“Ethan my man, great job up there BUD-DAY!” Justin said as he sneaked up behind Ethan. He was clearly under the influence of a cocktail of some sort of drugs and—well, cocktails most likely. This was not unusual behavior for Justin, who no matter how young he may appear to be on the surface, was never able to quite fit in with a crowd of college kids. Justin always gave off the vibe of being the creepy older guy who hung around long after he graduated. Much like that weird older guy who still attends high school parties even though he’s beginning to show distinct signs of male pattern baldness creeping up.

“Thanks,” Ethan responded as if he were distracted.

“How ‘bout we go and get ourselves a—“

Ethan immediately cut him off with a question he deemed more important than whatever Justin planned on suggesting. “Did you see where the girl went… the one that was sitting at the booth in the corner over there?”

“Naw homeslice. Didn’t notice anyone there.” Justin was definitely not lying. As a matter of fact, he could barely keep his eyes open enough to see the people right next to him.

The rest of that night went by fairly uneventful. The café started to clear out, Justin disappeared with some young impressionable girl, the band hung out after closing with the manager, Ethan, and a few remaining stragglers, and the moon outside eventually relinquished its post high above the world as it gently took its rest behind the horizon; trading places with its fiery orange neighbor.

As Ethan said his parting words to the remaining few in the café, he noticed that a few band members had managed to wrangle up their passed out front man from the great depths of his own vile stomach contents—that he just so happened to be face down in while inside of the employee only restroom.

Additional information for the curiously minded:

The highly inebriated front man, whose stage name “Donny Jepp” which is clearly a poor anagram of a certain Hollywood star, turned out to be fine after a multi-day hangover in the bedroom of his plush, but not quite Hollywood star like trailer. No word on if he ever fully upchucked that pesky worm though.

Now to finish telling you fine folks the ending of a normally abnormal Friday night.

Our spindly arm having protagonist exited through the side door of the café and headed for his car. The sun was just beginning to peek over the distant buildings, and the deep navy blue of the cloudless night sky was just starting to blend into a lighter shade of blue. Ethan, oblivious to any natural beauty surrounding him, shuffled towards his car as a heavy drowsiness started seeping outward from his brain—muddying his thoughts and clouding his vision.

He got in his car and fiddled in the dark with his car keys—trying and failing multiple times to get the right one into the ignition: his topsy-turvy brain made even the simple task of starting the car a real chore. Bumbling around in the dark, he could not help but get frustrated at his lack of proper motor skills. It occurred to him during this unnecessarily difficult moment that the culmination of all of those late nights and cram sessions caused by procrastination have finally caught up to him. Right then and there he decided he would start sleeping more.

But it wasn’t his drooping eyelids or foggy mind that was prolonging such a stupid moment; it was sheer stubbornness on his part that caused him to refuse to simply turn on the interior light or use the brightness of his phone screen as a means to end the pointless aggravation.

Ethan has always been the type of person to do things the hard way. An act as simple as pushing a key into a car ignition during the blackness of night would become a challenge to him that he must conquer. There was no way in that moment he would succumb to taking the easy way out.

Fun fact:

A similar scenario would play out almost every night in the darkness of his room around bedtime when he would struggle to plug his dying phone in so it could charge.  Alas, much like his first few sexual experiences, after an embarrassingly long period of time had gone by, he finally eased his key into the proper slot. With great relief of ending such an unexpectedly maddening moment, he turned the key to the right. Nothing happened.

He turned the key again but ended up with the same result. His heart started beating faster and his drowsiness was taken over by a slight shot of adrenaline. Ethan tried one more time with a vicious crank of his wrist. The car battery was as dead as vaudeville.

“Ah fudge banana!” Ethan most certainly used a string of expletives that would make a construction worker blush. But let’s try and keep things family friendly.

Ethan knew after the first attempt the car would not start. As a matter of fact, he had a gut feeling this would happen as soon as he opened the door and the interior light did not come on. But being in the state of sleep deprivation that he was, the thought did not fully form until he physically turned the key.

“Piece of junk car.”

Blaming the car would seem like a viable option for placing said blame—as the car had no way to refute it not starting on the terms that it was a “piece of junk.” If the car could defend itself against such accusations though, it would have a very solid case against Ethan as the parking lot cameras had filmed the culprit responsible for killing the aging machine. Ethan would be seen on the video surveillance leaving his car in a hurry and forgetting to turn the headlights off. Luckily for Ethan though, this particular car had no means to clear its good name. I wonder if KIP from Knight Rider ever had such problems?

After much deliberation on how to get home, exhausting all of the possibly vehicular enabled contacts on his phone in the process, Ethan realized that in this late, or early hour as the case may be, he had no other choice but to walk the long, long way back to his apartment.

Throwing his head back in defeat, Ethan closed his eyes and started to really lament the idea of walking all the way back to his apartment. Just as he was about to make a move, a sudden knock came at the window. This startled him greatly, and he just about jumped out of his skin.

