Thursday, June 8, 2017

BRNIGHT, by Barbara Tambini


A “friends' night out” reveals something unexpected

            “Dude, c'mon, we're gonna be late!”
            “Wait up, I'm almost done”
            “This is why we never go out!”
            “Oh, shut your mouth! You're the one who's usually late!”
            They had finally managed to gather for one of their nights out. That had not happened in a while. It is true, the older you get, the harder it gets to meet your friends. Anyway, they were out now, and they were going to make the most of their night.
            They made their way through the square, strangely deserted for a Saturday night. People were going out on Friday now; Friday must be the new Saturday, they thought. They did not know where to go exactly, but it was good to be out and about. They walked past the huge sculpture, the one that was supposed to be a clock, and one of them asked:
            “Are you sure you can only get the marble at 11 AM? I never read anywhere that it doesn't come out at night too!”
            “How many times do we have to explain this! Don't you remember the story of the war and the bells? It's actually a really cool story if you think about it. Turning the clock to ring noon an hour early, that's pretty smart.”
            “What's that supposed to be again?”
            “A cartridge. Or a bullet of sorts.”
            “Right. I actually had something else in mind, but let's just go with bullet.”
            The friends started laughing and mocking the author of the -slightly unoriginal, let's face it- joke. They kept on walking, wandering more like, with no precise aim. The night was young, and so were they.
            They were lost in the conversation, trying to figure out where to go, what to do, planning to  paint the town red. They were looking for a place that would close late, or at least not soon. They wanted to drink the night away, and they needed time for that. But where should they go?
            While they were still trying to figure out a way to spend their night, one of them suddenly saw it: something was wrong, or, better yet, something was not quite right.
            “Is that thing supposed to be like this?”
            “The pinnacle there, it's all twisted!”
            “Oh, yes I see it now.”
            “Do you think it's gonna fall off?”
            “Should we tell someone? The mayor maybe?”
            They resumed their walking, discussing ways in which they could fix that twisted spire. Eventually, they found themselves in a square, illuminated by something more than streetlights: three entangled light bulbs stood in the middle of the square. Mesmerized by that sight, they stood for a while, looking at the source of all that light.
            “They don't really look like light bulbs from here”, said, unsurprisingly, the same voice that had asked about the clock a few minutes before.
            “Man, you really gotta think of something else!”
            “Yeah, pal, grow up!”
            They kept on walking aimlessly into the night. Suddenly one -no, not that one this time- turned to the others and said:
            “Hey, guys, where's the castle?”
            “It should be over there, but I can't see it”
            “It's because you're looking in the wrong direction! The castle is right there.”
            “Gee, thanks, Mr. Know-it-all, that was very useful. If it's there as you say, why can't we see it? It should be illuminated, shouldn't it?”
            “Maybe they turn it off at night.”
            “Well, if they use light bulbs like those I'm not surprised. They must consume a lot of power!”
            “Wow, I didn't know we had a master electrician among us...”
            Up they went to the street, until they found themselves in another square (“How many squares are there in this city?”, they thought). Apparently they were meant to see a number of bizarre statues that night. As a matter of fact, the weirdest horse stood in the middle of the square. Some might even say it was more of a giraffe; the neck, however, was too short and the legs disproportionately long for it to be a giraffe. Was that art? They were not sure.
            Another bizarre sight caught their eye, though: on the opposite side of the square, another statue stood (“What is it with this city and statues?”, they wondered). A human figure was trying to lift an inhumane weight.
            “Hey, bro, need a hand?”
            “Good luck with that, mate! Hope your biceps are in good shape!”, they exclaimed in mocking tone.
            Their night was drawing to a close and they were almost back to their starting point. It was almost time to go back. It had been a nice night, after all; not crazy as they had hoped, but still good. A light breeze had started to rise, the typical wind of the small hours of the night.
            “Man, it's getting cold!”
            “Yeah, I think we should head back.”
            “No, not yet, please! It's so nice out here.”
            “But I'm freezing!”
            “Then cover up!”, said one of the four Mamlas to the other three while they were resuming their position in the building's facade.

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