One Night at The Eclipse (Why Are You So Angry?)

“Night Life” by Steven Ostrowski

Our friend was spinning records at this new place
none of us had been to before called The Eclipse.
The Eclipse was in what used to be a run down
part of town where it was cheap to live and drink.
But that part of town had become trendy and not
so cheap anymore. From the outside, The Eclipse
looked like an old man dive, glass cubes forming
the front window with a mess of Christmas lights
behind them. Inside, it was not an old man dive—
my beer cost me about 3 times what it should’ve,
there were a lot of college-aged kids in there, and
almost immediately upon entering the place, I felt
this odd sensation as if I had entered some other
dimension, some place I definitely did not belong.

I saw Joe sitting at a table at the back of the bar—
he waved me on over and I joined him at his table
which was right under the makeshift second floor
of the place. Joe and I didn’t say much, just took in
the sights and sounds of the place. It became pretty
apparent to us that many people in the place were
on drugs of one kind or another, maybe a combo.

At some point a girl descended the staircase that
spit out directly across from me and Joe’s table
and the girl sort of hovered or flitted over to us
and put her hands on our table to steady herself.
She struggled to make a sentence, sputtering out
a partially-sensical string of noises that seemed to
ask Joe and I what we were doing there or how
we two knew each other. I explained to her that
we were poets and had just come from a reading.
“Imma poet,” our new friend told us, “My friends
say…that I’m a beat-neck.” This made her laugh.

Another girl floated down the staircase and over
to our table next to the beat-neck. Looking at her
beat-neck friend, she slurred, “What even are you
doing down here? Who are these guys anyway?”
It was at this point the newcomer turned to look in
the direction of Joe and she must have seen his aura
or something. Without Joe even saying anything to
her, the girl asked Joe, “Why are you so angry?”
And Joe replied sternly, “I’m not angry.” But she
wouldn’t accept it. She was certain Joe was angry.
And so she convinced her friend to join her out
on the back deck of the Eclipse, away from Joe
and his angry face. And so Joe and I sipped our
overpriced beers and listened to old soul songs
and I decided that I would enjoy myself there
at the mystical Eclipse as I would probably not
be returning any time in the foreseeable future.

By Scott Silsbe