Sometimes, a Rat with a Tangerine

Doorway to restaurant, closed and sandbagged due to flooding
Closed for repairs

Rat with a Tangerine

Sometimes, when your restaurant is in a basement, and the building is older than the State itself, sometimes the restaurant or the store or the street above you weeps, and the tears get all over you. Sometimes it’s Cru crying mop bucket water through gaps in their plank flooring that’s actually your ceiling and you have to replace musty tea stained acoustic tiles with new tiles and bleach before your first guests arrive.

Sometimes Bistro Vendome drips, drips, grease that, by the time it’s traveled the ancient byways of tubes and wires and ceiling tufts, arrives on your shoulder in viscous chunks that smell of burnt horse hair and bung.

Sometimes, because Element is already closed when the temperatures start dipping and no one is there to turn the faucet, the pipe beneath their store that is in fact running through your bar ceiling chills, expands, and pops in the night, bringing torrents of oil water through the walls and the ceiling, warping the old pine floors and leaving wallpaper curling, and sometimes The City itself weeps, 

And when the City weeps, it chokes and vomits water backwards through connections that carry sewage all the way to the Capitol building and back to bubble through your walls and pipes and burst up through the toilets, breaking dams of asbestos and Lord Knows What to create a river of feces and urine rushing down your narrow and thankfully empty hallway and through the entry doors like Kubrick blood in the Overlook elevator and

Sometimes you’re grateful to be mopping in heels and a cocktail dress because other shoes would have soaked this brown muck right into your socks, creating vitriolic sponges, but just as the water hits your ankle and ruins the a.s.94’s and you are debating just fucking giving up and waiting for Randy to show up so you can turn this mess over to him –at this very moment a raft of straws floats by and there, swimming along side the red and the green and the blue, keeping perfect tempo with the flow and your heart, there is a rat with a tangerine in its mouth, its neck just breaking the surface, swimming, swimming with that tangerine, as though it knows your mind is capturing this photograph to release to your nightmares for years to come.