Ethan sits at the desk/vanity/dining table in his 300 square foot studio in the Tenderloin neighbourhood. Let it go, let…it…go, Ethan thinks to himself as he stares into a framed mirror hanging on the wall in front of him. The frame is window flashing he found in a waste pile at a condo renovation in the Avenue’s. A friend tapped roses into the metal from a set of childhood leather tools.
He stares into the mirror and pulls the thistle from his bow tie; let it go. Some customers are total assholes. Punk fucked me over for an extra tray of bread, what the fuck is the matter with these people. He pulls the tie out from around his neck and unhooks his collar button. How much bread does a lard ass need for lunch? Fucking ass-hat. If I ever see him again, I don’t think he should worried about his bread. Fuck him.
Ethan unbuttons his 2nd-hand LLBean no wrinkle and throws it onto the lounge chair next to his desk. I don’t fucking get paid enough to put up with some dick weed high school punk who thinks his free bread plate is stale. Who the fuck does he think he is? His dog bitch laughs and frowns. I hope he gives her herpes, if he knows how?
Let it go, Ethan thinks to himself. Don’t let it ruin your early night off. Let it go.
His cell phone rumbles and dances across the table in front of him. Ethan picks it up and turns it over to the face. The quick notice alerts an SMS from Joel. He gestures the sleep bar to it’s the bottom of the face and selects the message chain.
“Board games & bud or whatever 2nite at 8. B or b sq. BYOB.”
“Bit l8, burned.” Ethan replies.”
“Come on E, u’r #4. Bring a tthbrush & pj party all nite!”
I don’t know? It was a tough shift at Far East today and it’s already 7:30. I could use the sleep; I don’t have to be in Saturday until 3. Ethan starts thinking about Saturday’s shift. It’s the end of the month, so everyone got paid. It’ll be busy, but it’s not holiday. I still have that BART ticket with 10 bucks on it and a liter bottle of rum from my birthday. On the way, I can pick up a litre of coke and a lime at the market around the corner.
I’ll shove that fucking litre up that tourist dick’s ass while his girlfriend watches, duchebag. “Let it go.” He says out loud to his reflection. “It’s past.” I need a break, he thinks and some cheap fun. Stevo still owes me $20 from our last 2-day poker binge. He can owe some one else if it comes down to poker. “Fun break,” Ethan looks away from the mirror, turns around, and puzzles, where did I put my backpack?
He crosses the room to a 5′ x 3′ closet and pushes the left sliding door to the right. The cheap hollow door derails and stops half way with a clunk. “DAMN IT.” He sees his backpack hanging from a hook in the corner on the clothes rod. He grabs it, but must close the door to get to shirt on the other side. He lifts the door and misses it’s track, so it still will not move. “Cheap ass crap.” I’ve only asked the land…slumlord twice to fix this damn thing. He picks the door up off the tracks and set’s it next to the closet. “Fuck it.” I’ll fix it later.
He slides the other door to the right and it sticks for a moment. “SHIT.” I’m never gonna get out of here. The door relents, as sweat crawls down Ethan’s forehead. He grabs 2 t-shirts of off wire hangers: a black pocket-t goes in the backpack and a light blue, retro-Space Invader goes on his twin bed. He grabs two pairs of boxers out of the drawers underneath his bed and two pairs of socks. Shower? Who are the other players, Darrel didn’t say. It will be Steve for sure, but Mike or Jack, or maybe, Heather or Brigit?
Brigit is one of Joel’s cute neigbors, and he works with Stevo and Heather. Mike and Jack are baseball, drinking buddies; a whore’s bath is enough. Hum, Brigit or Heather? Ethan strips off his work chinos, undershirt, and, boxers; throws them into the bottom of the closet. He opens his bathroom door. I’ve got to clean this next week. He steps into his prefab bath/shower stall. He balances the hot and cold at the spigot and pulls the switch to the shower. Ethan sighs; the hot water washes some of the tension into the drain.
“DAMN IT.” The hot only lasts about 3 minutes, long enough for him to soap up, and the temperature goes icy cold. “Fuck.” The tension returns and he twirls the hot to full with no avail. Rinsing as quickly as possible, he reaches for the taps and the temperature goes hot. “Ahhhh!” Ethan yells out and jumps out of the tub. One foot slides on a mat toward the door while the other grabs strong. He catches himself with the towel rack in the back of the shower, but a sharp pain rises from his groin to his stomach. “Shit” I’ve got to find a new apartment. This building sucks.
Ethan reaches back into the shower and turns off the cold water. He towels off and applies Axe deodorant-Heather or Brigit, he daydreams; both are at the party and they are playing strip poker. Heather throws down her cards, and says what’s the point you always win. She strips down to her bra and panties. Brigit shakes here head and follows suit, only she isn’t wearing a bra. If only the commercials were true.
Ethan is 5′ 11”, 190 lbs, in shape, but not a balloon animal. He has larger than average ears, but not saucers, brown eyes, and a near perfect proportioned face, small mouth, think lips, with a Roman/Swedish nose, which he thinks is his best feature. His best feature he thinks.
He is 29 going on 50. He’s been working at the Far East for 2 years and before that it was Padre’s in the Mission for 3 years. He came to San Francisco at the turn of the century to attend art school. He dreams of being a playwright and has acted in several small productions at 20-50 seat houses, mostly walk-on parts. Ethan is not crazy about acting, but he does it to stay in touch. He has written two plays about his hometown and three TV screenplays for on going shows. All have been rejected.
Ethan combs his light brown hair and wonders if he will loose it all like his father. His phone buzzes on the table and he leaves the bathroom to retrieve it.
“w/ Stvo, 20?” Joel sends and text.
It’s 8 already, “ETA 8:45 to 9.” Ethan replies.
“WTF?” It’s Steve this time. “W hldng u? U’r kkat?”
“L8 wrk, remember? OO SHR, on BART n a few.”
“No prob, ETA 10-4, Heth & Brid & frnd @ 9:30.” Joel texts.
“YES,” Ethan says out loud to himself, finally some good news.