Sunday, October 12, 2008

Excerpt from Dream in a Market Place

Somewhere between the short end of dreary and that pink sunset store is the answer. I live here but I don’t know where. The city is a cloud of centuries, a washer and dryer amid sea shells and parrots, the brown hills in the distance and now smoke far off and in my mind, or is it, a thunder, a rumble. A plane taking off? A building demolition? Guns? A subway?

I’m not driving. I’m walking. I have to stop. The show’s over. They wanted me out. I’m out. I’m sick if them anyway and now I’m here on the ground and my feet are on this street and I stop to feel the dust between my soles and the cracked concrete and sweat between my socks and my skin and I slow down on this empty street that funnels to a street of glass and sleek metal running both sides. I see no one on this street.

The Directory in the center of the wide block offers the usual shoes, candles, drugs, birth control, headaches, veterinary services, small pets and large, weight loss, lingerie, leather, Danish furniture, a new one I haven’t seen. Prison for a Day. I’ll check that out. International phone cards. Yes. Yes. Oh, there is a red phone tacked to the directory. Oh and a name. WILDERNESS Mall. Not a tree in the place. How quaint.

A nearby window boasts a yellow golf cart with a mannequin driving. He wears a black checked hat and matching pants, white shoes and a yellow short sleeved shirt. His mannequin brown eyes stare at the wall. His wooden brown hair flares beneath the golf cap. His gold clubs lie in the cart behind him. On the back wall I see distant greens, a flag that reads 7. The sign on the window says, NO DAY SALE. The glass door says, CLOSED.

I didn’t realize until this moment that when you are fired from a very important position such as mine; when you life has been programmed to the needs, the paradise of want and must and men and stink and sidelong glances and midnights in red hued bars and red-eye flights and dinner way from home and bank accounts, the clicks of leather heels on marble steps, fresh shirt in the morning, croissants with your cappucino wa wa, that once the party is over and you are shown the door, the echo that was you soon dissipates in the streets I am walking, where I am the only a walker on the No DAY Sale.

At the end of WILDERNESS MALL the forest green metal chairs and tables funnel to a belt that seemed hung in space. I hold the rail, but there is no down, no up, no side. No clouds in the sky. No sky. Te belt makes no sound. It is a dust yellow as are the rails. It moves slowly as if inviting me, but there is nothing anywhere; not a smell, not a sound, no object or frame of reference other than the forward movement, or is it, of the belt. I can not see an end and if I look back, no beginning. Perhaps I have died?

Is this the way to heaven? If so I am disappointed. I’m not up for angels, although I could use a little quiet. I grew up in Western Massachusetts and I needed hills; I’d lived in California where the landscape is bigger and wider than time, where the Pacific I saw from our beach filled me with such awe that I could not imagine a godless world. Where sunset and my shadow in sunset were one and the murderous nights of my discontent dwindled in the small fish bones and shells that lay dry and scattered in sand, in the relentless afternoon wind that was me.

I half expect a clearing, a stop, perhaps a voice, or man with a ledger and a beard, or a women with blue eyes smiling in her lipstick and robe beckoning, but the belt runs into everything, into nothing, into lights of no light and I feel my brain thin out, a form of pastel drifts in, then out, a pink, a green slice, a glitter turned flat, a ride beyond Wilderness Mall.

I count my breaths, one two, three, four...inhale and exhale. I lose count and begin again. Once I get to ten, but six and seven seem the lost moment, six and seven in the soul, the numbers between promise, action and infinity, and then back to one. I hear my breath as a whisper. I feel a thunder, a beating, a smooth running din. I know it is the sound of my blood.

Absurd. Twelve years of my life shot. I walk into work one day, my portfolio wide as Guatemala in 1952, a deal on copper in pocket, that with another mine closing down I pulled off without the usual coup and assassination, with clear, long-term goals in place, I had made the agreement that would keep everyone happy (for a few weeks anyway, before greed and avarice gained footing), wherein all the ducks had lined up, all three monkey’s saw what they saw. Howard Craff called me in the office, a gray walled affair with a view of ground zero, where at that moment a strange mist continued to rise. Without a word, he shook his head and I knew what I knew. I would walk with six million dollars, but I would walk NOW.

I didn’t clean out my desk, I didn’t call my wife. She had left months ago. My kids were just the right side of high school. The elevator down was a mixture of froth, rage and thank you. Now I ride to seamless uncertainty. I feel grateful, if not slightly apprehensive that resolution for my history lies ahead and more so, that I can find a place to amend my life, to become one with it, rather than the object of it. I know full there will be snags in this journey. I’m on my way to NEW.

Suddenly the dust-color fades and I am in the church in black choir robe with white tunic in the front row in front of the organ to the left of the aisle to the alter. I am singing “Bringing in the Sheep”. My eyes are fixed on Sally the soprano soloist directly across from me in the second aisle.

Short Sally wears red curly hair. Her ears are tiny, her mouth full. She sings with her eyes half closed. Her voice is slightly deeper, yet higher than the rest. I am nine years old. The hymnal is still a bit heavy. The organ’s music fills the room. The Lord is all around me and I am filled with mysticism, trance, heather and fresh flowers cut for the day and moreso, right now I am filled with enormous lust for Sally the Soprano. I want to leap at her, touch her, although I’m not sure where to touch or her or why. I am strangely attracted to her throat.

I remember my second cousin Louie stood in the backyard with me while I dug a hole to China. He told me that to have a baby, a man and a woman had to do IT. but then I didn’t connect the horse to the wagon. I wanted the soprano, but I didn’t know how.

Much more to the point, I feel outside the game. Getting fired for what seems like a regular, run of the mill (at least at this height of the game) seems incongruous, if not downright full of crap. How I’d ever got that far inside the system to make such decisions is a miracle. I guess I wanted the soprano’s throat and I had to find other ways to get it, only in this case, we had six other countries with their necks wrapped around the corporate penis.

The deal was not unusual. We were opening a micro-chip outlet in a tiny village just outside of Macedonia. We bounced the contract off three other countries, two in Africa and one in for chrissakes, Belgium. Belgium won. The Africans were not happy. This was one counteract that because of the so-called “priority” was not to be totally entrusted to price, but on the flip side, we knew there would be repercussions. We need the African’s for two other projects and we had to keep them somewhat at each other’s throats to complete the deal and we had to do it while ensuring our support for two coups and a democracy that was not ever going to work. And we had to not short change them if that was possible. Our boy on Pennsylvania Avenue couldn’t sell fly swatters to a pig at noon and his wife had just discovered his affair with the Secretary of Labor’s secretary, in this case, a male, not great news in the globalization process, but nonetheless, a prickly (no pun intended) pear to be buried with late Fall and early snow.

You might ask what this has to do with me? Well over the years I accumulated wealth beyond all of Sally the Soprano’s dreams and my memory of her is stuck in the time frame of nine, thus I picture her still standing, eyes had closed, cherubic mouth mouthing, “Bringing in the Sheep” and I have shared the necks of other beautiful and exquisite creatures with far less innocence, and in many cases utter depravity, but of late, my lust for money, and by now money is not the issue; it is power and as I gazed out the window the day of my firing when my illustrious CEO canned me with silence, I realized power was the only reason I had to go on. It no longer held meaning. As Ferdinand Celine said, “Debauchery is not walking into a whorehouse; it’s not walking out.”


At October 14, 2008 at 12:10 PM , Blogger Frank said...

Excellent similarity presentation!
Frank E.


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