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Punch Drunk.

I made an Irish exit out the back door of the bar, ditching yet another dreadful Friday night agency happy hour and entering the cold winter blackness of Albany. Drunk out of my skull with a freshly broken big toe, I needed to sober up somehow. The booze did a good job of numbing the pain, so I decided to walk. My apartment was a half mile away and I could have started off for it, but I wasn’t ready just yet. I needed to clear my head and to be alone. So I wandered…with a limp. A sad state of affairs.

After a few foggy aimless circles through the downtown streets, I headed down Broadway, guided by the illuminated sign at Coulson’s News, a 24-hour newsagent lined with endless racks of newspapers and magazines from all over the globe. I walked in and realized that I had the whole place to myself, save for the gruff, stringy old guy behind the counter, cigarette in hand, ear bent to late-night talk radio. I took up residence in a far corner at the front of the shop next to the display window that faced the avenue. With a copy of the Village Voice in hand, I scanned the club listings, want ads and apartment rentals, dreaming of a different life in a bigger city than the one I was in. My blurry visions of NYC were suddenly disrupted by the arrival of a vehicle that had pulled up to the curb outside. I gave it a quick glance and then had to look again. Bright white Lamoborghini pickup trucks with gold rims and accents were definitely not of this town. “That’s fucked up”, I thought. I stared at it for a bit and then returned to my paper, trying all the while to regain focus through the blear.

The store was still deathly quiet but I soon realized that I was no longer alone in my space. Sensing a presence to my left, I looked over to see a guy wearing a brown, floor-length mink coat. He’s MASSIVE, equally wide as he was tall. He’d just glided in from nowhere without sound. Spooky. Training my eyes on his head, which seemed to be bolted directly to his body, the realization washed over me: holy shit…it’s Mike Tyson. My mind started racing as he stood stock still, perusing a copy of Ebony. Should I say something? Should I leave? Christ, if I had a roll of quarters in my fist, I could give him my best shot in the temple and get my name in the papers as the only guy in town to have knocked Mike out cold. That thought was soon replaced by a vision of hitting him with no result whatsoever, soon being buried in a tornado of magazines and overturned shelves, jaw broken or an eye swollen like an orange. So I abandoned that thought. He continued to silently leaf through his magazine as I waffled. Finally, mustering up all the courage possible, I croaked “Hey Mike”. Without even looking up from his magazine, he said exactly what he should have: absolutely nothing.

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