It went like this: I was meditating in the gutter and I heard a motorcycle drive up. Only it was not the gutter – not really – and I did not know it was a motorcycle, either.
Here is why: Sometimes, I live in a small closet just off an abandoned freight elevator. The abandoned freight elevator is underground, under the ground of downtown Houston. So it is not really the gutter but is sort of the gutter. Dana calls it the gutter but Dana is not here.
Here is the thing about the motorcycle: I was meditating. It was sound. I did not label it “motorcycle” sound. Instead, my mind made a shape from the sound. From the texture. The texture was fuzzy but fuzzy the way metal shavings are fuzzy. Something like that.
The fuzzy rotating sound zhump-zhumped and then ended. After that came a clopping and a clang! Part of me knew what the clang! was and the clang! was this: The clang! was the metal doors over the freight elevator. Opening. But I was meditating and I did not label the clang! as the metal doors over the freight elevator. Not right away.
Then, squeaking and rustling. My mind made the shape of a steampunk contraption. Part mouse, part hydraulic wheelchair, maybe. I knew what the sound really was. It was really the person from the motorcycle crawling down through the truck that hangs pinned inside the shaft of the freight elevator.
Then silence. Finally, words. “Nice digs! I thought you were Dana’s girl.”
I am Dana’s girl, though the property connotations of that statement do not sit well. And Dana is not here. For a few weeks, Dana and the kids are in a country less gay-friendly than Texas. Dana must work there, in the country that is too anti-gay for me to survive more than a few minutes.
I did not offer this information to the voice. But I did open my eyes.
She had bright red hair and cat eyes. The speaker did. She wore a gun in a shoulder holster over an expensive, fitted button-down shirt. Money, I suppose. She looked around, unconcerned, and she lit up a skinny cigar.
“So what did you find about me?” she asked, apparently forgetting her question of a moment before. “Am I going to be running for City Council?” She explored my little closet more.
I did not speak until I was handed the envelope with the cheque. I stood up.
The redhead was shining a flashlight down the elevator shaft.
I said, “You have been arrested multiple times.” I said, “Once for assault. Once for DWI. Once for breaking and entering.”
She remained engrossed in the elevator shaft.
I said, “You’ve had your driver’s license suspended. You have been in rehab for poly-substance addiction. Fired from a major Houston law firm for violating its morality standards. Publicly flaunted your various and assorted unlawful habits and reckless behaviors.”
I said, “You shot a domestic house cat with a thirty-eight in your bedroom.” I said,“On at least two occasions, you have had an entire work force walk out on you en mass due to intolerable working conditions.”
She offered me a skinny cigar. I declined. She moved around all of the time, surveying her surroundings, until finally she sat down on a bucket. I suggested she might not want to sit on that particular bucket. She stood back up.
She said, “So far, none of that sounds like anything that our recent Presidents haven’t done in their younger years. Hell, a couple of those things might even be electoral advantages.”
The redhead had found Saint Athanasius. Saint Athanasius is a tarantula who lives with me. She reached right in and lifted Saint Athanasius up and out of the cage in the proper recommended manner. Flipped over and cupped in the palm.
I said, “Look… Everybody I spoke with wanted to talk about you. Your family. Old boyfriends. Former co-workers. Even your current employees.”
I said, “Every single one of them was chomping at the bit to talk about how much they hate you. How you have ruined their lives. How they are lying in wait for the first opportunity to pay you back for what they feel you have done to them.”
Now Saint Athanasius, she did not like the smoke from the redhead’s cigar. Saint Athanasius, she was trying to get away from the redhead with the cat eyes. Just like everybody else, I guess.
I said, “You have to know all of this. This can’t be a surprise. Why would you even dream of trying to run for elected office, where appealing to people is a must?”
The redhead smiled at me, blowing smoke through her nose. She shrugged. “I’m a people person!” she said.
Then she walked back towards the elevator shaft. “Thank you, Katy. You are probably right about the public office idea.”
I was right about the public office idea.
With her career in politics now at an end, the redhead with the cat eyes looked undeterred from her other mission in life. “So, I need an odd jobs person around my law office. Research, investigations, animal control. That sort of thing. You interested?”
The conversation had taken a turn for the surreal. I said, “Have you been listening to anything I’ve said? Everyone who has ever known you told me that you destroy everything good around you!”
There was another shrug from the redhead with the cat eyes. “Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.”
I stood there a moment. I looked at my shoes.
“Yeah,” I finally said. “I’ll give the job a try.”
She moved to climb back into the vertical truck to leave. “Okay, Katy,” she said. “I will see you Monday morning!”
“See you Monday morning, Adri,” I said back to her.
“See you Monday morning, Adri,” I said back to her.
Then she left. I heard the sound of a motorcycle starting up and driving away.
My mind was racing and I could not go back to my meditation.
I had a new job. I HAVE a new job. And that is how it happened.