I’m racing through a cloud of smoke in an east Austin neighborhood. I slam the brakes as a young boy darts across the street. Gunpowder flows through my air conditioner and into my nose as the boy joins a group of friends hiding behind a row of parked cars.
A giant boom startles me as a flash of light bursts into the night sky. I nearly crash as I roll over burnt cardboard debris. Crackling and hissing of bottle rockets shoots down the alleyway as I curse underneath my breath.
The temperature drops every second as I quickly walk up the hill on South Congress Avenue. I’m still a bit startled from the New Year’s warzone of fireworks and sirens echoing down the corridor.
There’s tremendous joy and energy flowing through the room at the Continental Club as Tomar and the FCs grace the stage. A man in a black top hat with flashing electric lights grooves along in the front row, pausing to receive a plastic champagne glass from the waitress.
Tomar leads the crowd through “Get Down On It” as everyone prepares for the midnight toast. He offers a sentiment felt by many about the hectic year, offering encouragement for the future. Couples in every direction blow plastic horns and kiss while cheers ring through the final seconds of 2018.
The party is on with fast driving funk and vintage soul. Tomar grabs a tambourine that could ricochet off the buildings across the street while people go bananas, surely he has a few spare ones in the back incase he shatters it while pumping up the crowd.
It’s truly an uplifting and hopeful evening as I shiver back to my angled parking spot. Bring on the New Year I think with a smile, just leave the cardboard grenades in the rural outskirts.