"This doesn't feel right. I don't feel monstrous. I'm not sure you're doing me justice, recounting me like this." Said the misshapen man.
* * *
"This feels like a fairy tale, us here in the dark, talking amongst ourselves." The princess's voice was Ella Fitzgerald or a testicularly challenged Tom Waits. As if to prove the point, she lit a cigarette. Puffed it bright, lighting her half smile in the otherwise pitch room.
There were other voices, too, but all too distant, so I stood, thinking, meditating on the labored breathing of the misshapen man (though, squinting, maybe there are two of them? I couldn't tell) and the slow sighs of the princess.
"Hey," I asked the darkness. "What's your name?"
* * *
The sun broke through the clouds as the two hugged and parted. She called back over her shoulder, "Sorry this took so long!"
"Time is fine," he replied, but a grey truck turned the corner, burying his words, "We'll do it sooner next time."
During lunch, there had been genuine laughter, and highway divider eyes. He'd confessed to having a crush on a coworker, not the one that had a crush on him, and they'd both laughed. She chided him: "You're what? twenty-five? Aren't you too old for that shit?" And they'd laughed.
The sun, amazingly, strangely for September, warmed the wind, which gusted and rustled yellowing trees.
* * *
Mizu lives in Detroit, Michigan on the 9th floor of the Chatsworth Apartment building, in a one bedroom apartment she vacuums daily. There are bamboo shoots of various heights and girths potted in scavenged or stolen urns, rain barrels, jam jars, flower vases, and seven kinds of pots. Her closet is sparse, half a dozen variations on black or grey pencil skirts, ten white or grey button downs, and three sweater dresses: White, Grey, Black.
Mizu does not own pants. Mizu has enough garter belts and tights that by the time she has worn the last one, the first has aired completely out. She does not do this, though, oh no. She instead wears through tights and leggings obsessively, and more than one pair of runny thigh highs are reanimated panty hose.
* * *
Today, the day this narrative starts, is November Third, 2012. This story takes place in Detroit, and some satellite cities. These are cities you'd be familiar with if you were from Detroit, because let's write what we know, n'est pas? And they're not places you'd know if you were from, say, South Carolina, or New Orleans.
It's important to note that those two are different in scale only.
This is a story about living on the edge of cataclysm. This is the fourth of a second when the riders of a roller coaster are suspended, looking down the hill, the biggest on their ride, and they aren't falling, but they may as well be. In some ways, that not-falling falling is often worse.
Lots of people die of heart attacks, no one dies of fright.
This is about that space, what it looks like.
Arguably the two most important cities on the East Coast of the United States of America (Estados Unidos) have just been hit by one of the largest hurricanes in the history of the country. There may have been larger, but they weren't recorded.
(That may be a theme that emerges, later, and necessarily breaks the fourth (and third) wall: if something isn't recorded --tweeted, posted to a wall, tumbled, blogged, txt msg'd, or otherwise communicated to someone else, does it happen? This is different than lonely trees toppling or growing in forests.
The answer, apparently obvious from the outside, is yes: yes of course these things happen.)
On November third, a quarter of NYC is still without power, and the expected high temperature is forty eight degrees, with a low of thirty three. The number of dead old people, too stubborn to leave their apartments will be in the dozens and Republicans will hawk this number, screech about incompetence and the neglected argument is this:
If the GOP were in power, FEMA and other country wide disaster response teams would not exist as more than twitching shadows.
Not that there's much more life in it now, but none of that is Detroit, it's the brothers of Detroit, protecting and smiling and ignoring the beep beep beep.
Detroit was termed, "The Canary in the Mine" when the world's economy started twitching and leaking, way back in 2010. In 2012, the chap book "Discordia" By Molly CrabApple explained that, Greece, as a country, had also sprouted wings and a black lung.
Greece is tiny compared to los Estados Unidos, and as poor as the vacant tracts in Detroit, pero pienso que estais igualmente en ruina.
Counting spoons on the Hindenberg.
Mizu called her friend at 4:20pm, she thought it was funny and idiomatic. They chatted about class, an assignment, and whether or not they'd make it to the writer's conference in Chicago in a month.
"Depends on the election, really." dijo que.
* * *
There is a basement (so what?) deep en un barrio de Dearborn, circa de Detroit, sí? And in this basement the princess smokes cigarettes under a paper chandelier and draws art nouveau patterns on the complicit body of her ex novio with a broken pair of scissors.