Reads: 8

Something Will Happen

 

 

The street musician played his blues guitar on Main street, not far from downtown Binghamton, the town of the confluence of two rivers, of two beating hearts. The man wore a greasy, sweaty singlet, shorts, and sandals; sitting on a little chair beside the corner of a bar, he had been playing the same melody for the last fifteen minutes, looked at the darkened sky, repeating quietly, "Something will happen..." A passer-by stumbled into the can placed in front of the musician and cursed. Then he walked on down the sidewalk.

 

***

 

"Fuck you, this room should have been white," the entrepreneur screamed, and a drop of sweat trailed down his forehead.

"No, boss, you said yellow," the worker repeated. Squeezed in the corner, he saw red. His boss had been screaming at him for ten minutes for something he was not to blame for. Unconsciously, the worker's stretched his hand behind him and caught hold of a hammer propped against the shelf on the wall. He was tired, and the top floor apartment was hot, even with open windows. The walls were radiating heat like a toaster. The heat was coming from outside. A low, black cloud covered the sky and swirled over the city, but it had not rained. Instead, the cloud was as a stifling, black blanket, intolerable. Lightning slashed the sky to the east; thunder rattled like distant bursts of cannon shells. A faint breeze was whirling dust and leaves on the streets, but it also carried moisture, warm air, and rather than healing, instilled malice.

 

***

 

"Something will happen..." the musician whined quietly, gathering the coins scattered across the sidewalk.

 

***

 

The policeman quarreled with the black man, shouting that he had parked in a space for the disabled. He was feeling hot after sitting all day in a baking police car. The man didn’t care anymore—how long had the cop screamed at him now? He was tired from working all day long in the hospital ER, tired of blood and pain; he just dropped by to pick up his daughter from school. His car was not air-conditioned, and his shirt stuck to his back because of the sweat. He was also resentful of cops picking on him all of his life. He was now seeing himself as if from beside himself—the black, wet, curly hair, fingers clenched into fists, his legs tense—one found support at the back, the calf muscle tightened—all ready to give a push for a leap forward.

 

***

 

"Something will happen..." The musician strummed his guitar and looked up at the sky for the first signs of rain. But there was no rain. Just heat and humidity. Sweat.

Trink, trink, trink, and "Something will happen."

 

***

 

The drunk was following the woman for a few blocks, and she was sick of his obscenities. The heat and the alcohol made him as had not supposed he could be. The woman was frightened because no one seemed to hear the man's insults, threats, and her pleading—passers-by walked their way, their heads down. The woman carried a small purse, and there was a small pistol in it—now she was reaching for it.

 

***

 

"Something will happen…" The musician was no longer singing but simply spoke and looked at the sky, hopefully. And it happened!

And it happened!

Lightning slashed through the sky, and thunder shattered the quiet. The cloud opened its belly and poured out cold rain. Cool air entered the apartment, swirled in front of the school, and on the sidewalk—throughout the horrid city. The rain washed away the malice and the evil. The rainwater filled up the drain shafts and flooded the streets.

The apartment was empty. The contractor let the worker go home early for the day.

The policeman let the violator leave without a ticket this time.

The man left the woman alone, at last, and she safely went home.

The rain passed quickly. The storm drains gulped the water. The cloud rained itself but remained hanging over the city like a dark shadow, stifling it. There wouldn’t rain anymore. It became even damper and warmer than before.

The street musician walked out from under the eaves, set his small chair on the corner, and began to strum the strings gently. There was tension in the air, some electricity flowing through it. Each and everyone understood, understood it clearly and simply, just as simple as the musician’s song—"Something, something will happen…"


Submitted: May 20, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Robert Ratman. All rights reserved.

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