Chapter 1

He sits at the table by himself holding a glass of soda. It’s mostly water at this point the ice having mostly melted. All the people he came with have long gone out to the dance floor. Despite his best efforts he cannot understand the point of it. Music so loud you can’t hear anything. Flashing lights and sparkling disco balls that blind him. The awkward movements, being bunched up in such a small space with so many people all bouncing off each other. Droplets of sweat flying everywhere combined with the musty stench of body odor. There is a thickness and heavy weight to the air.

Intoxicated idiots drowning out the misery of their lives with alcohol and loud music (if these noises can be called such a thing). They have slogged through there week and trudged along through their 9 to 5 jobs all for this. They beg and pray for the weekend to come as if it was their salvation. It hardly seems worth it. And yet they all appear happy. He tried to share in that happiness but happiness based on ignorance and drunkenness is not happiness.
Another attempt at being social and another failure. He wonders if he is more disappointed in his failure to fit in or for believing them that this might be enjoyable. All that constant badgering from them about needing to go out that he actually started to believe them. At least this will keep them from bugging for some time and now his curiosity can rest in peace knowing that he wasn’t missing anything.

He looks at his watch and figures he can probably leave at this point without anyone noticing or making a fuss. He makes his way through the tables and past the dance floor. A couple stumbles into him. The man turns to him and angrily says something that he cannot hear through the loud music. A rage begins to rise within him but he merely makes a fist and continues on his way. No use in drawing attention. As he walks his shoes stick to the floor from all the spilled drinks. Perhaps this is the universe’s attempt to keep him there.
Finally he makes his way outside. The air feels thinner and he feels as if he can finally breathe. Still he feels certain sludge on himself as if that place clings to him. He can still smell it. His shoes still stick to the ground.
Even as he makes his way home something still hangs heavy on him. A strange feeling of guilt and disgust for having taken part in such an event hangs over him. As if he had committed a crime for taking part in such an event. To make matters worse time seems to drag as he makes his way home. He begins to fear that he will never make it and he will be dragged back to that place as a punishment for the lost hours.

Despite the hour there were still quite a few people out. They stumble and yell their way through the streets. A man and a woman in the doorway of a building slobber over each other. Would they be able to remember enough of what they did to regret it in the morning he asks himself? Having lost focus he walks to close to a drunk man. The man says some incoherent garbage. He speeds up knowing that the man can barely stand.

The number of street lights begins to diminish. The darkened streets are a sign that he is finally getting close. He makes it to his door. Fumbling through his pockets he looks for his keys. A momentary panic that he may have lost his keys quickly evaporates as he hears the jingle in his pocket. He uses the little light he can afford to look through his keys until he finds the right one.
Stepping through the door the air feels even lighter. Yet he cannot shake the feeling of guilt and disgust. It hangs over his body like a muggy sludge. He feels the stench from that place dragging him down. This feeling is compounded with a sudden rush of exhaustion. Slowly he trudges towards bed. He has only enough energy to take off his shoes and falls into bed.

He closes his eyes hoping that he will wake up and this was just a dream but it isn’t so. Time passes and despite his exhaustion nothing happens. He keeps his eyes close. Perhaps not being able to sleep is his punishment for wasting time. Turning on his back he opens his eyes looking straight at the ceiling. There isn’t much change in the darkness. There will be no sleep tonight.

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