Key West, Saturday, Midnight. The main street was predictably clogged with revelers.
My attention was splintered by the multitude of merry distractions and I almost tripped over a month old chicken. It darted from the sidewalk to the gutter, frenzied, squeaking and lost. Its feathers were tones of grey and muddy browns. With rapid steps it zigzagged, bleating and panicked. I considered repatriating it but I could not see its flock. I pictured picking it up, and then, well exactly, and then what? I shook off the guilt and walked away.
From an alley came kids screaming and leaping, each equipped with laser swords and walkie-talkies. They barreled by in a cloud of noise and vanished around a corner.
A thin, long-haired man with a top hat played a guitar and sucked on a harmonica attached to a neck brace.
A suntanned man was using his cell phone to photograph a girl. Sh
e stood on the hood of a parked car and pulled up her mini-skirt, revealingly, “this is for you” she was saying to him before falling over backwards, to the ground.
Music thumped from everywhere, people strolled about carrying beer in clear plastic beakers.
Standing frozen and alone, on a wood crate, at a busy intersection, a green sequin Elvis impersonator, a study in calm amidst the chaos.
A lithe female in spandex and super-high-heeled shoes swished by, her muscular
rump high and solid, her torso tiny, all of her unreal looking.
It got late, maybe three in the morning and the streets were sticky with spilled beer. Herds of young men stumbled with arms around each others necks, sweating alcohol. Couples argued sloppily in doorways.
Close to home I saw the little chicken. It lay across the roots of a tree, on its side, crumpled sort of, panting. Not the fittest.