Pardon Our Dust
Uncapping the cognac she paused to inhale the bouquet. Reeling with anticipation she reached in her purse and removed a Thai silk gift box filled with cocaine. Catching her eyes in the vanity she became aroused with her own desperate glare. The cocaine set the table for the cognac, and, within thirty electric minutes she was two feet above the barren concrete floor, dancing before an array of picture window panels, eight feet tall. She started singing "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess. She kicked off her shoes. She moved on to "The Very Thought of You" and, finally surging through the membrane between boundary and rapture, shimmered out with a surgically faultless rendition of "The Way We Were." Her symphonic dosing toward heaven that day ultimately triggered a one-way ischemia and she fell into a bundled utility pillar before falling on her back, irretrievably deceased. Her Thai silk gift box caught across an exposed copper flushing and rent a gruesome run over its budding, floral top.
The decedent woman’s name was Maresa Cathcott. An electrician’s fired apprentice, a now-very-near-homeless-addict-of-substance-and-substances, walked into the fourteenth floor, SE, and found her body rigid on the dusty floor like an upturned spider. The electrician’s apprentice was there to steal copper grounding wires and switch sets. The body before him turned his endeavor into a reflective afternoon. Dizzied by the woman’s youth and demise in turn, the apprentice made aim for the executive washroom to subdue his onus of societal obligation and rigor appreciation. Inside the vast bathroom chamber the bottle of Martell spanked his ruminative palate to zero. Siphoning the neck for a long draught the apprentice bowed in firm respect of the fine poison. Everything felt level and clear, and would for two more hours with the ration he was divinely allotted. As the evening light offered its last visibility on fourteen the apprentice studied the features of Maresa. She reminded him of a girl he danced with at a spring formal in Annapolis, twenty years earlier. He watched the line of shadows work along her neck, chin, nose and brow, and, in a matter of minutes the woman’s figure and space was lost from his view. The man felt a tickling on the back of his neck and reached for the culprit. In the darkness he felt the abraded gift box and let it fall before Maresa’s frozen feet. The apprentice failed in his aim to relieve the floor of its copper; instead he walked to the corner of the barren office floor and took in the ceaseless stream of taillights and headlights beckoning far beneath his feet. He wondered if the feeling on his neck was an acknowledgement of the living force still in the dark space, the circle of interrupted joy and being he could only honor by not disturbing the place and echoes of it. Pulling in the images of frantic activity through the storm glass he couldn’t help but appreciate the symphony of being against the stillness of not--nor ever again--being. Without alternatives or show of dignity, the apprentice left behind the cognac on his way back through the master door and took up the burden of rejoining the moving fray beneath him.