...with our beans baked... (Part VII)

I keep calling Ernie and Ernie keeps calling me and we keep losing each other until I find several display bars of strength, downstairs, at the base of the steps that wind up from the Riv’s foyer. 

Ernie tells me he got busted and now he’s waiting for what’s next. His deflated voice says, “Go enjoy the concert.” But I’m staying put by these lobby doors, waiting for what’s next. I tell him, call me when he knows. 

Two minutes later, Verizon shudders in my palm. Ernie tells me, “Enjoy Megadeth.” Because, they let him go. 

“Your punishment is,” Officer Buzzcut told him, “you don’t get to see Megadeth.” 

Whatever Ernie’s gonna do with the rest of the night, he doesn’t know. 

“Go,” Ernie repeats, “enjoy Megadeth.” 

This much is clear: the right guy is on the wrong side—the outside—of the Riv. 

More than I’m here for music, I’m here for architecture. 

It’s Ernie who’s spent the last month psyching himself up for this concert. 

His voice through my phone keeps telling me to go watch it, go enjoy Megadeth. Behind me, down this floor’s cavern, into the auditorium, the bipedal sea ROARS. 

Twenty minutes ago, Ernie was dreaming of slam dancing. He was fully prepared to leave the place drenched in sweat. He left his coat in the car foreseeing that future. 

But now he’s outside shivering his ass off under the Riv’s marquee. 

While, inside, they tell me, if you walk out, you don’t get let back in. 

So that’s thirty-six dollars to peek into the innards of a mutilated palace theater, piss in one of its urinals, and watch Ernie get pinched. The only reason I’m not at all down? It’s because Ernie’s not in jail. 

Still got the ticket stub, though. Such a thing is the sort of thing that makes me smile more than photographs ever do. Photos depress me. When I’m in one, which is a rare occurrence, I look too much like the fool that I am. And mirrors already serve that purpose quite nicely. 

19 & 20 November 2004 

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