night after night

by uzwi

“Fuck off, I’ll fucking kill you.” Then a pause. Then: “I will fucking kill you.” And: “The fucking lot of you. You’re dead. You’re fucking dead.” Banal threats rendered pathetic by their own resonance in the deserted street. & of course there was always plenty of laughter and squealing, broken bits of karaoke. Among all these cries, we sometimes heard a sound with something of the interrogative in it, & something of a challenge, but also something of an attempt to attract attention; though it was, in the end, somehow too detached and too practiced to be any of those things. It was like the human version of a mechanical bird call, repeated over and over again, given rhythm by a pauses a different length to the cry itself. It was mechanical but really quite communicative. We heard it night after night, just down the road, we thought, from one of the bars; or in the street outside one of the bars. We stuck our heads out of the door but saw nothing. We walked down the street looking in one place or another, but all we heard from inside was laughter. It was always further away. Only when we had closed the front door behind us would it start up again, and then neither immediately nor predictably.