Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Woman. Phone.

A scene from some hours ago:

With my notepad and iPod, I sit at a round, white oak table in the basement-level cafeteria at my store. This is where workers come to warm up their leftovers for lunch and eat, the lunchroom being perfectly positioned right next door to a sewer. Over on a black leather couch, leaned against a newly built wall with circles of dried up plaster lays [Elian], a short Honduran pastor and security guard. I can't hear but I'm sure he's listening to what he always listens to as he drifts to a noisy snore on the couch on his lunch hour, which is the latest in self-glorifying, self-righteous Gospel. The likes of Paul Baloche or Steven Curtis Chapman or some such mess. We are both Christians, and even though the artists I'm listening to sing religious lyrics as well, I highly doubt he'd approve of them. I highly doubt he'd approve of any of the Christian music I head-bobbingly listen to. That's ok, I highly doubt I'd approve of anything approved by him. I put my iPod on pause.

On top of his gospel, his snoring, and the hum of the refrigerator trying to keep someone's leftover curry and rice with beans cold, I write in this notepad. I feel the underground Parisian expatriate artistic genius in me flow whenever I do, because Barnes and Noble told me that Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin wrote in this very (kind of) notepad. I loved Hemingway's story on abortion debate over Spanish beer at train stations. So, B&N and have won my integrity and money over because they told me that by buying their product, I could take part of something that was once attached to a chauvinistic, drunk and possibly racist writer. So I begin to write an idea for a sci-fi novel about a cyborg.

A salesman and a carpet stockman come in and quietly play Gin Rummy at $2 a hand at a table next to mine. I write. Elian snores as Paul shouts to the Lord, the frig hums, and all is peaceful.......

Until [Scarlett] bursts in the lunchroom, screaming into her phone and talking faster than certain Ford Mustangs can drive. Lucky Elian, gospel saves him from the racket, but the salesperson lays down a Full House, turns and asks "what the hell is wrong witchu'?"
She waves him off and continues yelling at the phone. "Nah, nah, what da f*** you mean 'dat's just how she is? Dis is her second time wit dat s***, dat's money out my purse, ya understand? I can't afford to keep payin' fo da way she is." She says with rapid fire speed.

You see, Scarlett woke this morning out of her queen-sized bed in East New York, Brooklyn, got dressed, went down to her building lobby by way of a piss, trash and graffiti-covered elevator, crossed a children's park to the street curb and found her Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with the word "Bitch" on the front hood, and "stop f*****' wit him or I'm beat yo ass [exact wording]" on the doors. This congenial message was scratched into the car by way of a key. In script.

"Watchu mean sit and talk....if I see her, I'm straight smackin' da s*** outta her, dats' it. I on't wanna hear nothin', I don't wanna sit down s***."
The two employees laugh and return to their game, the salesman taking $2 out of a thin stack of singles the stockman has next to him.

Scarlett is throwing her arms around in forceful gesticulations, pacing back and forth with buggy eyes looking all about and an angry, pouting twitching mouth. She puts her hand on her hip to listen. "What...da what? Nig**, is you stupid, I don't know why she does it either. Why don't you ask her, cause I'm telling you if I see her, it's gon be problems, for real."

I mean, I don't know. Scarlett and the citizen on the phone say the woman who did it maybe insane, or perhaps she targeted the wrong car. Again. Logic condescendingly shows me that the woman was angry because Scarlett slept with the woman's fiancee of some years. Well, not angry that they slept together for the 10th or 20th time, but angry that she caught them for the second time. Yes, a second time with the very fiancee Scarlett is on the phone with now. None of us, "us" being me, the two card players, Elian, and the rat I just seen at the edge of the cut open ventilation shaft above Elian, are worried about Scarlett's consequences. Coveting thy neighbor's husband is more a lifestyle for her than a sinful indulgence, and she can take care of herself.

By the turn of the conversation, I'm sure she's learned her lesson, though: "Aiight, good, so you payin' for it then. you still wanna go to dat hotel next week?"


  1. As long as the fiancé keeps paying for his mistress's damage done by his bride-to-be, Scarlet's not going to learn a lesson. Maybe that's a good thing, as she'll continue to give you blog fodder with her low-brow drama.

    Great entry, though!

  2. WOW! I read this shortly after I read a post about how obnoxious and crazy woman can be.

    I hate when women get mad at other woman because a man is cheating on them. Scarlett isn't in a committed relationship. She's free to do what she wants. The fiancee needs to realize that the guy is the one doing something wrong and get rid of him.

  3. Don't Feed The PixiesAugust 13, 2008 at 11:18 AM

    Fantastic piece of writing - i could almost smell the air in that room. You talk about Hemmingway, but i thought you captured his reportage style in places and loved "Coveting thy neighbor's husband is more a lifestyle for her than a sinful indulgence" - which made me laugh.

    PS - cyborgs have been done to death - i'd look elsewhere unless you have an original angle?

  4. Hilarious.

  5. The Clandestine SamuraiAugust 14, 2008 at 7:37 AM

    @jb Thank you!

    @jk Well, I mean, Scarlett being completely free is a matter of debate for some. I'm not sure one can say that she's completely immoral in doing what she's doing, but yes, the fiancee should probably move on.

    Neglect the pixies: I know, cyborgs probably have, but it's the idea of the story I'm trying to get across, not the glorification of the cyborg itself. I'm, of course, going to read other cyborg stories and see how it's been done.

  6. Sounds like that cafeteria is good inspiration for keeping one's eyes and ears open. I like this piece because it appeals to the senses, and not just the usual ones.

    And I wish Moleskine would drop the embarrassing celebrity Hemingway and Chatwin pitches, because I just plain like their notebooks. They're durable, the pages don't fall out, and they take ink well.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  7. hehe that was a brilliant post :)

    And yeah, is Ms Fiance an idiot?! The guy must be loaded for her to stick around...

    Doesn't say much for her depth of character.

  8. great posting.

    i loved it - this juxtaposition of you connecting over time and space to hemmingway interrupted by a woman's drama of modern day life.

    i think what i liked most about it is that it shows what writers have to create amidst ... and the result - a combination of your own observations and real life - is something really memorable.

  9. Oh my, such a drama... wicked funny though! It's always interesting listening to other people's phone calls. Some people don't know their own best, when their share all their private life with strangers in a lunch-room... xD

  10. Is THAT what "Hills Like White Elephants" is about?!

    I read it a long time ago, and just remember being incredibly puzzled by what the characters were talking about (was one of the characters also kind of a gay stereotype, or am I confusing that with a different one?).

    "Coveting thy neighbor's husband is more a lifestyle for her than a sinful indulgence, and she can take care of herself." I like the way you write!

  11. It's pretty insane how we follow the same patterns our entire lives, and yet will still ask the same questions of ourselves. Never once stopping to examine what it is we are doing that is working or not working in our lives. That's where the comedy in improv comes from: examining human pattern and behavior. Great post.

  12. Hilarious - and perfect!
    I love Scarlets attitude
    "whats her problem?

    So typical...

  13. All I am going to say is wow lol.


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