There is nothing out there. A few cars parked in the street. Some man walking his dog. Windows shut. Air-conditioners on. No one sitting on their front stoops. No hookers walking by. Night moving into day. Trash pick-up cruised down the alleys. There is nothing out there.
He could not sleep. Thoughts of old friends haunted him. Some dead. Others he’d fallen out of touch with. Or, they’d fallen out of touch with him.
The old man sat on the fire escape drinking his coffee and looking out at the streetlights up and down the street. Not many. Just a few. Strategically placed. He and his friends used to walk these streets when they were younger. In and out of bars. Midnight diners where cops mixed with transvestite whores and out of work actors. Drunks ordering beef Manhattans and omelets, or, stacks of pancakes. Junkies stealing sugar packets.
Jimmy finished school. Got married. Had a couple of kids. Last he’d heard the golden boy was living in West Chester.
Doug died of a heart attack. Never saw it coming they said. The old man hadn’t talked to him in years. Heard about it through the grape vine. Doug was his best man. A marriage which had vanished years ago. He always said she’d leave him.
Pete gave up on being an actor. Did a couple of bit parts in plays. Spent most of his time bartending and chasing women. The old man thought he moved out to San Francisco for a new scene. He wasn’t sure.
There were others. Frank, John, Mike. Had no idea of their whereabouts. This was not the same city. Things change. And, friends come into our lives and leave. Few stay. Very few stay.
The sun was coming up over the city. The old man went inside. Took his medications. And sat in his favorite chair. He took out a pen and note pad to scribble thoughts on. There is nothing out there, he wrote. There never was. What a wonderful waste of time.