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Closing Time Essay, Research Paper

Closing Time

by Mike Loader

R1/2 and assorted characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi.

The song ‘Closing Time’ is by Leonard Cohen; the cover of it upon which the fic is based is performed by Fairport Convention.

I really don’t think this is a good idea, you know. I mean, I

am Akane’s sister, and the wedding was just yesterday. A

congratulatory party at the Ucchan’s, especially with the crowd

that’s been invited, is not going to be a happy event.

Still… someone’s got to keep an eye on these nutballs, and

Ranma and Akane are, ah, busy. And noisy. Anything to get out of

the house; I think I prefered it when they were fighting.

Whoever invented pet names should be shot.

Yes, I know I use the name ‘Kuno-chan’ all the time, but

that’s different. I’m _trying_ to be annoying.

Ah, here we are… whoops, drat. There’s a big banner with

‘CLOSING CELEBRATION’ over the door. That’s a shame; I liked

eating here, and Ukyou could be profitable at times.

Oh jeez, this is scary. Ukyou’s grinning like a cheshire cat

on happy pills, and Ryouga’s in the corner hammering away at a

piano and gulping something that could get you tipsy just by

looking at it. Kuno’s trying to sharpen his bokken. Shampoo and

Kodachi are playing darts, and I have a nasty suspicion that I

sold the picture of Akane that’s taped to the dartboard. About

the only two people in the room who aren’t about to go off like a

firecracker are Happosai and Cologne, and even they seem

subdued.

Everyone in the room has a glass in at least one hand, and

there have to be at least thirty empty bottles and glasses in

pieces around the place.

Oh boy, Ukyou’s coming over. I can smell her breath from

here; no wonder she’s grinning. How much have these people had

to drink, anyway?

“Hey, Nabiki, nice to see you. We’re,” and her voice careens

into the sing-song of the young or insane, “Having a little party

of Ranchan and Akane, aren’t we?”

There’s a chorus of shouts in the affirmative, and

someone throws a glass at her. She doesn’t even bother to

dodge, and it shatters on the back of her head. Ow. Okay, this is

freaking me out.

“I just stopped by to say hi, gotta be going,” I say, backing

towards the door. Ukyou’s hand on my shoulder refrains me. Oh

crap.

“How about you stay and party with us, ‘Biki? We’re gonna

sing in just a second.” I nod, more to keep her grip from

breaking my shoulder than anything else.

She shoves me into a chair next to Kuno, which is

something of a relief, and goes over to Ryouga. There’s some

talk, and nodding, and the piano strikes up. Ukyou turns to the

rest of the room, and grins.

“How many of you here know ‘Closing Time’?”

There are a surprising number of hands raised.

Ukyou laughs, and I squirm in my seat, eyeing the door.

“Good, cuz Ryou-kun here is gonna play it, and then that’s the

end of it.”

Shouts and bottles are flung at her, along with a razor

hoop from Kodachi. Ukyou tosses a chair at the Black Rose in

responce, and picks up the portable kareoke microphone that she

installed a month back.

Huh. Looks like Kuno-chan brought his old guitar. I

remember when he was actually kinda cool with that thing,

before he started the whole Samurai Bob deal.

Konatsu emerges from the back room with a fiddle, and I

don’t think I like this at all.

The music picks up, with Ukyou holding the microphone to

the Lost Boy. She’s practically in his lap, but I don’t think he

notices. Well, now that she’s started nibbling his ear I think he notices, but he’s not paying her much heed.

o/ Ah we’re drinking and we’re dancing and the band is really happening o/

o/ And the Johnny Walker wisdom’s running high o/

Ryouga’s got a low, kinda sad voice, not unpleasant.

Someone hands me a glass and I have a sip; cider spiked with

something stronger. Ukyou is all over him at the moment; she’s

calling him Ranma but he doesn’t seem to mind. I take another

sip, well, more of a chug.

