Thursday, June 11, 2009
Back and forth.
I wasn't wandering these government offices, really. I was mopping the floors. Hallway floors, specifically.
Dressed in a blue jumpsuit made of denim, Manuel posted in blue stitching on a white badge over my left pec, mop in hand, bucket on 4 shaky wheels. Back and forth, back and forth. No one even noticed.
As I passed a mirrored-glass door, I noticed, though. I'm this dark after 2 weeks straight of dangerous tanning. I look like Manuel, wearing my long hair hidden under a sun-bleached mop wig. My eyes are darker than usual, thanks to the contact lenses covering them. My beard is gone, only a tiny bit of scruff on the chin.
Back and forth. The mop is almost cathartic to me. My hands are so soft, not inclined to this kind of hard work. It feels like I'm on a Zen mission at a Buddhist temple, sweeping rocks back and forth in a garden courtyard.
Down the hallway I go, my mind only on my work. Sadly, my work isn't about actually mopping this floor, but what lies ahead of me at the end of the hallway.
As I slowly make my way down the floor, back and forth, a few people exit doors, locking up behind them. The door at the end of the hallway stays closed.
Back and forth. I slow down a bit, but as the second-to-last doorway on the left side of the hallway opens, an older woman with grey hair and skin lighter than mine steps out. She sees me, smiles at me, locks her door and walks slowly on the wet floor behind me. One door ahead.
I knock on the door, and mumble "Economía doméstica." Si, si, comes the reply.
I open the door, unlocked, and push my mop bucket in as I mop up the remainder of the hallway, leading the wet wicks into the room. My head is down, noticing a little of my reflection in the gray murky waters below as it splashes concentric circles outbound toward the rim of the bucket.
I look up. The gentleman in front of me is seated behind a desk of grandeur. The office cost more than the annual payroll total of every previous worker down this hallway. It's a shame, but that's not my concern. This is not my country.
The man is seated, still, mostly ignorant of me. I'm not surprised. He doesn't recognize me, even though he saw me not 8 weeks ago, barely 3 miles from this very building. I was light skinned then. My hair was long, my eyes lighter. I was about 4 inches taller since today I am wearing flat shoes and hunching my back as a housekeeper would likely do, one who is used to moving that mop back and forth.
Back and forth.
He looks up at me only momentarily. His eyes don't show any sign of recognition, and as I move closer to his desk, I scan the area behind him. His hands are on his lap, and he's reading a paper. I quietly and discretely see that he is reading something concerning the very reason I am here.
As I center myself on the floor, mere feet from his desk, the mop falls from my hand, falling away from me, the desk to my right. It clatters on the floor, loudly. Louder than it should, but I did give it a push for exactly this reason: noise. Professionals know how to use sleight of hand and noises to catch the attention of those who are unaware of the trickery at hand.
The bald, bloated, well dressed gentleman snaps from his paper and sends his eyes to his right to see what the commotion is. He begins to speak, "Cuáles son usted que..." I cut him off, pounding my palms hard on top of his desk, flat.
"You know what I'm doing, you fat fuck." He looks at me again, his brow creasing. "Who the hell..." he stops. He looks again. He looks at my hands, noticing how soft and unscarred they are. He looks at my face. "Dios mío." He didn't exclaim it at all, it just came out.
"Don't ask for your God, you fool." I turn my flat right palm into a fist, and softly bang the desk. Again, professionals use tricks to grab attention of others. The desk is easily 3 feet deep, made of gorgeous mahogany, shined and coated with a glassy finish. It's perfectly kept, with no extraneous paperwork or clutter, just as a member of the Congreso de los Diputados would have it.
I softly pound the desk with my right fist, his eyes glaring at the rhythm. He barely notices my fist moving to the right, to the empty corner of his desk, then moving forward.
He tries to lurch upwards out of his chair, but lacking wheels and lacking stamina from his grotesque form, he isn't quick enough. I hop forward, shoving his shoulder down harshly, my hand squishing into his soft suit and soft body. "Sit down, bastard." I tell him, looking him dead in the eye.
He's scared now. His phone is 3 feet to his right, out of reach. Everyone has left, so there is no hope for help here. It's just me and fat-fuck. Err, Mr. Fat-Fuck, as it is.
"What do you want" he mangles in English. "Isn't it obvious?" I ask, staring at the beautiful gold ring on his finger. He notices my stare and looks down. When his eyes make contact with his ring, he gulps, returning his eyes to mine.
8 weeks ago, I was dressed better than him. The meeting of the minds was a surrounding of powerful people, mostly fat bald wealthy powerful minds, if you can call them that. Powerful, only inasmuch as my own customer allows them to be. When we met, briefly, at his car after the event, the tiny box I gave him weighed only 8 pounds, 3 ounces. 3 ounces of it was cardboard and brown wrapping paper. 8 pounds was pure gold sovereigns. Worth around 71,000 Euros.
"You voted wrong," I explained, clearly and concisely. When you deal with puppets, you have to speak in simple words. "No tenía ninguna opción, I had no choice," he mumbled, slightly shaking in fear. Coward. He forgot my hand was still on his left shoulder. I didn't.
I grabbed at what little hair he had, at the back of his neck, behind his ear. Hard. "Aaaiieeeee" he yelped, his mouth open and his eyes closed, in pain. Good thing his eyes were closed. The surprise barrel of my Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta in his mouth when it tried to close as I lessened my grip caused his eyes to pop wide open.
"Kray, Kvray" he mumbled, my pistol muffling his true words of Que, que. "What, what? It is funny to me that your last name translated rhymes with brainsplat. Is it funny to you?" He tries to nod his head no, but I hold my weapon tightly, preventing him from moving much. I laugh maniacally, seeing the tip of the pistol popping through his chubby cheek, left then right. Back and forth. It reminds me of the cheeks of a certain Spanish broad who had a similar appearance with me the other night, except it wasn't my Beretta that was making her cheeks pop.
Back and forth.
"I gave you 100,000 US in gold. You were told how to vote. You failed. Not me, but you failed someone, and we both know that these things don't happen." He nods his head yes. I withdraw my nickel-plated wonder from his mouth. "No, don't talk. Don't ask how I got in, or when I will be back. It's better to wonder IF I will be back. You have a chance to redeem yourself." He nods again, a single tear finally breaking from his left eye, down his cheek.
I move my pistol closer to his face, my hand holding the back of his head gently to prevent him from flinching back. The tear touches the tip of my gun, and I wipe it off quickly, pulling it back and reholstering it in my the pouch clinging to the back of my jumpsuit. Tools and such, they say. I only have one tool. It fits nicely.
I bounce back 2 feet to my right, sidling his desk. He's surprised at my speed, surprised again when I bounce back 2 feet to land centered on his desk. Again I pound my palms on his desk and stare at him. I open my mouth to speak, then close it. I look at him again, seeing this cowering blubber of power about to burst into tears again. I smile, bend over to pick up my mop, turn to the left, and finish the floor around his desk.
He just stares at me, but I don't notice. I have a floor to clean. Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Introduction mini-chapter from "Finisher", a fictional novel written under the name Chicago Sane, nom de plume, due out on Amazon in Spring 2010.
The entire text of this book will be available on this site in coming months. Stay tuned for more articles.