Boston Bean Party
They stopped making new paper calendars years ago but I’ve held onto an “American Sports Cars 2030” to keep track of the days on my own. I decided to get rid of leap years because they weren’t on the calendar and I don’t care for them. The pages can be hard to keep in good shape due to constant rains and even when it’s not raining, the air’s humid enough to dampen them. The sticker I’ve used to keep track, today falls on the last Thursday in November: Thanksgiving. Years have gone by since the days that youngness was a feeling and not just an idea; thousands of tomorrows became yesterdays and now all I have to keep myself feeling normal is observing long-gone traditions that I didn’t even care for when they still existed. I have this memory of being a small child in a Boston Market restaurant on Thanksgiving night, years ago. I don’t know now why it’s such a pleasant one but I’ve decided to recreate it tonight. I remember the food was good and the atmosphere was new but safe for some reason. I won’t be able to recreate the food and the atmosphere is unattainable but my hope is that just the building might provide some comfort.
Now, I wish I could report that I set out on my indulgent journey from my fully stocked, apocalypse-ready bunker or something but technically speaking I’m homeless. It’s not as bad as it sounds cause the old idea of homelessness was pretty much eradicated when home ownership became socially taboo after the 2030 crash. Nobody’s a squatter if nobody owns anything; “squatter” is just a colloquialism for “thief of space,” anyways, which isn’t too far off from “waste of space,” or so it came to be realized. So, I emerge from some hole in the wall on this wind-whistling Thanksgiving night, backpack on my back and baseball bat in my hand. The sky is its usual dark green hue that provides that really post-apocalyptic haze to the light from the street lamps. It’s dangerous as hell just walking in the street nowadays. I’ve never believed in guns so that’s why I use some cliché zombie movie melee weapon. Yes, there’s danger from legitimate muggers with guns but most of the danger is the corny “Purge” impersonating locals who won’t fuck with you as long as they see some sort of weapon on your person. Beyond that though, there’s acid rains and limited medicine. The baseball bat comes in handy as a functional yard-stick for how far away I need to stay from anything peanut at all times lest I’m ready to suffer the lamest possible death for someone who survived the whole mess that was the crash. I don’t see many people out and about on my way to the restaurant except for the local drunks and addicts, still holding on in their own way to what’s left of the old world. They stumble around, functioning as the closest thing we have to zombies in this catastrophic post-modern reality but they’re harmless. The restaurant is only a few miles from where I slept last night so the walk takes just over an hour.
I step over the rubble and through the wide-open front window of the Boston Market. The street lights which gleam in through the gaping hole reflect off every surface to reveal all but the dusty Pompeiian ruins I now stand in. Approaching the buffet line, I take in the air; it’s been sour for years but this skeleton of a building still has some sentimental sweet to it. Just to be thorough, to see if I can find anything to go with the can of beans I brought, I explore behind the counter. The shelves in the back are pretty much entirely empty, spare for the occasional pot or pan, but I find a butter knife to open my can with and a spoon to scoop it with; a little dusty, a little rusty, but they’ll do the trick.
I make my way back to the front and really just take a load off in one of the dirty plastic booths with a grunt. After I remove my feast from my bag the sound of the can hitting the table echoes through all three walls of the restaurant. I stab it with the butter knife and saw around the edge. I remove the jagged lid and chuckle cause it looks like a ninja star; I throw it across the restaurant with some gusto for nothing but the satisfaction of a brief flight and an instantaneous ding on the cracked tiles. I lift the spoon and stare into its convex back. The reflection seems to glance around the room but not back at me as a stripe of rust covers the center of the surface where my face should be. I shrug off the thought that this once would have been a useless piece of garbage, being that it is now all I’ve got, and plunge it into my beans. They don’t taste good and they’re not warm but I revel in my feast, breathing in the dust off the bones of this former shrine to capitalism. In this moment, everything is still as sweet nostalgia flickers in and out of view. The vision begins to dominate my line of sight as the dim reflections of the street lamps fade and my throat tightens. I choke down another spoonful of the food that everybody seems to forget is a legume and find peace in the slowness of it. My eyelids bounce off of each other one last time like the final ring of a tower bell before its supports snap and release it to plummet into the blackness of the tower below. A cloud of dust lifts off of the table as my body hits it. There is no echo.