green tortoise and white lizard

I go out with friends to a bar I used to go to when I was younger– I’m giddy to be out and dance/skip over to ask a couple of witresses if the band’s playing tonight. they look at me a little pityingly and say, they already played. I go into a side room that has a bed in it– this room was apparently “mine” at some point previously. I’ve left a pair of shoes on the floor by the bed. I look through the medecine cabinet to see if there’s anything I still want. my plan at first is to crash for the night, but people keep coming in– and the truth is I don’t really belong here anymore.

I see a flare as the kitchen door opens– someone’s flamed a pan– and then, after a little while, another one– only this one grows, and people run around to put out the fire.

I discover I’m riding that hippy bus, the green tortoise– it’s unclear whether I’ve been on it the whole time, if the bar is itself located on board the bus. the thing has misleading dimensions for sure, much bigger inside than out, which I realize as it takes a corner and squeezes through a narrow gap in the alley past a limousine full of stupid drunk frat boys.

I’m sitting at the bar when someone brings my friend to me because she has apparently drunk so much she’s barely standing– she doesn’t strike me as particularly drunk, more exhausted, practically passed out on her feet. I take her over from the guy who brought her to me– her weight is nothing, so I pick her up and carry her out and lay her across the back seat of my car. she asks me for a pillowcase or something, and I pull a soft cotton shirt out of my bag and hand it over to use as a pillow– I also happen to have a throw blanket in the car and put that over her, then close the car door and turn to go back to the bar– but I’ve just started inside when she calls me back and says, the dome light’s on— I open and shut the door and tell her it’ll go off in a minute, then wait until it does. she calls me back a couple more times for different reasons. finally I get back inside, a little exasperated at this point and rolling my eyes.

a little while later the person I’m talking to breaks off in mid-conversation to point back behind me and say, what’s wrong with her? I turn and see my friend framed on the other side of a plate glass window– she’s standing in the middle of the kitchen, her eyes darting around following something below the window frame– she’s making sudden, staccato little screams, tho there’s no sound, we can only see her mouth moving– I run around into the kitchen to find out what’s upsetting her so much and see a little creature scurrying back and forth behind the sink– it’s covered in green gunk, and I can’t quite tell what it is– after awhile I manage to get it cleaned off and discover it’s a pure white lizard. at first I’m afraid it will bite me and that it may be carrying disease, especially because of the gunk– but I begin to tame it and make it my friend. sometimes instea of a lizard, it’s a rat. the other people who work in the bar are grossed out and conspire to trap it– but as they’re sneaking in at night with their handfuls of horrible glue traps, it sneaks out the open door and makes its escape.

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