Covid-19 was finally over. The world was in the mood to celebrate. So my college friend, Mark M_____, threw a summer costume party.
I hadn't seen Mark in over 20 years, and felt lucky to be invited. He lived in a large apartment, in a house on top of a hill. I arrived early, to help him get things ready.
It was obvious he'd lived there for a long time. Every room was filled with antiques and vintage objects--Pyrex bowls and serving ware, old cans and boxes of soup and cereal, framed posters and prints, DVDs and CDs, LPs and 45s.
But instead of helping I was making a terrible mess. Every time I reached for something in a cabinet or on a shelf I'd knock something else over.
Guests began arriving. Bridget K_____ wore something truly remarkable. She was dressed as Cindy Sherman, the photographer who takes self-portraits as a variety of characters. It was such a clever, fascinating idea. Her makeup and clothes were so well done. What amazed me most is that her costume changed, morphing from one iconic look to another every time I looked away.
More guests showed up. I saw people I hadn't even thought of in a long time. The music grew louder. We danced until Mark's apartment began swaying like a boat riding waves. Walls cracked. Windows broke. And understandably, Mark was upset about the damage.
I ran out the back and into the alley, where police were waiting. Someone had been shot, they said, somewhere nearby. They asked if I knew of any clubs or gangs in the area, and didn't believe me when I told them no. I barely got away from them.
By that point the sun was rising. It was going to be one of those brilliant Chicago summer days. And I had to be at work.