Sunday, July 1, 2012

Excerpt from The Keeper of Watts



She appears, an elegant dark haired woman, a sheik, sleek, whisper, a tundra of delicious, a yowl of lick and bite, a push, a soft wet dance; she glances at the teapots for sale, she likes the ones that whistle; she comes from an island where magic wands are antique and blush catches the best man alive, who at this moment, is me.
            “You were saying?” A siren whines closer.  “Not here,” she shouts to the world around us.  “Not here.”  Her teeth are dearly bright white.
            “Had I known,” I say.
            “I see you have tried the American Egg Foo Young.”
            ‘Would you like a mint?” I say, reaching in my vest pocket.
            “Ah yes, a mint.” She slips it onto her tongue.  “This is a market to end all.”
            “It depends which end of it you’re on.“  I suggest with a nod that we sit at that the outside cafe at the far corner of the street where it turns off into dust and glass. 
            We sit.  We order Chapatti bread with fresh palmetto and French goat cheese.  We order kosher Merlot from Green Bay, Wisconsin.  We order gazpacho with oysters on the half shell.  I know she is a spy and I know we will be friends forever.
“Have you considered marriage?”
She takes a sip of Merlot and tears off a piece of bread. Her hands are smooth, her
fingers long and thin.  Her left pinky sports a gold ring Made by David from Marin with little kangaroos embedded all around.  She picks up the cheese knife and spreads the goat cheese slowly on the bread. 
            “I have considered almost everything,” I reply.
            “Interesting,” she says with a bite and a sip of wine.  “Which came first?”
            ‘So you are having lunch with a stranger to discuss the meaning of life?”
            “Don’t be naïve.  I am the dancer for the Keeper of Watts.”
            “Or the minuet of war.”  
            “It is a very nice dance floor.”
            “I prefer the old dance floor at the Fontainebleau,” I sip the merlot and gaze off down the street where a small man in a tunic offers scatter rugs to a fat woman with three small children.
            “You really must meet the Keeper of Watts."  
            “I intend to.”
            “So you quit your position,” she says flatly.
            “Which one?”
            “Don’t be cute,” she says.  “I love you and I know about your beach.”
            “I doubt most of it.”
            “Oh yes, you are being designed for the mission.”
            “I am not designed by anyone,” I feel irritated with this woman who uncrosses her legs, leans toward her plate and nibbles her bread and cheese.  “Are you destined to stun?”
            “I am the way to the Keeper of Watts.”
            “Right.  And if I call back, you’ll rehire me.”
            “Something like that.  You can sit at our table.  You’re always invited.  I mean why make things difficult?  You get what you came for and we all share the prize.”
            “And what is it this week?  The palmetto is outrageously fresh and lightly biting, the Chapatti has obviously been shipped from El Gran Forno, the wine has the a slight trace of aged bleacher, but otherwise, this is a treat with a sideshow, complete with a back room and an extra quarter to get in.  What is it?  Bedouin camel on toast?  Sudan headcheese?  Iranian donkey butt with last month’s oil?  Maybe Rwandan pizza with steering fluid.  How about baked KUwaittee on a stick?”
            “Obviously you watch the wrong movies,” she says.   Her eyelids lower to the plate in front of her.  “You and I will go to your beach that will become our beach and we will be in love forever, once that is, once we or you, I should say, have met the Keeper of Watts.”
            “I can’t wait.”  
            She  stands to wipe her chin. “You may wish you had.”
            I think she will press fresh lipstick to her lips, but she cuts me a glance suggesting disbelief that she would make up in public.  She takes her small leather purse from the white tablecloth to her right.  She pauses. 
            “Soon,” she whispers and then she disappears.

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