A submission via e-mail
Paul, I'm leaving your notes off for now, I think it's more fun to read the story on its own without your explanation. I'll post my thoughts later after I let this settle, but you are quite the master of the metaphor!
Oh and if you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out Daniel's story below.
Reed's Chance to Let It All Hang Out
Reed's hand stole around his back like a thief, slipped gently around the hidden blade, fingers crept around the worn leather-wrapped handle and squeezed, squeezed as a lover does his mate's hand. His footsteps echoed dully around the alley as the sun cast it's yellow rectangle at the mouth of the alley. Occasionally an errant shaft of light would slip through broken windows as he walked, but this far down they seemed to lose their enthusiasm, so that by the time they reached the garbage cans and empty boxes and trash they sulked, hid, were ashamed of their brightness and strove to hide it. He walked on, barely noticing the shafts of light, his pace regular, relaxed. He strolled, at his ease, his long legs shortening the distance easily, his hand tucked casually into his jean's waistband, a dark-haired youth out for a lazy afternoon's walk.
The end of the alley loomed in front of him, a tall canyon formed by a pair of looming buildings. They both stood empty, their exposed flanks dark and wet like horses that had been run too long, too far, their every surface spattered with mud, garbage, and the flickering green bodies of flies. The way out, the light at the end of Reed's tunnel was bright, filled with light and energy and motion, vastly unlike the dark, barely quiescent alley; the street was a golden spaniel leaping in the sun, a ribald counterpoint to the alley's bare-ribbed piebald mongrel sleeping the heat of the day away.
The length and height of the alley magnified the noises of the cars moving up and down Main St., the shush of their tires a constant background counterpoint to the flashes of colour they revealed. They dazzled his eyes, each colour as sharp as a shard of broken glass, strobing their steely glare in his eyes as each candy-losenge shape darted by the thin opening; flicker flashes in his eyes, instants caught forever in his mind: a child nursing at a red sippy-cup, a bored teenage girl resting her head against the glass window, an elderly man in a suit purposely hunched over the wheel, headed to some vitally important encounter. One after the other, a solid wall of profusion, noise, colour, chrome and glass. Movement, aimless purpose, engine noises rattling broken glass like monkeys at their cage bars.
His old canvas All Stars were quiet on the rough concrete of the pavement, each footfall swallowed up into the cathedral-heights, buried by the echoes from the street. He didn't even pause as he walked through stagnant water, old newspapers, small white morsels of pigeon filth; his step was unhurried but purposeful--he knew where he was going. He was headed to the end of the alley, there to be framed between the looming buildings, their broken glass windows watched like eyesockets in soot-greyed skulls, the rustle of pigeon wings their only reponse to his presence. And it was there for him when he arrived, framed in light, the goal so long sought, the sun making of him a young god, striking highlights off his dark hair, off his bright blue eyes. Now he would have his chance, and no one, not a soul who saw him in that triumphal moment would ever forget him. All eyes turned toward him in that frozen instant.
Tires squealed regret on the pavement as he raised the blade.