained, “It means. You have the money to pay? Don’t ya’?” Alyosha started to laugh at the idea that someone would think he didn’t have the money to pay for his own drinks. “Haha. Of course. I certainly do have the money to pay.” While putting his hand into his pocket to produce funds in the forms of cash and credit card. He asked, “Where does that expression come from? I’m obviously unfamiliar with it.” Dave smiled showing his grotesquely yellow teeth. “It’s from Ireland of course.” That answered Alexie’s previous inclination of Dave’s authenticity. After paying for the drink in cash and leaving a 6 dollar tip. He was too uncomfortable to communicate any more with the bartender and took it upon himself to check the bathroom in the off-chance someone was hiding in there while he was being verbally berated. It only took him 20 paces before he opened the door and saw nobody was in the bathroom and him being here at the pub had become very uncomfortable and a waste of time.
Alyosha headed straight for the front door with no intention of ever taking a sip of his drink. As soon as his hand was pressed to the door with all intent of leaving. Dave’s now unnerving voice asked loudly, “Why ain’t ya’ gonna have yer drink?” Alyosha having run out of patience with this bothersome bartender, he decided it was time to return to his sardonic self. The the door already becoming ajar and his escape inevitable, Alyosha said, “Sir, I wouldn’t piss in this establishment, much less drink from a glass that probably hasn’t ever been exposed to the substance called soap.” The door was wide open and the outside air was very welcomed to Alyosha’s nostrils. In the background he heard what he could only imagine was laughter from all the customers. He spun in the direction of the parking lot, ready to do some more recon on the vehicle and its bizarre fog finger-paintings. It didn’t take Alexie two steps before noticing the silver car was missing.
He knew running to where it was previously parked wouldn’t do any good. As miraculously as it appeared it had disappeared. Disappointment and confusion were running rampant within Alexie’s mind. He knew he would have heard that engine start if it did, he was starting to wonder if he had ever seen it? He reached for his cellphone and tapped on the screen until he came to the photo he had taken of the backwards writing. Photo evidence he wasn’t loosing his mind. Inserting the phone back into his pocket he started his walk back to ‘Stretching Souls Yoga Studio’. Maybe Ivan or Clarissa if she was still there could make sense of this insanity. If anyone could it would be those two, they were seeing shadow demons for God’s sake.