Saturday, August 2, 2014

the endless struggle

she seemed to know me and it was awkward because i did not recognize her at all. she began to reference past projects and people that were familiar to me but i could not fit her face into any of them. when i stepped into the elevator she followed me and kept talking. she peppered me with updates and information and seemed to know that i had been working on location. i examined her features and mannerisms as she spoke and tried to extract any vague recollection but it was futile. someone passed in the hall and even said her name as she stepped into the elevator behind me but it only sounded like a dull thud to my ears. i suddenly realized that all her chatter had distracted me from the simple task of remembering my floor and i stepped off with her to get my bearings again. i then found myself being ushered through her project. room after room packed full of the best and the brightest all brainstorming each facet of the job. i recognized almost everyone and realized the magnitude and intensity of the project was simply more than i wanted to take on. she kept saying, 'so, when are you coming on board?' i told her i hadn't wrapped out yet and most probably needed a breather before i dove into something so intense.

i finally shook her and as i made my way to my room i found myself in a boxing match between my need for immediate sleep and what it would mean in the long term to turn away this level of work.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

the spy

she looked like louise brooks, wore a black and white toile cheongsam made of linen, strappy pumps from the 20's and smoked an unfiltered cigarette from a cocktail length ivory holder. she was taller than most of the men in the room and stood alone near the champagne glass pyramid. her reputation was that of an outspoken atheist and there were whispers that she was a spy.

i could tell she was memorizing faces and who spoke with who. i wondered who she worked for and if my face was on her radar.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

new baby

she had new baby and had just purchased her 2nd house. she insisted she wanted to come along with me to do a bit of fancy shopping and have lunch even though she was in the middle of a move. when i opened the door i was surprised to see her without the baby. when i asked her about it she said, 'it's fine. it's asleep in the car-seat at the house. it will never even know i'm gone.' i looked at her closely and clocked simmering contempt. i knew her man was out of town on business and she didn't have any help that day. i resisted the urge to inquire any further and collected my things. as we walked in the intentionally charming and eclectic shopping district, her speech and behavior struck me as manic. every window held magnets that drew out her 'oooohs! and 'aaaaahhhs!' she giggled and chatted endlessly about nothing. she flipped her hair and grinned coquettishly at men that passed. any time i obliquely broached a topic that might lead us into a domestic conversation she quickly changed the subject and i saw shards of glass glint in her eyes. i began to suspect that she had killed her baby. i wrestled with myself and wondered if i should take some action. i decided to observe.

the excursion went on much longer than originally planned and as the hours walked by i pictured her tiny infant strapped in an upright position mewing like a weak kitten as it baked to death in some undisclosed location. when she suggested i drop her at her new place i agreed, even though i fully expected to meet some horror there.

she opened the door to her swanky loft and i saw that it was swarming with her female relatives- sisters, aunts, mother. all were abuzz in service of the infant- which was alive, pink and contentedly asleep. she blew past the baby without a glance and insisted that she walk me through the place. visually, it was stunning- modern, clean, light and airy. but as i walked through the rooms i could feel a slight bounce in the floor and it felt hollow under my feet. my eye traveled over the joins in the walls and windows and indeed everything was 'off'. it was as though i was walking through a hastily constructed film set.

after the tour, we exchanged superficial pleasantries and i made my exit.

Friday, July 25, 2014


bill was funny, smart, 5'3", a billionaire and complained to me constantly that he couldn't find a woman he was compatible with who didn't just want him for his money.

amy was tall, blond, willowy, mobbed by men like an ovum surrounded by sperm and completely sick of it. she just wanted one man who wanted her for her and would be true.

i introduced bill to amy. the chemistry between them looked like little charms being thrown into the air. they had two magical dates, one of which was in period costume. amy looked like a proper lady and when she opened her door to bill, even though he looked entirely like a leprechaun- she was smitten. they laughed and laughed. i thought, 'they see each other'.