Shampoo and Kodachi leave the dartboard and begin to waltz. Kinda funny, actually.

o/ And my very sweet companion she’s the Angel of Compassion o/

o/ She’s rubbing half the world against her thigh o/

Yeek, if they get any closer they’ll be screwing on the

piano. I’ve had enough of this kinda stuff with the newlywed

rabbits back home. Ukyou’s really lost it.

o/ And every drinker every dancer lifts a happy face to thank her o/

o/ And the fiddler fiddles something so sublime o/

Konatsu and Kuno are really playing well together. Hey,

what’s Ukyou doing… oh jeez, there went her shirt. I don’t know

how Ryouga’s still handling the piano with those things in his

face, not to mention what’s sitting in his lap. Kodachi and

Shampoo stop waltzing together and take note of this.

o/ And the women tear their blouses off o/

o/ And the men they dance on the polka-dots o/

Uh-oh, Kodachi and Shampoo have decided to follow

Ukyou’s example. Great, I’m stuck in a room full of half-naked

drunks, and none of them are male.

The old letch just noticed this too. Looks like the Amazon

and the gymnast are regretting their decision already.

Damn. I don’t like the way Konatsu is looking at Ukyou and

Ryouga.

Maybe I should be worried by the way the room is

spinning? Nah. It’s good cider, think I’ll have a bit more.

o/ And it’s partner found and it’s partner lost o/

o/ And it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops: o/

o/ It’s closing time o/

The fiddle breaks over Ryouga’s head, and he jumps up,

spilling Ukyou on her butt. Looks like the fight’s on.

Ukyou pouts and tosses the microphone to Kodachi, who

grabs it and continues the song while punting Happosai off

Shampoo’s chest. Who the hell invited him, anyway?

Maybe a bit more cider. My glass seems to be empty.

o/ Ah we’re lonely, we’re romantic and the cider’s spiked

with acid o/

o/ And the Holy Spirit’s crying, “Where’s the beef?” o/

Funny, funny, you know. I bet the song just says that, but

it really would explain all the pretty colors in the room. Ah,

hell with it, more cider. My glass is empty, but there’s a bowl

of the stuff next to this pouch of Kodachi’s.

Boy, Kuno-chan can play. I move my chair a bit closer to

him to hear better.

o/ And the moon is swimming naked and the summer night is fragrant o/

o/ With a mighty expectation of relief o/

o/ So we struggle and we stagger down the snakes and up the ladder o/

Ryouga throws Konatsu through a wall, and returns to the

piano. Ukyou gloms on to him about halfway there, and starts

trying to peel his shirt off. She’s got a sorta desperate look in

her eyes.

I lean against Kuno, who really is very good with that

guitar. I wish he’d play more often.

Kodachi hands the microphone to Shampoo, and proceeds

to try to dice Happosai.

o/ To the tower where the blessed hours chime o/

o/ And I swear it happened just like this: A sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss o/

o/ The Gates of Love they budged an inch o/

o/ And I can’t say much has happened since o/

o/ But Closing Time o/

I almost feel sorry for Shampoo; you can hear the sheer

wretchedness in her voice. She was the one who stumbled upon

Ranma and Akane’s little ‘intimate workout’ on top of the

Furinkan clock tower. After that, well… there really wasn’t

much point in trying to win him. The wedding was a week later.

Funny that she isn’t dropping the words. Aah, who cares. I

think I’ll lean on Kuno-chan a bit more.

Kodachi lets loose a hail of clubs and razors. She doesn’t

hit Happosai, but she sure does a number on the counter and

wall.

Hey, this is good cider. I hope my glass doesn’t run out

soon.

o/ I loved you for your beauty but that doesn’t make a fool

of me: o/

o/ You were in it for your beauty too o/

o/ And I loved you for your body o/

o/ There’s a voice that sounds like God to me o/

o/ Declaring that your body’s really you o/

Happosai lets off a bomb, blowing a wall out and knocking

Kodachi across the room. A bit of the ceiling falls in.

Another bit of wall breaks as Konatsu staggers in from

the alley. He gives a shriek of rage at… hey, Ukyou and Ryouga

are really getting it on! Well… sorta. Ukyou’s slurring Ranma’s

name even as she tries to unfasten his pants, and Ryouga seems

almost oblivious to the fact that a half-naked woman is rubbing

herself against him. Wonder where he learned to play piano.

