4:31 PM-4:36 PM June 5th 2018
Outside my 2nd story window from Mokhovaya Ulitsa 32 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, there is a shawarma bistro, a butcher shop, and a bar called Bukowski’s. No joke. There is a man in a gray suit, a woman in a purple dress. Walking together. The man pulls ahead, crosses the road. Maybe they aren’t together. She is wearing a jean jacket. A man in a hard-blue jacket walks by the other way. He is wearing a hat. I can’t see his face. A woman with short green hair walks by—struts, struts by. The hair isn’t fresh green—old green, stinky green (stinky looking, of course. I cannot smell it from here.) An older woman with a perm and a hard-blue jacket walks by following the same direction as the blue-jacketed man. They are not together. She is wearing sun glasses. It looks as though it might rain. A man in a bright orange shirt walks into the bistro. I am beginning to suspect that the uniform for the bistro is a bright orange shirt. Nothing. Nothing. White truck.
12:45 AM-12:58 AM July 1st 2018
It is late—but not dark. There is no darkness these days. A man in a gray suit stands in the door of the bistro. He is talking to a girl in a black leather jacket. It must be chilly outside. It looks wet. A man walks by texting on his phone. He is wearing a black suit coat; white shirt underneath, loose collar, no tie. Come to think of it, yes, the guy in the bistro, he has the same shirt. The man in the black suit coat has stopped texting. He turns around and walks back into the bistro, past the man with the matching shirt. All this, as a couple, both wearing gray, walk by. The man in the gray jacket, white shirt. He comes out more. He has a guitar on his back, I think. It is in a gray case. It is quiet. It is empty. A car. Gray. Not speeding. Two men and a woman walk by. Man, they are moving. Not running, moving. They, too, are all wearing gray. They pass a man with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. He is wearing black. Two men and a woman again. Different ones this time. Both men wear black hoodies, up. Maybe it is raining now. They aren’t moving so fast. A man walks, stops, paces. Smoking. Between the mart and bistro. He has glasses. He is not wearing gray. Oh, no! Wait. He turns. Down the front of his jacket. A fat gray stripe.
12:21 PM-12:36 PM July 4th 2018
An old car drives up and parks. It is playing music loud. Lots of base. Two men in tuxes get out. They are wearing flat brimmed hats. A man in a nice car and purple suit pulls up behind. The two men in tuxes kneel down, and a woman in a light pink dress, hiked a little, steps over the door, onto the men’s outstretched hands, and down onto the sidewalk. She giggles as she goes. The man in the purple suit waits for her. They embrace. The old car is nice. Darkly colored convertible. There is a heart of rose petals on the hood. People have stopped to take pictures of the affair. The music is so loud. Everyone goes inside except one man in a hat. A pretty young woman in all black with a tan backpack. She sees me from across the street. It isn’t often this happens, except when the city sightseeing tours roll by. I wave. She waves back and goes into the mart.
11:12 PM-11:23 PM July 8th 2018
Two men walk toward the mart. They were here last night. They were picking fights. Now they have a bag. One is bald. Two women walk by. One is large, her handbag glitters. An old woman passes them carrying a scroll. Or maybe just a rolled up newspaper. A woman walks past one of the fighting men. He turns around and watches her go in. I can’t see his eyes. But, I can tell. People are outside Bukowski’s again. Two smoking, two not. Not the fighting ones. They’re standing outside the mart. Another man walks by. He is wearing white shoes. he has a white round patch on the right shoulder of his army green jacket. Someone just made a sound: errrr. or maybe ewwwrrr. No ehhhh. I am not sure. I cannot see them, but, they have a woman’s voice. The butcher comes out, stands, sighs, and walks back in. A woman struts by—what a strut! Her shoes are white, too. Someone, somewhere laughs. A car door slams. It is a slow night. A man in shorts, a t shirt and sandals walks straight down the middle of the road…wait now he walks back–it isn’t that warm. He goes down past Bukowski’s. A man is limping. His shoes are white, too!
Benjamin Davis is a recovering fintech journalist, folklore addict, and author of a novella-in-verse: The King of FU (Nada Blank 2018). His work can be found in Hobart Pulp, Jersey Devil Press, Maudlin House, Sky Island Journal, Bending Genres, 5×5, *82 Review, SOFTBLOW, and many elsewheres. He works as a freelance columnist and writes weekly humorous essays in his newsletter: The Pigeon Post.