one afternoon amy surprised bill by leaving a silly note and some flowers on his doorstep. the door opened violently and revealed bill's angry wife and behind her, a house full of sullen, spoiled teenage children. walking by in his boxers in the deep background was bill with a paper tucked under his arm just coming out of the loo. accusations, denials, and a tearful, heartbroken amy resulted.

i later told bill he was an idiot and that he should keep his fantasy lonely life to himself.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

the girl

i was young and optimistic. i had not yet been hurt by anything too deeply and so i still had the ability to trust and believe. my colleague had, months earlier been to this very place to interview this very girl with no success. she had not just been frozen out, but very quickly felt herself in danger and left (she was sure) with barely her life.

i followed the girl through her world- a labyrinth of poverty in the shape of an endless succession of ramshackle rooms thrown together from other peoples garbage. there were holes to step over, large pieces of rotten plywood to lift, filthy, rotting curtains to brush through. all the while i followed her, she kept laughing and looking back at me over her shoulder to see if i was still keeping pace. 'when can we talk?' i asked her after many minutes had gone by and i was hopelessly lost. 'when we get to the roof, silly!', she answered playfully. i wondered if she was leading me to doom or really taking us to a place she would feel comfortable opening up. we finally reached a room with a tube of sunlight describing itself from the ceiling to the floor in the thick atmosphere of dust motes. she squeezed herself with difficulty behind a thing that looked somewhat like a ladder and started to climb. my claustrophobia clutched and scraped at the inside of my chest. 'i can't follow you that way.' i said offering no other explanation. she stopped and put a little mischievous grin on her mouth, 'i was just kiddin', you can do it this way.'. she then very easily crawled up the front. i felt rattled now. she had tried to scare me and that left me with worry.

when we reached the roof, a wave of relief washed over me. she said many times that she liked me and that i was not like 'the other one'. as i interviewed her i began to lose my objectivity. her words were interlaced with so much hatred for things that were not of her world that i found myself growing angry. soon i was on my feet challenging her every small-minded notion. my voice was growing louder but i had no sense of it because of the injustice i felt in my heart.

i took a breath and saw the anger in her eyes. it was then i remembered where i was and that i had no idea how to get out.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

the whale

i was staying at a spectacular 1930's seaside resort that rested on a massive rock jutting out into the water. my room was beautiful and after a late lunch on the patio i decided to walk and take in the beauty of my surroundings. all the railings on the paths were cast concrete sculpted to look like wood and under foot were native stones carefully matched and laid out by hand. the foliage was mature, canopied the path here and there and felt wild. i looked out onto the sea and felt bathed in blue. the surf was breaking in a crisp, cinematic manner and seabirds punctuated the sky like musical notes. as i watched the surf break, my eye caught a large streak of grey. i looked more closely and realized it was a whale being tossed toward the beach. i felt my heart start to pound as i ran toward the shore. i grabbed at my phone and tried to dial the correct agency but my mind was drawing a blank. as i drew nearer i could see that several strong men had already waded in to help the creature. with great effort they tried to keep her oriented so her blowhole was upright. as a foamy wave retracted we all saw a gaping wound on her head with brain matter falling out in little gelatinous clumps. almost in that same moment we saw her newborn calf struggling in the heaving surf. several of the men swam out and pulled her in. she was crying like any baby. we waited for help. the sadness was a boulder on us all.

oyster man

he lived in a shanty tucked away under the boardwalk on the pier. his skin was the color of browned butter and his hair was dull with dry salt from the sea. he said he ate only from the ocean and did i want to see? i put on my goggles and dove in after him holding my breath as i watched him pry oysters from the creosote impregnated piers. as he chipped away, clouds of marine detritus released into the sea. one by one he placed them into the net bag tied around his waist. we broke the surface for air and then dove to the bottom for urchins. i followed him out of the water and pulled myself onto the boardwalk. he handed his bounty to a man in a kiosk and said when we came back it would all be cooked and delicious. i told him i did not want to eat anything but thanked him for the adventure.