Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The baby'd been asleep awhile and we were dug in, too. Sara went to check on her and found that outside our window, far away beyond Manhattan, a fireworks show was taking place, embers arcing into a ceiling of clouds, for no particular reason we could think of.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Enterprise - 31

On weekend nights—and some weekday nights—Sean and I drifted through the Village, the Lower East Side, seeking delirious fun, unusual experience, sex with strangers. I don’t know. That we should do this systematically went without question. Though we spent everything we had to spare. And were never satisfied. But again and again, the early evening atmosphere was recharged with the tantalizing promise of it all.

Sometimes we vomited in the street. Sue and Sean and I were at a 24-hour diner frequented by college students. Wasted. I made that feeble, desperate gesture that somehow seems heroic: I tried to drink another drink. In a moment there was a pall cast over me. One moment to the next. It’s good times. Then it’s very bad. I abandoned my pancakes, staggered down the steps and out the door. Got down on my knees and gushed a sour torrent of vodka-grapefruit puke into the gutter of little Stuyvesant Street as passersby smirked and walked around me.

On another night Sean called out to our cabbie from the back.

“Excuse me. Sir? Excuse me.”

“Yeah boss?”

“Would you mind pulling over, please?”

“Pull over? What?”

“Pull over. Please.”

“Where, boss?”

“Pull over. Here. Right here. Please.”

He stopped us along the Park Avenue median. Sean got out and stood between the cab and the curb, fingers in his pockets, hunched against the chill. He tilted his head ever so slightly forward and disgorged a stream of viscous, milky liquid on the street. He spat once. Twice. Straightened up and looked around. He wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his jean jacket and got back in the car.

You go out at night hoping to have sex. To wind up in the cushiony bed of some girl who’s fresh in town, living in a duplex with four or five friends from college, working as an associate producer at a startup that’s gaining traction in the mobile marketing space. You long to enter the rarefied space of her minuscule, shag-carpeted bedroom, redolent of rose perfume, sandalwood and cigarettes, cluttered with artifacts transplanted from her recently vacated dorm: the lava lamp; the shoes in a heap; the little all-in-one stereo; the dresser strewn with hair ties, nail polish, crumpled bills and change; the poster of “The Kiss.” To sit beside her in the loveseat, doing your best to caress her breasts, waiting for the requisite period to elapse before she ascends the ladder to her loft, expecting you to follow. Is that not where you belong?

But you vomit in the street.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

As I ran this morning I found a deck of cards strewn along the path at the entrance to the park. The ten of spades. The queen of diamonds.

The Enterprise - 30

A woman named Elisabetta was installed in the vacant cubicle across from mine. She was tall, beautiful and exotic, some scion of Italian nobility. She wore heels and furs and haute couture, big earrings, makeup. Her perfume—florid, musky, syrup-thick—hung in the doldrums and clung to the partitions. Every now and again I’d hear the clickety-clack of her painted nails on the keyboard. She was like some prostitute that no one could afford.

Ostensibly she was in sales. Or business development. Or perhaps sales development. According to the whispers, she was fucking an investor.

One day Derek came storming out of his corner of the room to address her, hands on hips, his rich-boy pretty face twisted with rage.

“What’s the matter with you?!”

“Derek?” she blurted, swivelling around.

“What’s the matter with you?”

“I do not know what you mean.”

“Can’t you do a simple thing? A SIMPLE THING?”

“Whaat? Whaat?”

“I give you numbers to call. Names. Numbers.”

“I did eet! I am doing eet!”

“I’m going to have to fucking do it all myself!”

“I tell you I am doing eet. Calling, calling, calling!”

“Useless!” Derek exclaimed as he turned and walked away, wishing he could use some other words.

For a few more days, she huddled in her mink and played along. And then one day, she failed to appear. Then the next, and the one after that. After a week or two, Steve started taping notes to her monitor, first thing in the morning: “Where’s Elisabetta?” they read, along with the number of days that she’d been gone.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

On the train this morning, a heavyset Orthodox Jew muttering prayers from his Torah and a haunted, middle-aged woman just muttering.

Monday, September 05, 2011

After the wedding we walked back on 20th Street, from the Castro to the Mission District. I looked up at the hills to the west where low clouds passed quickly, obscuring the base of a giant, skeletal steel structure, tri-cornered, pitched alarmingly forward, perhaps to beam thoughts down to the populace, or to collect them.