“Sorry man, it’s on the truck, you can pay the fine and get it here,” the man in blue coveralls handed me a card, hopped in his tow truck and drove off with my car into the night.
Had I been better educated on the state law I would have demanded he surrender the vehicle (as he would have been required to do), but I didn’t know any better, besides, I had had a few too many and wasn’t thinking very clearly. I didn’t really care, it didn’t even really deepen my melancholy. Damn fascists run the parking around that apartment complex, I was two minutes late getting to my car to put up the visitor’s parking pass. It wasn’t the first time it had happened either.
“Fuckers towed me again,” I said as I walked in the door and dropped the plastic visitor pass placard on the end table.
“Serious? You were like a minute late! Those asses. I’m sorry man, you can have Scott’s room to crash in for the night,” said Brad who was reclining on the couch with his girlfriend, Karen, watching a movie.
I don’t know what I was doing there that night. Abigail had left early. My friends hated her anyways. But I loved her. We’d watched WALL-E earlier, fuck that movie is romantic, and played drinking Yahtzee with bottles of wine we’d purchased from our trip to the vineyards that afternoon. We’d walked to the supermarket, my arm around Abigail the whole time, gotten back, made some dinner, then she had to leave. We kept drinking, it was just Brad and Julie, Doug and Carrie, and me, the perpetual fifth wheel. I needed to put up the parking pass and wait a few hours to sober up before I could drive on home, but too late now, I wasn’t going home that night.
I walked out on the veranda, Doug’s guitar was resting against the wall, I picked it up and started strumming idly, feeling the warm night air. I played a few old tunes, If I Needed You, Dead Flowers, Who Loves the Sun, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Every tune I could remember, butchered most of them. Sometimes I’d sing along, other times I’d just listen to the notes. Stupid cheap guitar kept getting out of tune, the low E was being a little bitch. At one point I accidentally tuned it the wrong direction in my drunken state and it rattled against the body when I struck it. It was just right, reminded me of an old Neil Young song. I tuned all the other strings based on it. And hazarded my best approximation.
“Wrapping up dope in a paper bag, talkin’ to yourself taking a drag. Who are you kidding with what you say?” I sang, arguing with myself, Neil’s voice in my head along with me, slapping the guitar body with my palm to simulate a drum, plucking that low E string and strumming the tightly tuned upper notes. The sun peaked over the horizon as I slumped in the sun chair, asleep.
“What does it matter? They’ll never hear it anyway.”