Jan. 29th, 2016

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Where angels fall she is the wings and welcome back to the Admiral's Grave where once I drank with the most charming of monsters. Perched on the corner of my eye she sits, satanic harlequin, hair blood of my enemies red and cold staring through Chernobyl mascara at nothing-no one at all. One look, even off the periphery, and you can tell she's one of those rare souls who really knows how to wear a bad day. Most of us can't pull it off worth a damn. We grab whatever grief we have out of our psychic closet and over accessorize with resentment. Not her, she wears it with just the right mix of stoic humor and a dash of someone's ass is gonna get kicked soon.

And right there I want her, but not the way I would have when I was her age in that time now as irretrievably precious as it was gloriously squandered. Then what I would have wanted was for her to see me where others could not, to approach wolf certain and with owl cunning. To sit down beside me, give voice to that poetry my fingers deny my lips, warn me earnest that I am beyond any option that doesn't end with her straddling me as Valkyries straddle winged steeds.

But what it took me much too long to learn was what I desired was myself in stranger's form. Narcissism with a mask, my shadow in drag, and all the world a puppet to this secret narrative. Luckily I had a psychic meltdown, grief triggered, coke fueled and this thing that crawled out of the wreckage looks now at this vision and lusts only to hear their story. I want her to reveal the why behind the scratches on the leather jacket, the cuts on the knuckles, the empty glass weighed ponderously, the bitter laugh at a passing remembrance, the sigh that mutes the entire bar.

Habit though, much like her sister, Nature, abhors a vacuum so I tell myself that she just finished her last assignment and somewhere a childhood friend is collapsed with a bullet in their head. I tell myself that as a favor owed to a band mate she attended an invocation of a terrible god that seeks to rule once more over this glass fragile planet and now nothing seems right at all. I tell myself that at her apartment a blind ghost shouts for a deaf lover whose spectral form can be seen kissing what she is pretty sure is the Devil.

I tell myself all kinds of stupid things until I sip my whiskey and immediately that thirst that feeds such thoughts abates. Temporarily, no longer than a cigarette but with a little patience all the time in the world. After all this is Admiral's Grave, and while the Cafe Perilous, being Grief Theater adjacent, is a place where stories are born the Grave on the other hand is a place where we go to escape them. A place to confess to fellow creatures of the night what the day should never hear, a place to drink, dance, fuck, or fight your way to however deep a layer of oblivion you can dig yourself into.

A place where we can escape the secret author who sabotages us from within.

I suppose for my brothers and sisters in the Gloom Patrol, I reckon that place for them was Mannies, though whenever I haunted her it struck me as a place where stories were celebrated. All those post- Write Club victory parties, where adrenalin rushes got shaken off or at presidential elections celebrated with the same raucousness whenever Georgia made the playoffs. It was where I took my parents on special occasions and occasionally hung out with the coolest recreational nihilists you could hope to meet.

Sincerely she is missed, as will the Masquerade when her time comes, as will the rest of this city that rose out of ashes only to crystallize into a hyper-real version of itself worthy of Ecco's contemplations. But for me, so long as the Admiral's Grave stands, I will have a port away from the storms my black moods invoke . Then upon drunken tides, I am free to launch bold into new chapters once inconceivable and forbidden where upon a better tale can be told.

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