(Image: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye)
In short time, I am in the neutral zone as well. I ask Pockets for the key to the flat. Smiling, he refuses to hand it over. He motions toward two young women. He has sorted me out with the tall, attractive one, says he. She is a fetching blonde who favors Daryl Hannah. He fancies the brunette who would look like Sharon Stone if only she would drop six stone. I object, wanting nothing to do with Daryl or any other lady. I want to sleep, to steal away, to forget about the female species, to disremember what a beautiful woman like this Daryl look-alike can do to a foolish man’s heart.
Beaming, Pockets ignores my pleas.
An eternity later, myself, Pockets, Daryl Hannah, and Sharon-Plus-Six-Stone exit The Centre. We begin the short tramp toward Pocket’s flat. Up University we go, past Lisburne Road, walking, chatting, laughing at nothing in particular. Cabs and cars flash by. We pause at the multi-street intersection of Donegall Road and Shaftesbury Square to wait on the green man. Daryl Hannah wraps one slender arm about my waist and leans her head upon my shoulder. Lettering on the shops seems hieroglyphic; road signs, cryptic. Nothing makes sense, not the traffic signals, not our conversation, not even the paint growing long on stucco storefronts. Cars flash by in all directions, trailing past in illuminating streams of red and white. Malfunctioning traffic lights glow green indications in all directions. Cars enter the intersection from north, south, east, west, crashing into one another. They rise high into the city sky, tornado-tossed upward like rockets bursting into the foggy firmament. The ensuing din borders on the unbearable. Confused, I step from the curb into a river of chaos, into the oncoming traffic, as a speeding black taxi approaches the intersection.