A tepid morning breeze blows through a Winnipeg street in late summer, rustling trash and dust up from the gutters. A 1982 Diplomat backfires in an alley, behind an all-night pizza joint. A woman yells down into the echoing alley at the man behind the wheel, sending an empty bottle crashing behind the Dodge as it skids into the street.
Two blocks over, in front of a pawn shop, a man leans over and vomits into the road, wiping his mouth on the back of a filthy sleeve. He hasn’t slept properly in days, shambling his way from one all night party to another where, inevitably, someone was playing a rusty old guitar. He is on his way home, at the far end of this street. His T-shirt is bloody, and his feet throb with every step.
Somewhere, not far from the thoroughfare, a church is congregating for morning mass. Chiming bells tingle in the rising heat, but drown quickly beneath the buzz of traffic from the highway to the south. A child laughs, briefly. A dozen rubber walker-ends crunch crumbling walkway. Tears fall in the church from the nose of a haggard crone, twisting beads beneath her fingers in the dim light. A cat shits in the graveyard.
A man wakes on the mattress of his apartment. In vain, he rubs the pain from his bleary eyes. The window is open, but still the small room reeks of stale cigarettes and sweat. He stands, walks to the kitchen sink. He drinks from the tap, spitting into the drain. Images of the past week skirt his memory, tinged with shame, kept at bay by the Roaring Noon.
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★