I get to my patch nice and early. It’s barely gone eight and the sun is bruising across the sky still. From the crossroads at the top of town I can see the whole sorry mess splayed out below me, sparks of light flaring as people lose the game of chicken with the night. I strum a few chords as I wait, checking my phone impatiently every few minutes. The guitar’s not even in tune, but it doesn’t matter, that’ll come with time. When it’s my time.
It’s full dark now and I half-rise as a car crawls by, anonymous face peering out from the passenger window. It’s a black Mercedes, which is what I picture him driving. But it carries on down the hill, trawling for something I’m not offering.
At ten past midnight I sling my guitar over my shoulder and start the slow walk back down through town. I pass the same familiar faces and we pass the same familiar conversation.
No luck, they ask.
Not tonight, I say. You?
Maybe tomorrow, they say.
Maybe tomorrow, I agree. And then we all stroll on home with our instruments and our souls.