The Man With the Signs

On a rainy night in UL, Chuloun stood watching the water fall off the sign that he had created 50 years ago. No. No. Stories can’t be told like that.

Chapter 1. – Signs

“I stood under the sign for the Cafe’ (NOTE: Get name for the cafe’ and make time correct) that had been closed long before the Russians even thought about leaving. I remember this one not because it was my first, or even my best, but because it was how I met your mother. That club was the first to play disco in UL and for us, it was all about the Disco. If I can squint my eyes, I can see my wife. Actually, it was from behind. She has quite a behind I tell ya. I saw her from behind the first time and even in that little shake, I knew it was something special. I couldn’t dance, but I enjoyed the music and I enjoyed watching your mother.

“I tell you I got paid next to nothing for that sign, but I knew that once it was up, I could point to it and say that I did it, which would lead to money and recognition. Well, if anything, at least, a steady job, which was enough back then. My friends used my influence to help get into the club. People think of those times, especially when they hear the word communism, and have pictures of uniformity, but it wasn’t so. I mean, we were uniform in the sense that we earned pretty much the same and ate pretty much the same, but I remember everyone looking different. My friends and I, when we decided to go to school, would get their early and smoke cigarettes and watch the girls go into class. Thinking back, I wish that we had just watched the girls without the smoking, but that can’t be helped. You can’t look back and wish your memory be any different than what it was.

“The owner of the club loved the work I did. He said that it was my sign that had his place full every night. He gave me a pass for life in a sense that the main bouncer for the place, who didn’t let many men in there unless they were with a girl, was instructed to let me in wherever I wanted to go. For me, it was the grand time of UL. I had a pass to the best nightclub in town, my work was seen, and I was about to meet the woman I love.

“I, myself, had nothing against the Russians. So, it’s strange now, to stand here in the rain and look at this sign and listen the the rain sound exactly as it did that night I met your mother. The sign is still there. Your mother, she is still here. All of us are rusted and not remembered as we were in our grandest time, but that’s how things go – no matter what position you hold.”

Those were the kind of stories my father told me. I listened but didn’t listen. Like all sons I guess. I still see him in the signs around the city. They are everywhere. He became immortal in our city. Though not many people would know him by name, they would understand his work. I wonder what he would have thought of the day the Russians left town? I wonder if he would have been ashamed of me for not watching and celebrating our independence – but I will tell you that I was never that into feeling that things were accomplished as a country. I was 16 the day the Russians left town and what was I doing?

I was dubbing A Tribe Called Quest’s first album over and over again to get ready for sale. I was pretty sure it was going to be our biggest seller since the Guns and Roses Tapes of a few years back. UL was pretty much like everywhere else in the world – giving way to the Rock and allowing Rap Music to influence how we did everything.


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