Peering through the iced over window, only the vague outline of a figure could be seen. Ethan cranked his window down just a few inches as it was nearly frozen shut. Through the slight opening, two amazingly green eyes were staring at him. His heart started to beat fas—

Speed it up? Well, Doc if I speed it up you won’t understand… yes sir. No, it’s not a problem at all. Well the gist of it is he opens the car door and a beautiful girl is standing there. She has green eyes that the boy seems quite fond of. And, and um… let’s see here. Her name is Esmeralda, or it might not really be. Doesn’t clarify. Uh… something about a puzzle piece… that part is left vague. Uh, they chat for a bit. Witty dialogue ensues. A good rapport is built. Um… deep feelings happen and all that jazz. Okay here’s the important part. The girl jumps his car but only when he promises to help her in the library the next night. Why the library? She’s writing a story or something and needs help. Uh hold on a sec, it says… well yes I can… okay Doc I’ll just skip to the library scene. But I’m telling you, you’re missing out on… no I understand just fine. Let’s see here… they um… no he… Ethan walks up to a… wait that’s not it. Never mind I was right…

Ethan walks up to a large wooden door; most likely made from dense birch. He wraps his fingers around the sturdy metal handle and pauses. He has walked past the castle like entrance of this old campus library multiple times a week for the last four years. Yet even though he has fantasized about the interior, he has never actually been inside. For some reason, no matter how interested in the building he was, the old architecture of the library has always filled him with a sort of nervous hesitation. For this very reason he has always gone out of his way to use the much more modern looking city library—not that he ever found much need to go to any library.

An unusual anxiousness takes over him. He isn’t sure whether it be the creepy timeworn library or the meeting with this strange girl that has him feeling this way. Normally when Ethan finds himself forced into doing something he doesn’t want to do, he has a bad habit of taking to the bottle; this warm winter night is no exception. As a matter of fact, before he left his apartment he downed two tulip shaped snifter glasses of a finely aged single malt whiskey; a birthday gift from his grandfather no doubt.

Exhaling one big breath of air, he pushes his thumb down on the door handle and opens the heavy door. It takes a bit of might from his shoulder to get through the door, but once inside it slams closed quite easily. Looking around, Ethan is overtaken by the beauty of this library. There are two floors of dark wooden shelves that are completely filled with books. Both floors are in the shape of a circle with a winding staircase in the far end of the first floor connecting the two.

Even though the outside is quite warm for the season, Ethan can immediately feel a difference in temperature as the old library radiates a warm flow of air.  A scent, almost musky like moldy wood permeates throughout; it has an almost drying effect on Ethan’s throat.

There are rounded tables spread out through the main floor, and a young woman can be seen sitting alone at the closest one. She has…

Come on Doc the details are what makes a good story. Really? I don’t think it’s overdone. I mean, you want the reader to really envision the scene. Right? Well of course it doesn’t fit the tone from the beginning of the story, that was in the past. Well you made me skip that part and… okay I will. Jeez, give a guy a break Doc. I’m telling you though you are missing… ah, you’re killing me here. Alright, Ethan walks in. They talk. It’s a bit awkward. The ice is broken and whatnot. They talk a bit more. Detailed description of her unique style and looks. You find out what she is writing. Uh… long description of his feelings. You find out her story a bit… she’s a sophomore at the school. Wants to be a journalist. Long description of her feelings… you know this is no way to learn about the characters Doc? Of course you don’t. You get countless manuscripts a week to read. But that doesn’t mean… well anyway, he helps her write a paper about punk rock. They talk about their past. Worry about the future. Yada yada yada, they smooch and the credits roll. Your typical love story with a punk rock twist. Oh and there’s a scene about her being an alien. That’s probably important too. So what do you think? Right, right. It seems everyone gets interested when I mention there’s an alien. Okay I’ll read you that part…

…her eyes penetrate deep into Ethan’s heart. It’s like she can see all of the pain and anguish that he has ever felt. It takes everything inside of him to hold it together, to not break down in front of her. It is not normally this easy to stir his emotions about. In fact, he rarely ever feels the swelling of sadness inside of him; but the booze has taken full effect of his mind now. The glue that was holding him together has been melted by Esmeralda’s fiery gaze.

Ethan looks away before the tears can build up. He plays this off by faking a cough into the crease of his inner elbow. Looking back up, he makes sure not to look her in the eye as he attempts to finish explaining why he thinks New York was more influential than the Brits in the early stages of the punk scene.

Esmeralda cannot focus on what Ethan is saying to her. Unbeknownst to him, she is just as lost in his eyes as he was in hers. His eyes hold and essence of age, of a wisdom beyond his years. For whatever reason, he seems to be an endless well of knowledge. More impressive is the luster in which he eagerly shares his knowledge with her. There is a great passion in which he describes the history of music. This passion flickers in his eyes like the far away flames of a distant campfire. Even though it’s hard to see, once you do, it’s all you can focus on. She can’t help but feel that underneath his cool, easy-going exterior, lies a raging river of emotions. If she only knew.

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