The next evening I sat down to write. After Jimmy left I had fallen asleep in my easy chair still wearing my clothes and cradling the bottle. The skunk wine had spilled across my midsection, and soaked into my clothing and the fabric of the chair. I did not change before sitting at the keys, and the pungent odor of dried plonk drifted upwards in search of my nostrils. It found them.
The day, that shit had been hella hot. Santa Ana winds had blown over the mountains into town with their dry and invisible anger. I stared at the keys. They stared back. The odor drifted.
I slipped into my loafers and headed to the market for more wine. Manny’s was out of the question, for the time being. The other store was closer anyway.
As I rounded the corner of the school across from the house the setting sun blinded me with a heated sky of bright orange. As my eyes adjusted I saw a man in a wheelchair waiting at the bus stop a block ahead.
Santa Ana winds had blown over the mountains into town with their dry and invisible anger.
It happened so fast. From behind the bus stop shelter suddenly came a woman who swiftly grabbed this man by the hair and began slugging him in the face. I was headed for this. I squinted through the mystical, screaming sunset. Behind me I checked the street in case I had to cross.
It got worse. Before it got worse, which seemed like a long time because she was pounding him pretty good, but before it got worse I thought of Veronica. I shuffled ahead. I began thinking about the wine I was about to buy. Then I smelled my shirt. I wondered about the last time I had washed my hands. I asked myself if I loved my mother.
The beating continued. Others were closer and did nothing except take sides and cheer. I checked behind me on the street again to see if it was clear. Then the tide turned.
After a short exchange of fist and slap the man in the wheelchair managed to grab the woman’s hair. He pulled her across his chair, and was swinging her around like a prehistoric street fighter, punching and jabbing at her. I walked straight ahead.
She took the blows well. Finally she escaped his hold and swung her medium-sized, black duffel bag at his head. He ducked like a pro and she walked off.
“You fuckin’ psycho fuckin’ bitch!” he screamed.
“You fuckin’ motherfucker!” she screamed back.
“To you, fucking cunt!” he continued. “Have fun with fucking Steve!”
“Eat my ass,” she finished, huffing down the street.
He was still yelling at her, but I blocked it out and crossed the street. A man in a wheelchair and a woman with a duffel bag, gone. I thought about Veronica. I thought about my mission.
I got two gallons of wine at the store.