November 11, 2012

If Hemingway Attended The Wicker Park Music Festival

It was six o’clock. The festival had not wound up yet and we were bored so we ducked into an alley. The end was cordoned off with a tall chain link fence. Feeling fine and encouraged we took a two-by-four out of a dumpster and pried the fence open. A blue line L train rattled above us as it made its way south to Division Street.

I held open the fence and a minute later we were on the other side. The noise from the crowd grew softer as we crossed Wicker Park. We bumped into each other as we skipped over the puddles lining the sidewalk. In the sun one of the girls tossed her hair. “In your dreams!” somebody shouted. “Have you seen my life? My dreams come true,” somebody else shouted. They had made a film about the park some time ago but it was not a good film.

We walked into a pizza shop and bought a pizza. The phone clerk told us it would take forty-five minutes to bake. We all looked at each other and nodded in agreement, paid for the pizza, left the shop and found ourselves at the nearest bar.

At the bar we had drinks and I talked to someone about recently graduating and there was nothing too flattering about any of our stories but we laughed because we all started feeling fine after the drinks so we got another round and then the pizza was ready but nobody wanted to leave the bar so Jordan left for the pizza and a drink later he came back and snuck it into the bar just as another blue line rattled above our heads as it made its way north to Western Avenue and our waitress never said anything about the pizza so we left her a large tip and walked into the crowds heading towards the festival.

The fence we levered apart was wired shut. “Get lost,” a man told me. “I am,” I replied. At the front of the festival we had to pay five dollars to get in. I saw a table open up in front of a café along the sidewalk. We sat down once the other party left. There were thousands of people around us. They were all squashed between the lofts lining the festival. We all agreed to stay there and have tapas all night through the concerts.

Later I stood on a piece of railing to see the music better. I held onto a lamppost with one hand and drank beer with the other and looked on towards the stage. There was a sea of people in front of me. The tapas and wine and beer let us all feel fine. There was a lull in the music as the bands switched and the noise of the crowd filled the streets. I looked at all my friends before stepping off the railing and I was very fond and proud of them then and we had all done quite well that night.

From up above a beer bottle dropped onto our table and the glass exploded all over us. A moment later music started and there was a large roar from the crowd. I stepped back onto the ledge. TC mark

Philip Wrobel

Philip is an infrequent contributor to a number of literary publications. He resides in Chicago, IL.