Monday, October 31, 2011


A tall, lean, well-dressed man enters the champagne room behind an Essex plaza. His tie hangs tightly from his neck, where the collar of his white dress shirt is buttoned and folded so stiffly that it looks like it might hurt him to breathe. His blonde hair is cut semi-neatly, unlike his facial hair that appears uncertain on whether to settle for scruff or beard. A cord strings from inside his trench coat to a bud in his ear where he periodically places two fingers and speaks. He outlines the room, hands behind his back, watching. He stands serious in the food line.  He touches the bud on his ear, “turkey? Yes sir. Mustard? Okay. Green beans?” He faces the server and holds out a plate, “ Yes, green beans. Thank you.” 

He sits at his table and monitors guests. One gets out of hand, “mam, I’m going to have to ask you to retard your anger.” Though he tries to keep a straight face, his laugh lines are evident behind a pair of dark sunglasses. When she looks away, he pockets her jello shots. When the meal is over, he goes back to his wall. 

Music starts playing and he goes to the dance floor. He bobs his head, touches his ear bud, points, points, bobs. When the next song plays, he does a Russian ditty.   A woman tells him that isn’t how secret service should behave. I tell him to take her out. He reaches into his jacket, touches his ear, and backs away.

                At the end of the night, he runs from the building in a half-crouch that resembles that of a wild cat. As the black car slows, he jumps in next to me in the back seat and we speed away.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Putting The Baby Down For Her Nap

From the lap of her cousin, her sleepy eyes flash open as I walk down the stairs. I sit next to her and hold her hand, wanting to comfort her with familiarity. Her helpless arms reach as she struggles to sit up. She lets out an animalistic and drawn out “EEEeee” as she kicks her legs to establish balance. 

“She wants you,” Michael says. 

                I’m happy that she prefers my arms as her crib, honored that I was the one she reached for; But as a pick her up, happiness is overshadowed by responsibility.  I take her pillow, and position her as she was before: seated facing forward with her puppy pillow on her lap.

                Her curly brown hair is flattened against my chest, where her head is nestled. I’m hoping my heart’s beating will hush her to sleep. Her puppy pillow serves as a blanket. Her right hand mimics mine, slowly grazing over the stuffed puppy’s soft fur. Her left hand reaches over her shoulder and plays with my hair. Before long, the petting stops and the hand that held my hair drops down so awkwardly that I imagine it would be uncomfortable if she were awake.