The Midnight Blues

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The Midnight Blues

"It's the worst a person can be before the sun comes up. That time in the night when they can't be any more intoxicated, angry, or lost.”

by Jeremy Glass

The damnedest thing happened the other night. I was sitting with two of my friends eating waffles in a diner on 30th and 10th, laughing about this girl we had accidentally picked up along the way. She had been swallowed up in a huge line outside of a cavernous club downtown that was blasting beats. We found her, or rather, she found us on a park bench as we were en route to said diner.

She, being 19 or 20, had just gotten kicked out of a club on the west side after an hour or two of waiting impatiently in line. Supposedly, she’d given them a fake I.D. and left after the bouncer assured the girl that she definitely wasn’t 29 years of age. My friends and I, each drenched in sweat from the bike ride it had taken to get us from point the lower east side to the park bench, were sitting and watching the water when she walked up.

My friends took notice of her disheveled appearance and unhappy demeanor, as my thoughts listlessly drifted away into the solar system. The girl explained how she found herself in this particular predicament and angrily called the bouncer mean names. We told that all we wanted was a stack of waffles and a few cups of coffee. Next thing you know, we're all walking together uptown, looking for the closest open diner. As we traversed the New York City streets, the girl, who we all mistakenly knew as Tracey, told us how angry she was at the guy who was supposed to get her into the club because he “forgot” to show up. We deduced that her friends were all too busy twerking to check their phones and respond to Tracey’s plethora of livid (and misspelled) text messages. I carefully listened to Tracey’s story and reminded my two other friends that the Midnight Blues were within arms reach. The girl, slurring her words and stumbling over her heels, asked the us what we were talking about…and so started the conversation about the origins of the midnight blues.  We spoke slowly to her, as if we were talking to a toddler…or one of those painting elephants.

"The Midnight Blues…" Started the more raucous of my friends, "is a time of the night that occurs every Friday and Saturday,  in which men and women between the ages of 18 and 23 have reached their terminal velocity of misplaced anger."

"I apologize for my friend," Continued my skittish friend, "I think he’s confusing you by his use of ‘terminal velocity’…"

"I know what terminal velocity means." Said the girl, suddenly losing the slur in her speech. 

"It's the worst a person can be before the sun comes up. That time in the night when they can't be any more intoxicated, angry, or lost.”

"You’ll see them outside of clubs or bars or whatever, all dressed up in boot-cut jeans, collared shirts, tight black dresses, huge stilettos. They're saturated with booze and misplaced emotions.”

“And they all smoke Marlboro lights.” I added. 

As we, a group of mismatched pseudo-hoodlums, continued to perambulate New York’s clogged and beautiful streets, we could indeed see pockets of humans subjecting themselves to The Midnight Blues. There was a tough guy in square black shoes and an Oxford button-up holding his girlfriend’s shoulder, profusely apologizing for dancing too closely to another girl. There was a woman pacing up and down an alley, tearfully explaining that she didn’t know the hottest club in town required a very expensive cover, and then there was Tracey. Poor Tracey. A girl who was following three guys she had never met before to get waffles. She was a sleeper cell agent carrying a deadly strain of the Midnight Blues. We had barely gotten to 22nd street when she picked a fight with one of my friends, drunkenly asking where he was from. 

“Connecticut.” He said. 

“No, but where are you from?” She asked again.

“Connecticut! We’re all from Connecticut. 

I chimed in. 

“We really are from Connecticut.”

“Ugh.” Said Tracey, fed up with our lack of understanding, “where are we going?”

“We already told you, Tracey,” I explained carefully, “we’re all getting waffles and you’re invited.” 

“My name’s not Tracey!”

“Sure it is." I said. "And we’re not really from Connecticut.” 

“Wait, really?”

We all laughed. I stopped at a deli to pick up some cigarettes while the other two looked through the store to find something  to sober the girl up.

"Does coffee still work?" I asked.

"No, I think that's a myth. Let's just get her Gatorade."

"Gatorade tastes like piss," I said. 

"You taste like piss." 

We reconvened at the cash register and paid. 

It wasn’t until we were three blocks away that we noticed our group was one person short. Tracey was gone. We retraced our steps and found a massive line outside of a club. Music poured out of its doors as herds of angry, dance-lusting bros picked fights with each other. We spotted the girl making out with a particularly large dude with a chin-strap.

"Tracey, no!" 

"Dude, Tracey got trapped in a club line!"

"Tracey! Don't go in the cluhhh!" 

She pushed him away and told him his beard was scratching her cheeks. He yelled at her for not being open to his facial hair preferences. She slapped him and started crying. He took out his phone and told her that he was deleting her number once and for all. 

We bowed our head in silence. Our poor, misguided little Asian Tracey was fully infected with the Midnight Blues. Some chinstrap lured her into the line of a cluhhh and they promptly got in a fight. For shame, Tracey. For shame, chinstrap. 

It really was the damnedest thing, that night. We ate our waffles in sorrow, knowing our new friend was probably too busy twerking and sexting to even remember who we were, let alone that delicious waffles were a thing.  

“I guess it was silly to think we could’ve saved her,” said my friend. 

“You can’t save someone from the Blues if they want to get infected,” my other friend responded. 

“It's like that scene from Star Wars. You know, after Obi-Wan cuts off Anakin’s arms and legs.’You were the chosen one!’” 

We laughed and ordered more coffee. 

"That's true. I mean, we all knew Anakin was going to end up as Darth Vader. I guess we should've figured that Tracey would end up selling her soul to the lords of booze and the Demigods of dance."

"I don't know how it always happens." I said, "Is it the alcohol, the environment, the time of night, or all of that shit combined? I think the whole thing is more like that episode of Mad Men where Peggy accidentally drops a bunch of spare change into Don Draper's bowl of jelly beans. He's so enraged and disappointed."

"That wasn't an episode. You dreamt that. I think it's all of the elements combined. Like the perfect…"

"The perfect storm?"

"Yeah. Like a tornado…but full of, like, I don't know…sharks?" 

"We should make a movie out of that." 

There was an audible sigh in the room. 

“She probably wasn’t the chosen one, anyway. We didn’t even know her name.”

“Yeah we did, it was Tracey.”

"Her name wasn't Tracey." I said.

“Are you sure it wasn't Tracey?"

"Definitely wasn't Tracey." 

Another person gobbled up by the vodka-flavored tit of The Midnight Blues.