Almost a dozen bands are playing at Floristree and I’m one of them meant to go on near the end. It’s been a while since I’ve played and instead of hanging out there at the space I’m hanging out on a boat docked nearby. The boat is big. Below decks there’s a room that’s like a lobby/restaraunt/bar of a nice resort hotel, and some stairs that lead down to a handful of cabins and up to a lounge area. I don’t know most of the people here except for Steve Olson. Some of them look like they are on vacation— like maybe this boat is a kind of hotel.
I rode a bus from Floristree to get to the boat. We crossed a Baltimore I have seen at least once before but never while awake. It’s long and there’s water along the eastern edge, like Chicago, but it’s more narrow and there is more of a NYC level of skyscrapers going on.
In the boat, I go to the counter where a woman is selling food. There’s a lot of different things you can buy, like a tupperware containing 8 poppyseed bagels stacked on top of one another, or a tupperware containing 8 flavored cream cheese bricks stacked on top of one another, or hot dogs. I pull two bills out of my pocket— a five and a one curled into a tight tube— and I uncurl them and I look at the glowing menu above the counter (it includes a few pictures of gourmet-looking hoagies) and at the lit display case where the bagels and other tupperware-wearing delicacies are kept behind glass. I talk with the lady about what I ought to get with my six dollars and I believe I did get something but I can’t remember what it is now.
I take my food item to the lounge and talk to Steve— we try and discern what the deal is with the other people on the boat. Our guesses are amusing but we assume they are probably not very accurate. It’s getting later and later and no one has called me to tell me whether I ought to be back at the Floristree yet. I feel anxious about that but not anxious enough to turn my cell on. Mark Brown is around here somewhere, I think— he’ll tell me if it gets too late, right? I walk to the stairs that go down to the cabins and notice that the stairwell is almost completely full of water. The bottom level is definitely completely full of water. I turn around and tell Steve that we should get the hell off the boat because it’s sinking.
Other people keep walking around like the water problem doesn’t concern them, as if it were being attended to by some professional already, even though I can’t find any evidence that anyone besides me has taken it seriously enough to mention out loud. I’m creeped and I make my way out of the boat. Steve goes to find somebody else he knows on the boat and I don’t see him again after that. When I get out of the boat I’m naked except for a towel wrapped around my waist.
Instead of being docked at a dock or any noticeable maritime location, leaving the boat dumps me into a dark parking lot. There’s lots of people around, the kind of steady, clumpy, dumpy crowds you see walking from parking garages to Camden Yards when there’s baseball games. No one points out my nudity but it’s embarassing. I get a City Paper to hold casually at crotch-level while I walk across the street to a lit-up bus shelter.
I recognize a guy there sitting on the ground— curly, dark hair and nearly-olive skin, tall and slim and smiling and has smiling eyes and I think he comes off a little like a Greek Big Bird. He recognizes me, too. We don’t know each other very well—I don’t think we’ve ever actually conversed to any depth— but I am happy to know anyone at all at this bus stop and the big Bird-Man is always nice to everyone who engages him and we make much out of having seen each other a few times before. He doesn’t mention the fact that I am almost naked.
I watch a big crowd of like 7 or 8 fat high schoolers get into a fight on the opposite sidewalk. I can’t tell how serious the fight is but it looks funny and I try to watch even though the big Bird-man keeps standing in my way, blocking my view (but unintentionally.) I don’t tell him he’s in my way— I’d hate to tell the big Bird-Man he’s in my way and then have to see him smile and apologize because then I’d start apologizing and smiling and the idea of us smiling and apologizing to each other over something neither of us really care about makes me feel dark, so I just skip the whole thing. The fat kids are probably all friends just horsing around, anyway.
I can tell it’s a lot later than it was before, I might be missing my set— the whole show, really. What would I play anyway? Is anyone going to notice I’m not there? Is anyone going to be sad? I can’t imagine who would be sad, and trying to think about where my phone might be seems like a painful process, so I decide to just wait for the bus and ride back to Floristree and just deal when I get there. I cross the street, though, to sit next to a wall away from the bus shelter where my nudity is all lit up—- I don’t want people to think I’m getting off exposing myself at the bus stop or something.
When the bus turns the corner, it stops with its headlights right on me, and I hold up my paper and my arm to shield my eyes. I can’t see how many people are on the bus but I imagine it’s probably full and they’ve all got to be laughing at my naked ass. No one has mentioned it yet but I can’t believe they’re not all noticing. I turn around and go behind the little wall and back onto the boat. It’s tilted like crazy now, and water is up to my neck in that lounge area. The lobby and cabins are totally submerged. A big black goat is loose in here, too, and doesn’t stop following me around when he sees me. He walks around a railing in the center of the lounge that’s still dry, the last thing dry in the room. He can only walk on 3/4s of it though because the tilting has put one corner of it into the drink. I wade around with water up to my chin, trying to stay out of striking distance of the railing while the goat, obviously frustrated, follows and snarls and sniffs maliciously.