Last night we sat on Tom’s floor and listened to records. The room was economically cold but had a sweet dimwarm tungsten glow, and cans of PBR slowly crowded the coffee table like subway passengers. As usual I became effortlessly drunk. “Is that a 50mm?” I squealed at Madeleine. “Do you know how long I’ve been meaning to buy a 50mm?”
“You want to try it? Check it out.”
Thick Maine accents from questionably comedic duo “Burt and I” wandered out of the speakers and we reveled in them. “And the next morning . . . his trousers were so full of fish . . . a button popped off, and killed a partridge.” Long pause. “Wait,” J asked hesitantly, “so was that . . . the punch line?” Throughout the night we’d repeat this, over and over, attempting to master its timbre, the deliberate tempo. “And the next morning . . . his trousers were so full of fish . . . a button popped off, and killed a partridge.” “And the next morning . . . his trousers were so full of fish . . . a button popped off, and killed a partridge.” Madeleine’s 50mm made the rounds around the room, from radio producer to writer to photographer to radio producer (there are so many of them), so that underpinning everything, even the occasional soft metallic click of a popped beer tab, was the shutter, always the shutter, click click click click click.
“These will be the best documented four months of our lives,” I said. “We’ll never forget, even if we want to.”
At the end of the night, we all bundled into our coats and hugged goodbye: the first physical contact I’d had with anyone in weeks. I struggled to contain merry chirps. “Hugs!” I said, still somewhat intoxicated. “Hugs!”
“Strip club tomorrow? Yeah? Who’s in?”
Nothing sketchy. This is schoolwork. We raised our hands.