“No one, writes Stacton, ever sees the invisible, draconian judges of his title. ‘But they are there: the whole world is a courtroom, every life is a trial,’ and, though we plead, plead, plead, in the end we are all found guilty — if only of being ourselves.”

The two of them were left standing for almost ten minutes on the wooden patio of a bar which overlooked the city lights. The atmosphere was optimal for brooding and daydreaming should one decide to walk away and leave the other. Fine sand collected in the corner. They waited for their drinks with a slight bend to their lip, the confidence one may see modeled on human prosthetics — mannequins to scale, naturally, only these were dressed down for the occasion. Under the confectionery cloak of consumer victimization, in store-bought costumes, they braced against the truly steep price of unrequited loyalty to a stranger. Considering the season in the desert, neither believed a conversation could begin by stating just how crowded it was, or how warm. So the camaraderie was at best ceremonial. 
But Tiggs noticed that they currently wore the same shirt to two very elaborate interpretations of The Invisible Man and The Wolfman. Unlike his own, Mark’s shirt was torn for verisimilitude. Wondering if Mark also realized this, and in a streak of hapless charm, Tiggs envisioned themselves on opposing teams of some game. Adjusting his bandages, he prescribed a quick glance at his phone. June and Gracie returned from the bar.

June carefully handed Tiggs a drink with eyes focused down past her painted nose, so as not to spill on her oversized Minnie Mouse gloves. Gracie returned with one drink, Mark at the same time asked about the liquor. The group leaned in towards it’s center.

The bartender said that someone left the oysters out, Gracie explained. Sorry cat, they had to throw them away. A small frown faded as she raised her glass.

Que pues, really? Mark looked at June.

June confirmed. Mark donned his rubber mask.

I have to take a massive shit as revenge, maybe clog their only toilet. Mark reasoned this walking away, then produced his best howl. The sound was flattened by the membrane of his hysteric mask, a wolf in ecstasy, climaxing in staccato at the shrill of a frantic virgin in his clutches who’s innermost urge to commit to crisis has found a victim. The purest indication of sound, like a still-frame — Wolfman agape. The diagram of white plastic teeth and peppered polyester fur symbols of his commitment to anarchy by natural right.

Gracie gave a Pavlovian shout but Mark continued walking.

Remembering the existence of teams, Tiggs felt a small victory standing with June. He stared at June to make sure she realized the invention of his politicized atmosphere. She didn’t, and only returned his foreign stare. Busy aligning his bandages, Tiggs misunderstood this.

The bar’s interior was lined with a tapestry one may find within a casket. Amber bulbs made the room look like gingerbread. A poetic space mediating between death and food. The three leaned against the nearest wall like weary travelers sleeping on the dark side of a shaded dune. But as the inevitable sun rounds, the weary travelers too begin to realize that it is not their position in life which keeps them cool, but simply the time of day.

I’m going to check up on Mark, hold my drink? June took Gracie’s drink, while bells on her shouldered fluorescent wings rang, lost in the crowd of other costumes.

June looked like she was holding a sheet of transparent glass in front of her. Her gloves swallowed the two blue-hawaiians.

Why aren’t you speaking to Mike? He thinks you don’t like him.

I don’t know, Tiggs paused. He was concerned with containing June’s irritation, and whether there were any way to maneuver himself and evaluate in retrospect what the others may have interpreted. He aimlessly adjusted his bandages. Like our egos are the only really interesting things about us, but I guess I —

What on Earth are you talking about, Tiggs? Please don’t start giving my friends crap. They’ve been trying to reach out to you all night and all you’ve done is mumble —

A poorly cropped and tinted etching of Beethoven stared at him. Who goes to a Halloween party on November first, he asked.