Archive for March, 2007


March 28, 2007

Through the center of town there was little sign of human activity. Naarka glided noiselessly through the empty streets bordered by dark buildings. But as he neared the red light district he could see what from a distance looked like man-sized lanterns: bars which were little more than an awning unfolded from the side of a building, and a couple of stools. Once he was near what he had decided was the intersection of major streets nearest to the brothel, he had to check the little tourist map once again to find the exact location.

Finally he saw it. Its bright white sign was the only dash of light on the dark street. The building was four to six stories tall – it was hard to tell exactly because the wall facing the street had no windows. It was featureless except for a small door near one corner, over which burned the lighted sign in the same shape as the icon on his tourist map. The building looked like a warehouse. It was painted a dark color, with a paint that looked like it was still wet. For a moment he wondered, was it a special type of paint that perpetually looked wet, or was it actually wet, perhaps because it was reapplied frequently for some reason? He did not touch it to find out.

Where am I gonna park my vehicle? he thought as he glided up to the door. It was a single door – paned with glass, but covered with with the same paint as the rest of the large wall, though it did look drier. The paint was very thick, clumpy like it had not been completely dissolved in its solvent when applied, or like it had been painted from a pan that was already half way to becoming a dried brick. Or like the paint had been slapped on so haphazardly that there were large pebble-like globs of it roughing out the surface, and after it dried it had then been spray painted with the exact same color.

Where the fuck was he going to park his vehicle? The street was completely empty. Wait, there was a garage door on the far edge of this building. The paint and darkness had almost hidden it. He could see no way to open it however. Oh, well. Fuck it. He glided up to the curb near the door, stopped a little beyond it, and shut off his vehicle. He unwrapped the key strap from the steering column and put it around his neck again, and slipped the four-pronged key into the pocket on the chest of his shirt. He dropped his right leg on to the sidewalk and swung his left leg up and over so he was facing the vehicle. He turned and walked over to the door. When he put his fingers on the pull handle he was careful to only use the parts of them that were wrapped in his half gloves.

He opened the door and stepped into a small lobby. The subdued light within came from a heavily shaded desk lamp on a little table in the far left corner, about 8 o’clock from where Naarka stood after just coming in through the door. To the right of the table was a couch, softly upholstered in black velour. Directly in front of Naarka was a counter, in dark wood paneling. A woman stood behind it, and a faint light caming from behind the counter lit her face from below. The counter top was split-level: a high surface faced the customers and a lower one faced the employee behind the counter, like a hotel check-in counter or a fried chicken joint’s order counter. The woman’s dark brown hair was cut in a low bob that curled in at the bottom of her neck. She wore a dark close fitting dress which seemed to be of the same velour material as the upholstery on the couch.

The room was dim enough that his eyes took a minute to adjust when he first came in. Floating in the darkness the only thing he saw was this woman’s visage lit from below. As she looked up from something on the counter to watch Naarka walk in through the door, her exposed skin, from where her dress opened just under the collar, to the frame of her hair, shifted under its own shadows so that it looked like a protean little animacule of light crawled up from the counter and along her neck to rest on her face. It hovered there, pulsing in front of her mouth, then let go, seemed to float in the air, and swelled, and dispersed, fading while it expanded while fading to take in the whole room, moving to the walls, kissing them and moving out on through and past them.

She smiled warmly, inclining her head slightly and looked up at him through her eyelashes with a practiced coyness. The glance puffed across the room and rammed a spear of air through Naarka’s chest, exiting his back between his shoulder blades.