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Virgil and Kat, from Amsterdam

facing north, we met the most handsomer ever...

There's no urgency in Washington Square, in Tompkins Square, in Madison Square. Standing beneath the grey frown shaped rainbow pretending that we're getting wet. Manhattan smells like a lobby full of cheap glass and dried funk hiding behind a lemon. New York doesn't even care that I noticed. I check the phone for loose change. C'mon Kat, New York doesn't even care.
Squint eyed, wiping your glasses with the hem of your skirt. The square frames suit your sanguine face. I like their simple lines with that horse patterned blouse. The lobby looks like old should. It lingers like a dented chrome sconce. The revolving door rattles again, Please, please, please?
Not here... We'll go up in the elevator. All the way to the top then, Ding...
I go down to the lobby. I call back from the desk. You're naked knackered, My eyes, my eyes... Of ...
Do you have a pen? Take down this number, two-one-two.
I hang up the phone and laugh sweet.
Later on Staten Island, an overturned barrel rolls round in lazy half circles when we pull up. The cab door is dusty before the storm. Gusts of wind draw in the birds. They settle on dark lines stretched between the dead poles. The white houses along the street feel idle and anxious. Someone left a radio on. Lady GaGa's pah, pah... playing sounds a little calculated and febrile.
I pull the old flip phone from my pocket and wipe it's display on my knee. You're only an hour by Verrazano and through Brooklyn. You're having coffee by the window. There's an ice pack on your knee. It's propped on the other chair. The cream color walls, the red upholstery, and the deep blue bed smile dumbly. While you're Catherine bits smile right back like a rose unleashed.
I hang my jacket in the steel locker by the sticky liquor cage. My apron and tie look good in the mirror. My first two tables order the special and then the pigeon pie. Which is Moroccan by the way. And it's really cornish hen by the way. Our pie takes pie speed to cook in pie time. Hamish knows, we don't fuck with pie here.
So come in thirsty or come in last.
Because Friday's pie day?
That's right, thirsty sounds like Thursday right? So we're playing with that. Do you get it?
The next song on the playlist is hot. The ladies at 2 scoot from behind their table. Out in they hall they pull out long gold tipped cigarettes. Their sparkly clutches snap shut. The brunette's lighter goes around the circle, flikflik-flame.
Then the first bird sings, Gah, did you see that shit?
And as if on high, Fuck pedals... Could her foot have been any further up his ass.
So hello, I'm out here in Venice waiting. I guess you’re on Melrose waiting for the threeTwelve with our groceries. You've got a couple of crunchy brown bags and I have the laundry. I've also got an English language newspaper from Sri Lanka. We’ll meet at noon and talk about the price of tea in China. We'll talk about Russian dance and discuss our rolls in the upcoming conflict. We're wonders of design like this. Our days are relationship feeding machines filled with plenty of rotating hoops and volleys of karma. In Amsterdam your t-shirt said, Fuck Me I'm Ugly (AMERICAN)
You pleaded, We'll always have Amsterdam won't we?
Of course we would. That afternoon in the rain, and the rain, and then the more rain. We also had the smell of fish and hashish mixed with sour lagers. Then there was the tang of your sweat beneath that cheap gutter colored poncho, what a fucking rush that was. You can't buy that shit and you can't hail a cab and fuck the day away in your hostel. So we walked through the rain to my hotel instead.
Yes, yes of course Marie is a sweet woman of immense depth and quiet geometry. Her shoes do line our hallway and all of the ghosts do despair. You say that you tell Marie everything. That you tell her to be safe and not to wander far. You tell her that the corn is very tender. But do you ever say, Mom I'm marrying that man? I'd understand if the answer is no. I wouldn't be offended. But let's face it, I got both the car and the driver as they say in Pensacola. Wouldn't some keys be nice?
It's always the house on the left. It's down a one way street named Tree. It's an arts and crafts era bungalow. The stucco is the color of light brick but it's roof line makes it most handsomer. That's how it is in Greenland. Everything that's the best is, most handsomer. In back, down the steps by the gas meter is a corona of wet about the size of a mop. It's just inside the basement door. Tufts of rumbled cat fur putter beside it in the draft. This wood door was upstairs once. It used to be eight to ten inches taller until someone used a circular saw to split up the math and made it, most handsomer.
The flames grow higher and higher, I turn down the music and pull out my earbuds. My old flip phone vibrates inside my shirt pocket. The display says, LOW BATTERY
That's all I ever wanted. Up the Ivory Coast and get the team back.
Wrap it up Todd... The camera's coming through.
A grey cart rolls by. It's being followed by two enormous black shipping containers. The first one is a little punchy looking. It's lid is covered with tattered decals and torn labels from Brazil and Turkey. The other one is more new. It's not as black either. Apparently that's what camera's look like when they travel abroad.
A guy comes over and asks if I want some coke.
Thanks just the same... I stretch my arms over my head and pull on my elbow. Water needs to be refilled. I need to make a call. Can you get our person...
I need some water. I want to make a call. Can you get the lady?
It's going to be like that is it? I'll be back...
I'll be back. You say this thickly while looking over the rim of your sun glasses.
Goof... I step outside.
Oh hey, it's us. We're standing outside your hostel. There's the old couple that sat beside us in the cafe. Those are the hot wet plates. And that's the tangy goose liver that I threw up. There you go. You're insane, yelling nonsense.
The Netherlands didn't care, don't care. Is it didn't or don't...
There's me being awesomed by you. You're just that endearing. You're so endearing that the scale of you is measured in piles of marshmallow. That the limitlessness of your world can only be described with the German words for, mucho bueno. I want to be a part of your forever for forever. Kiss me so I can catch up to you and breathlessly say...
You want me to fall on you like a piano, you finish my sentence for me.
The old flip phone in my pocket vibrates.
The display says, LOW BATTERY
LAX is small. Its a shitty little airport. I got back in April, in the rain. But you have family in Germany. Your sister's in Bitburg. She teaches at the free university. History and politics is what you said. But I heard watchmaking. It turns out that she's into William Gibson, she like's Hardcastle ice cream, and French biscuits made with lard. You telephoned me from a greasy change-phone in Charles de Gaulle.
My number is in a notebook balanced on your knee. You flew into Heathrow. Then you flew into Queens. It was hot and junky even for New York. The rats were chasing stink from tile to tile to tile like greasy bunnies of fuzz squeezed from an ugly tube. You call them right on time. Just like the trains between the stations. Just like the clock above the square. Just like midtown, a warm roll and a statuette of the the statue that's in my bag. It's only an audition, A Chorus Line on Broadway. In Manhattan, is what you said.
You're not much of dancer. But you're brave and funny when you fall. I followed you to the show. In the back row, I sat under the lip of the balcony. I watched our bags, donde una sensaciĆ³n singular por favor? The Post was my disguise. We met for hot coffee and branded creamer behind the song for brown and leatherette. I like cannoli, tehy's most handsomer for sure. We sit in the green skirted window with our greasy green glasses. We talk about the weather.
You changed into pants in a Starbucks where nothing ever touches the floor. Then we stopped on 32nd to gawp in the dumpling windows after that Macy's seemed demanding and bitchy. It was old plaster and shrill lights so we went and hovered in Harold Sq. We had our cold pretzels and held hands watching the pigeons on the news shack. We spit in the wind until we got brave enough to leave.


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