Konatsu’s not a music lover; he tackles the Lost Boy yet

again. Which send Ukyou to the floor yet again. She giggles

drunkenly… jeez, this is kinda sad… and crawls over to take the

microphone from Shampoo. Good timing; Shampoo’s busy trying

to nail Happosai. Her bonbori are making new windows in

interesting places.

o/ And I loved you when our love was blessed o/

o/ And I love you now there’s nothing left o/

o/ But sorrow and a sense of overtime o/

Ukyou’s crying now. I cry too. So sad.

Kuno is nice enough to slip a free arm around me, and I

kiss him as a way of saying thank you. Ooooh, look at the pretty

colors dance! More cider!

Another bit of ceiling falls in as Shampoo’s bonbori gets

in a few hits on the support beams. Happosai throws another

bomb, and… oh, that was the grill! Pretty fire!

Konatsu’s trying to twist Ryouga’s head off. Meany.

o/ And I missed you since the place got wrecked o/

o/ And I just don’t care what happens next o/

o/ Looks like freedom but it feels like death o/

o/ It’s something in between, I guess o/

o/ It’s Closing Time o/

Ukyou bursts out into tears, and I do too. Poor Ukyou.

Maybe she can stay with us. Or maybe not. The pretty colors are

getting me confused. Maybe more cider will help.

Tossing the microphone to Happosai, who’s just thrown

Shampoo into the ceiling, Ukyou walks over and… hey! She’s

hugging Kuno-chan! I’d better punch her.

Ow. My hand hurts now. Should I pour cider on it? Nah, will

drink it instead.

I climb into Kuno’s lap and watch the flames from the

grill begin to devour the wall. Pretty.

o/ Yeah we’re drinking and we’re dancing but there’s nothing really happening o/

o/ And the place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night o/

o/ And my very close companion gets me fumbling gets me

laughing o/

o/ She’s a hundred but she’s wearing something tight o/

Happosai sidles over to Cologne, still singing, and tries to

cop a feel. He must really be drunk. I laugh.

Cologne doesn’t seeem to mind much. She must really be

drunk too. I laugh again. Things are awfully funny for some

reason.

She does take the microphone from him, looks sadly at

Shampoo, and raises a glass.

Ukyou staggers over to Ryouga, who’s back on the piano.

Konatsu’s sticking out of the wall. Guess Ryouga won.

o/ And I lift my glass to the Awful Truth o/

o/ Which you can’t reveal to the Ears of Youth o/

o/ Except to say it isn’t worth a dime o/

She shakes her head and unsteadily leaves, after handing

me the microphone. Guess she put a lot of effort into Ranma.

Not as much as Akane did, though! Hehe!

Ooo, I get to sing! Goody! Maybe someone will give me Yen.

Or cider. I like cider.

The room is blurring.

o/ And the whole damn place goes crazy twice o/

Shampoo is bawling, Kodachi is nailing up a picture of

Ranma, and Ukyou is sobbing her eyes out and trying to remove

the tattered remains of Ryouga’s clothing. Ryouga is glowing a

little. So is the fire that’s eating the back room.

o/ And it’s once for the Devil o/

Kodachi flings a razor hoop at Akane’s picture, cutting it

in half. Was a good picture too. Boy, Kuno-chan can play. He’s

cute, too.

o/ And once for the Christ o/

Ranma’s picture gets the same treatment. Ryouga’s really

glowing. I would be too, if I were him and Ukyou were doing

what she’s going.

Aw, I wanna hug Kuno-chan cause he’s cute. And drink

some more cider. I’ll throw the microphone to Konatsu.

o/ But the Boss don’t like these dizzy heights o/

o/ We’re busted in the blinding lights o/

A bit of the roof collapses in flames. I don’t know which

is brighter, the fire or Ryouga. Pretty colors.

Are those sirens outside?

Ryouga stands, Ukyou falling away in a nude, sobbing heap,

and starts to yell something. I close my eyes. The glare is too

strong, and I think I’ll go to sleep now. Kuno-chan makes a nice

pillow.

Roar, light, black.

o/ Of Closing Time. o/

320


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