The meat market, thirty minutes before last orders. Magenta, cyan, yellow. Bass. The same old people, a few new faces, a hint of desperation in the air. Who cares about going home alone tonight? Who are these unfamiliar faces, new opportunities in a small town? Are they pretty? Are they clever? Do they dance well, drink well?
Short skirts, high heels. Thick-rimmed glasses, ironic t-shirts, low-riding jeans. Big leather bags. Dyed hair. Panda eyes. Converse.
Does she really look good? Can't tell under all these lights. Is she cool? Can't tell from a few words tossed back and forth at the bar while the sweating bartender pulls a seventh pint. Always hot in this place. Always sweaty.
Enjoyment fights despair and gains an edge. Dancing. Thighs swivel. Groups circle each other, circles looking in, glancing out and across. Singles prowl. The DJ shouts. Another too-familiar track. In the corner the earnest argue. Will they dance? Can they credibly dance to this, so commercial, so out of date? The bouncers, black-coated, watch the dance floor, scoping out the excited and the dangerously drunk.
A last beer? A last-but-one? Shots?
She talks to him - blond, green dress against leather jacket. Gestures exaggerate. Laughing teeth flash red then green.
Need someone? Anyone? Care?
Is this the Saturday night we were promised, the blowout, the great meet-up, the climax after the grinding working week? Is this fun? No and yes. Yes and no. Tomorrow we'll discuss and decide. Tonight is for action.