Marlene had once dreamed she was Queen of the Clouds. Now she sat on a worn wooden stool in a sullen, sad bar, the murky shadows in her greasy gin glass reminding her somehow of whom she’d once been.
Still the music was fine, yet not long ago, it had been a robust and risque cavalcade, like fresh-laden waterfalls free to please all … now cacophonous misery seeped through the walls.
It seemed she had once been a girl in this bar, but in such a short time, fetid dreadsome attention, she felt rapid-aged, in soul’s light to lessen, or so it now seemed to Marlene. She had almost forgotten her dream.
In vague reverie she could almost thus dream as the gin worked its duty in loosening stream; another would benefit thoughts more serene, so she ordered another and surveyed the scene. Where there once, in this bar, had been burgeoning laughter, and ladies all colorful, flirting a’chatter, and boys in starched uniform, mustaches neat, had slipped into lotten charade, their once heady vision betrayed.
Where there once, on these streets, just outside of this bar, trudged the yellow-starred dirty in sickening gloom, marching dead, marching madness yet faithful in hope that some god of somewhere as written in lore would have mercy and charity forevermore.
And their letters once written in vain supplication to loved ones drip red in the gathering loom, slogged and forgotten in yesterday’s illness, this red-letter day, smothered in blood, awaits unfulfilled in the street and the mud.