Daniel Adler’s Night Out in Naples

daniel adlerLast night me, James, Murphy and Alex went out. We walked down the road we took to get the pizza, and couldn’t find anything. We asked a handsome young Neapolitan who walked with us a good ten minutes to lead us to a bar. He even offered us Marlboros. We got there and James bought the first round and then there was talk of another and shots and pretty soon we’re chasing our JB with Peroni and are eager to go somewhere else, which is just up the street, Blue Moon. And there we started mingling and drinking and Murphy smelled the dank waft of potsmoke and we walked outside and asked for a hit, which they refused, then granted once it had burned slightly down.

I just met Alessandro sitting in the breakfast room of the hostel. He’s a Florentine, and he said the people in South Italy are nicer than the closedminded Northerners, who don’t inquire of you or ask for anything. I said I like those kinds better, they’re more like Americans. And then I pointed out the contradiction between being openly friendly and more dangerous in the South, compared to the meaner, gentler Lombardians. And he said that it all depends on what kind of person you are and that for me, as a writer, he recommends I stay in the south, meet people…

And I thought back to last night, when we were getting friendly after they gave us the rest of that joint and this little guy with a coiffure kept saying my name and I couldn’t tell if he was gay or not. He was making me repeat after things and he and his friends laughed. Then I laughed and said in English, yeah you fuckers are probably making me say all kinds of dumb shit, and they stopped laughing and furrowed their foreheads, then told us they had lines of Coke from here to there for one Euro. But we knew this was getting into a different realm and we decided we should probably go, and the little guy calling my name, all in the glow of the blue neon, and that girl who spoke the most English, about as much as the Italian I know, and how I couldn’t tell if she had a boyfriend or not, them all floating away in the distance…

So this morning after I played Blue Moon by The Marcels while we ate breakfast, James and I went to Pompeii, which was kind of a disappointment. Granted James was superhungover and being kind of a little bitch, and I only had five hours of sleep and really just wanted to curl up in a sunny patch away from the wind and nap, but still. The mummies were awesome, because they were all fetal-positioned and writhing in pain, and I literally couldn’t tell what was rebuilt and what was real. But quite honestly I think Ephesus is cooler.

Then we came home and I napped in Napoli about earthquakes and woke to see James in my room with Alex, talking about Scotland and Canada’s different army strategies. Last night, James had taken off his shirt and showed us what British push-ups are like, which are basically putting one arm and leg forward into a crawl position and then pushing-up, which may have been cooler than the French push-up, which Alex showed and is just dropping from standard pushup position to plank and back again. But what really impressed me about James last night was how when we were walking up the street, past the yellow buildings with green shutters and he was probably talking about how he was stabbed when some raghead who threw rocks at the coffin of his friend on Poppy Day pulled a knife on him after he had punched him in the face and he had to cauterize the wound and then turned around and with his mate’s help put the guy in the hospital for eight weeks or how his mom buys 200 pounds of meat from their local butcher every month, or how he’s obsessively in love with Scilla, who works here and who he knows from Skibbo Castle, who always seems to be sick or upset or have some issue, it was after he had concluded one of these great stories,  when he expertly tossed his empty beer bottle to the ground. The bottle fell with a thud and cracked beautifully into five pieces, as though made of clay. That bottle had been born to crack. James fulfilled its destiny.


By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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