New York

May 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

In act four of The Tempestuous, Gretel slaps the male protagonist for his advances and darts through a series of passages, ultimately finding herself cornered as the impassioned Slate approaches, his cheek still red from the sting.

I chase her into the bedroom and pull her onto the bed. She’s underneath me. Finally, she submits.

The curtain drops.

***

My wife slowly sinks and rises like the ebb and flow of the tide. I suddenly realize she is New York, cool and panting in the night breeze.

***

My shoes click on the pavement and I step around my fellow pedestrians as neatly as a motorbike slides in-and-out through traffic.

In front of me a warning light flashes red on the crossing indicator. I am reminded of a pivotal scene in The Consumptive–the hero is forced to dodge through car traffic in order to escape his enemies pursuing him through the crowd.

I pause a few moments. The hand ceases flashing. It’s a solid red. My enemies are almost upon me. They’re smiling. One of them has a pistol pointing out of his left jacket pocket, another a knife edged with an exotic poison.

The cars have just begun to move across the intersection when I plunge my self through it, putting my hand out to slow vehicles and slipping through, half-tumbling through gaps and waving my briefcase wildly, like a baton.

***

I have never been to New York, but I see it sometimes out of the corner of my eye. It flashes like a heat mirage. Through repetition its images have been ingrained in my psyche, for me and for millions of others. For me Toronto becomes New York, Egypt, Paris; as do all cities, persons, and things.

***

On my way home I come to the edge of the bay. The lake is grey and desolate. My briefcase is heavy and my legs tired. I undo my tie knot and watch as the sun’s red light drops towards and then beneath the horizon. Out of the red of the sunset I expect to see raven-black helicopters bristling with weapons. The soldiers we know dropping to their knees–in surrender–at the end of the war movie Squad. I sit down near my briefcase and cry, my feet hanging over the dock.

I hear the rough growl of an old, struggling engine. Behind me a cube van rolls to a stop. A white, pockmarked door slides open. Men in ski masks and dark, heavy coats stream out, rushing to the end of the dock. Before I can react a man picks up my briefcase and two others grab me by either arm. I am pulled into the van and gagged, my arms and legs held flat to the ground. My pockets are searched and one of the men pulls out a long knife.

I slip their gag and spit into the faces of my captors, as the martyr Kirke does in Red City when he’s captured by the pinstriped Moors.

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