From a hotel room in the middle of the city I had the most stunning view of a mostly completed building and an enormous crane. There were no birds and this is always concerning for me. Had there been birds? Had they died? Fled? My eyes were burning and the stink of cigar smoke was in my shirt. I could taste cheese and meat and scotch and I was trying to decide if I should head up to the roof and smoke.
I went to the lobby. I went to the bar. I went to another bar. I went to a 24 hour convenience store tucked neatly between a 24 hour laundromat and a 24 hour massage parlor. I spent the rest of my cash on absolute garbage. A knock off Blue Jays hat and a keychain that said CANADA with our little flag. I cracked open a beer I bought and waved off the cashier.
I staggered into the street. I lurched around the corner. I stumbled into the parking garage. I saw Amit heading up the stairs and I hung back. I saw a woman in a red dress and I hung back. I saw a man fumbling with car keys and cigarettes and I offered him a light. We smoked. We made small talk. About the meaningless things like death and the vast cosmic scale on which we are less than visible. So insignificant as to be meaningless. Amounting to a rounding error in the universal equation.
I found the stairs. I found the door. I found the lobby. I found the bar once more. Sun coming up and splashing onto the bartender. Scotch in my glass. Charged to the room. Room paid for by my employers.
Into the elevator. Into the hallway. Into my room. Out of my suit. Sleep and moments later the buzz buzz buzz of a cell phone alarm. The sun was up. There was the crane. There were no birds. The sky was blue and the city was awake and there were no birds and I say you are a foul people. A plague on the land.
Downstairs again. Out the door. Hello Amit.
Conferences. Meetings. More bars and more scotch and a foggy plane ride home. Remember to look for the birds.