Avenging Olimpia

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4-23-09 13:00 –– Chet’s still not quite among the living. Leave out being half nude on the floor with a shiny dick flopping around an appendectomy scar, and I almost wish I could say the same. I often wonder if I could just disappear––what it might take; if one’s trail is completely erasable. With computers and blackberries all threaded up our iAsses, all those kids and lonely fucks who can’t pry themselves away from the damned things can forget about ever becoming anonymous. Not that they’d want to, I guess. Idiots. What I wouldn’t give to wander this world with only the clothes on my back, the money in my pocket, and allegiances in the morgue. Might have given it a try, too, if those bullet-ridden pricks in the hallway had turned out to be my quarry. Now I realize I may never know.

Or will I? I place the gun in Chet’s hand using one of his socks, snatch the script from the sill and his cell phone from the bed. “Figure it out, asshole,” I tell him, not that he can hear me. Not that I care.

On my way out I give René the story: “Chet came in with some girl and a bunch of booze, paid cash for the room, and an hour later the two of them had an argument. You went up to investigate and heard her screaming something about money. That’s when her pimps came to the rescue and got by you. They’ll put the rest together, like how Chet got off a few lucky shots, slipped on some oil, and blacked out. Tell them the girl left in tears, and begged you not to call the cops but you did anyway.

She was pretty, early twenties,” I told him. “You thought she was a student from Columbia University at first, but when you heard her talk she had some kind of accent.”

René laughs and says it’s so perfect he doesn’t even have to write it down.

“Except when you put it on your website,” I say. He gives me the thumbs up and I’m out the door. With any luck, the only people who will ever know I can be found at the Flophouse will be dead or on a red-eye back to Australia.

I turn left off 123rd onto Frederick Douglas Boulevard just as the cops are making a right and I lower my eyes behind the brim of my hat. At that moment, a profound sense of loneliness washes over me like warm piss. I figure it’s reparations for my wish of anonymity. Truth is, I want to go home and find Olimpia at the stove cooking up bacon sandwiches for us to have with a bottle of last night’s wine. We were healthy, poor and in love and I don’t think anybody even knows anymore how great it feels to have it that good.

At night I would write while she stretched at my feet. On the television would be some ballet turned down low, and now and then I would look down and watch her mimic the way the women held their hands or elongated their beautiful necks. I didn’t know shit about ballet but I knew she was good. You can tell things like this. It’s why the seats are full. True beauty awakens something inside. Like art.  That’s what Olimpia was: living art. People would pay to watch her make bacon sandwiches, there isn’t a doubt in my mind.

I see the top of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and something makes me turn in its direction. I should be headed back to my apartment––an address I will never write down for fear of the wrong person reading it––and taking apart the screenplay page by page. Two people were dead because of it, and there might’ve been more. I needed to figure out why that was so. They were filming its contents for the world to see yet having its blueprint in my hands was worth lots of spilled blood. And who sent the order to pick me up? Derek? The bitch? The troll? Couldn’t have been. I would have never made it out of the studio if they knew anything.

Someone was following me. It was the only possible explanation. Sahara had sent me––sort of––so I might want to start with her. But she would never have known I would have ended up in a friggin’ Starbucks talking to a couple of angsty, film brats. None of this made sense, which was probably why I was crossing the street and headed for Avalon Morningside Park. If St. John is selling guidance, maybe there’s a variety I can use.

(continued)