We have no business being this far uptown on Easter.
Me and Wiggy, carrying hangovers on our backs like a pair of crosses.
The bright sun streams through the cross town streets like a shotgun blast, nearly knocking me down as I cross Broadway to the center aisle and the refuge of vacant bench looking downtown, not east.
Alcohol does something to a manís brain late at night, turning him into a superman daylight denies.
I always feel like a vampire on mornings like this so pray for a weather report of rain at dawn so that the day seems as dismal as I feel.
Wiggy hates the sound more than the light, cringing at the passing sirens as a parade of fire trucks crashes down Broadway amid a bonnet of flashing lights.
Other than that, heís okay, since Broadway has a stark and vacant look it lacks any other day of the year -- even Christmas -- as if everybody is home waiting for the rabbit to show up with the candy or Christ to come down off the cross.
Wiggy says he wants coffee, and points to a dented metal-sided diner have way between 62nd and 63rd streets on the west side of Broadway.
My stomach wonít tolerate anything as toxic as caffeine, and I tell him to go ahead and get his cup while I try to get some shut eye here.
I know the cops wonít tolerate anyone looking as ragged at me, nodding off on a bench in the middle of a neighborhood as posh as this. But I figure maybe theyíre off chasing the fire, too, or waiting for the rabbit, or nodding off in their cars somewhere figuring nobodyís going to cause much trouble around here this early on Easter.
I feel the sunís warm fingers on my face as I closed my eyes, the veins in my eyelids looking like a road map back to that silly farm county I abandoned as a kid for the big city.
I try not to think about what went wrong, which wrong turn I took that sent me to a park bench rather than the stock exchange, and how much more fond I am of cheap rot gut than the fine wines I thought I would be drinking when I reached my age today.
That map is as complicated as the one I see with my closed eyes, with so many twists I canít keep them straight sober let alone with a tank on.
I think I should be dead, would be dead, except for the need of some higher power to punish me for crimes I canít imagine Iíve committed.
A more positive man would think that God or whatever force there is in the universe is saving me for some other purpose, some calling that will bring me around to the right side of things again, opening my eyes to some ray of hope.
Iím not that man.
So when Wiggy crawls back to the bench bearing two buttered rolls, I ask: ďSo whereís the wine?Ē