Ricky, it's late. There's nothing left to do with the night but drink, and I can't drink for another seven months. It's late and I'm sitting at the counter of the bar you come into every once in a while, sipping a diet Coke. All the other dancing girls have gone home.

On the floor there are puddles of sequins, as though some storm of decadence had just passed through, and I've been backstage where the mangy bikinis they came from are huddled in a corner on the makeup table. I know fantasies are made to fall apart. When the barman bars the door and flips on the flourescents, the sequins are just more trash. The absolute last thing you want to do to a fantasy is shine a light on it.

I guess I really don't know if I thought you'd be back tonight. Why would you? You're just an apparition I catch sometimes disappearing out the front door. I've got less than 100 words of you, all split up and abruptly interrupted by Barney calling my name and a single alcoholic's nervous applause. I've got no idea what you do or when or why. But I like the way you talk. I'd sit here and talk with you for hours, only making eye contact through the filter of the mirror behind the bar, drinking well whiskey with decades-old Top 40 blaring from the empty stage. I get the feeling you dream about the same wonderful apocalyptic places I do, but you describe them better than I could. If it meant I could just sit here and listen to you, I wouldn't mind terribly never stepping out that front door again.

When I saw you last night my heart just about stopped. And I saw you talking to Barney and him pointing to me, and I figured you wouldn't have anything to say to me anyway, after you heard. When you walked over, I figured it was to laugh at me. Instead I swooned a little and wanted to hit you. Cause now it's too late. If you were even serious at all, which of course I'll never know. You might very well have a pregnant stripper in every club from here to Fort Worth.

I'm sitting here with my head full of you. Past last call but not past desperate hope. The club is empty except me and I just want to pour you a glass of whiskey and hear you talk about destroying everything that's real. What I'm gonna do instead, though, is get my coat and walk out that door to where there are no sequins and everything is even realer than real. Cause I don't think you're gonna be coming back around and, even if you did, I don't want to impose the burden of my fantasies on you.

I'm just gonna let your memory be, Ricky. But I wish you would have kissed me.

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