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Maculate Conception - 01/07/03
By Bel Garion
Published each Tuesday

This New Year's Eve five youngish people made their way across the saturated expanse to a place in Florida called Jacksonville. These five celebrants were in a mood and would find trouble, imagined or otherwise. They only go to Jacksonville once a year, and all but one are convinced that it is nothing more than a labyrinth of streets that go six ways in five at an unnatural angle on a good day; on a bad day you're lucky if you can find your feet on a sidewalk. So a taxicab is essential if you want to get to see fireworks instead of a psychiatrist. First they needed to find a place to sleep.

Not many places had a vacancy due to the football game, but they knew of a place where dealers went to die and welcome tourists could pay 35 dollars to watch. The doors tended to fall off of hinges and they couldn't use the face soap without regretting it later, but it was dry and had beds. The cruel nature of the place prevented most from getting cab service,
but then these five were special; they had cell phones.

They were magically transported by cab to a place called "The Landing" where restaurants cater to both football fans and these mysterious five who didn't like football no matter how much everyone else seemed to insist they did. They didn't have to wait with the angry line of people standing about in the rain and gorged themselves on Italian food; God was with them. They heard the fireworks were to be canceled, this being the sole reason for their trek across the void, they completed their meal in short order and set off. Floating on their bellies they found the great lightning debate taking place on a barge in the middle of the dark polluted river. The discussion, however frantic, was ended when one made eye contact with a member of the five floating around the barge in the shadow. The man on the barge imagined a menu of possibilities, of how much lightning could hit him if they went on with the show, compared with how much would hit him if they didn't. Grim purpose filled his
soul; there would be fireworks tonight.

Reaching the other side they paid too much cover for a club that wasn't any good. They were forced to slowly adjust to their new climate by having about five shots out of the leak proof sip cups they smuggled in. Standing in the rain they watched a drunken woman chase a couple of police about, a terrified pyrotechnist fumble about a barge, and the sky explode
with fire and lightning.

I was there, saw it happen, and it was beautiful.

Happy New Year!

Email Bel!






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