My date took me to a bar that was open late. We sat round a splendid banquette like pashas. At the table one tier down, a girl sitting with her friends unfurled a really strange laugh.
It was high and sort of squeaky-grunty, very loud: within moments she had drained the whole place of its attention. People began to smile at each other over her head. A drunk guy tottered up to her, plump like a teddy bear, his arms comically held out, a skewed fishermen. The one that got away was this big.
“Can I have a hug?” he asked the laughing girl, somberly. She couldn’t speak for squeaking but held up one hand for a high five. “Hug,” he said, nodding, insisting, reasonable. Drunk. So she opened up her arms and hugged him over the table. All the while her maniacal laugh was rising over his shoulder like a series of photos of the moon. Her male friend said, “She’s allergic to you.” Her female friend giggled. The drunk guy straightened and slowly smiled and only even slower realised, a bit hurt, a bit taken aback, “Really?”
“Nah,” said the girl’s friend. “That’s really her laugh.” The girl’s shoulder’s shook and her honking squeals kept coming. By now everyone was laughing: the cute girl wiping the bar counter, the drunk guy’s drunk friends, my companion and I holding our sides, leaking tears. The hugged, drunken guy turned a sloppy somersault on his way back to his mates: an unforeseeable magical item.
There was quite a lot of moon left in the high sky on the walk home but now these cold clouds have dulled it over. The exhaustion that comes from laughing too much is not like any other form of tiredness that I know of.