[Jesus shoves what's left of his Java into the mess craddled in the massive marble ashtray set at his left desktoptop-anchored elbow. He blows smoke at the mirrorball. He thumbs the Bose, George Duke's Dukey Stick. The speakers creak with misuse, and then oil up nice, and they groove]
I've spun the bottle once or twice, Ms. DePlancher. And I do so love goat cheese pizza.
[He looks down down at what he's dressed in. He sighs]
My robes have gone sour, Ms. DePlancher. I must retire to the closet for a costume change. But before I go, I have to tell you and the those imaginary peoples we think clock our asses, Peter White's Rough Sketches went South, child. The capital he sent just did not humor our monkey. And, I'd like to put in an aside here, if I may. This monkey we're harboring, it's a royal bitch, forgive my french.
[Jesus stands, shoving the pilot's chair to the wall, and then he stomps to the cleaning closet, opens the door gently, and then he he steps inside. He closes the door nice and quiet.]
[DeP's sifting through a cardboard box of files. There are loose sheets of paper strewn across her desk, and an old telephone book circa 1986. She's dressed in full green camouflage, including a helmet equipped with what we can only guess is...for we are not military men and women in this dance hall are we?...insect netting. How can you watch for suspicious movement by suspicious characters if there are tsetse flies in your eyes, hmmm? She's looking for something. Probably it's important, although it could just as well be a decoy. Stay alert! You must have read the memo by now...]
Times are dangerous. Infiltrators have twice now attempted to embed their climbing hooks into the flaking roof tile. I hear them in the quietest hours of night. Hah! I heard the grunting. I heard the thrust. I heard the scrambling of feet against the building. And then I heard the fall, the language of failure.
The mirrorball's losing revolutions again. I hear the theme from Rocky Horror. Oh no... [she plunges both hands into the filebox again, looking for who knows what. There's a low scratching sound emanating from the closet but it's probably only Jesus struggling to change his clothes.]
I'm looking for a wonder cap in here. Something wise and witty. Maybe a character with a dangerous mission or a magic nose. DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor
[Jesus slams open the cleaning closet door and walks out onto the floor. He's done an Elton, a costume change, the maid uniform gone, and now he hangers black jeans and black t-shirt with a "Polly, We Love You" button pinned to his breast. His hair is combed back, a bit flighty, and his beard is trimmed nice and neat. He stomps over to the cherrywood and slaps his iPhone down on the desktop. He thumbs voicemail and then taps speaker, and then he collapses into the pilot's chair and crosses his arms. Ask me, looks like the Christ has been working out. He searches in the desk drawers and pulls out the Bose remote. His iPhone vibrates and narrates]
[DeP's smoking bidis she found in a small baggie in that file box. The bag had a small piece of masking tape with a date scribbled on it...October 12, 1973. Maybe it was somebody's birthday stash, how can we know these things? Anyway, she likes the way the little cones taper, the way they look. Like buttonless trumpets. Maybe that's a flugelhorn. What does a flugelhorn look like? She will ask someone sometime. Right now she's busy flipping through the pages of Grammar Girl. Because grammar matters.]
You look more comfortable, Jesus. I think I might get comfortable too. I read that cap with the setting in a house of sex for sale and other things. There was a lot of talk about bathing. And linen. I like the sound of that. Yes, I think I'd like a new fresh suit of linen.
[She sits quiet a minute, watching bidi smoke dissipate, then slips behind a dressing screen in the corner. Military clothes and holsters are flung over the top. When she emerges, she's fresh as spring and dressed in a plain linen dress to her ankles. She might be a soft walking angel, but the cowgirl boots swing thoughts away from angel wings and back to business.]
I sent Ms McNamara's onward today, Jesus. Chipped porcelain vase be damned...The Perpetual Virgin of Gassy Gap's been Terminaled. DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor
[the iPhone back on the cherrywood's desktop emits fuzz and spa-spa-spas, and then a voice whispers from the other end]
i've got her. these bastards fucked the shit out of her. can i say that on telephone? shit. i dunno. but, seriously, these fucktards fucked the shit out of her, she'd makeup'd her face but it ran with all the fucking, i mean from tent to tent, so much fucking, right? these homeless mafia dirtbags tried to ruin her, but, yeah, guess what, she blocked it all from her reality, her "here", right? when i snuck up to her, she was panting, tired, blinking her eyes, and from her lips she was mantaing something Pryor said, and i dragged her from that dirty, shit-stank tent and pulled her into the woods. i pulled her into the woods. this dear child, maybe sixteen year old, maybe younger, wept unbordered, no fences, no walls.
[we can hear the strike of the swan vesta as it's thumbed and held to the tip of a pall mall, and we can hear the ignition, the puff puff puff. and we hear boligard and his uber-damsel settle down in the weeds]
she's here with me now. she's pretty much cried it out. she's not a stupid girl, which i knew, and she doesn't cringe when i move in and enfold her in my arms. and i tell her "fuck them, fuck those bastards", i whisper that to her. and she unfolds. good. see, this girl can speak to the dead.
[we hear shuffling of suit pockets as doomey pulls out his backup iPhone, the used 5S he feels okay with tossing to the weeds whenever the need arises. more whispering]
girl, you're with me now. you are safe. calling in an exit right now.
[we hear the girl calming down, her breathing less frantic]
what we're gonna do is burn this place down.
[the iPhone laying on the cherrywood's desktop back on the Floor, crackles and vomits up one last high-pitch whine and then it goes dead]
[DeP sips from a small green bottle. She likes green. Reminds her of grassy things. Earth. She has a set of Tarot cards spread out all around on the tiles. In the background we can hear music, but it's faint. It might be coming from a tiny transistor radio buried deep inside the wall somewhere. It might be Romeo Void or The Alarm. She's sipping and concentrating and only half listening.]
Where did you say you found these cards, Jesus? Oh. Maybe you didn't say. Odd things appear sometimes on The Floor. I've always thought to work here it's best you forget, you know, what it is to have expectations.
Nothing you expect to happen ever does.
I don't know what any of this means but some of these cards have great artwork. The detail...well, and some of them are just plain ugly.
David Brun's Pax in Virtute left the building today. Is that not an alluring title, hmmm? Titles matter, mais oui. You have to choose carefully, Jesus. Life is all about that. It is. Life is about choices. DeP A Bluelight Dancer/Not a Pocketbook Romancer of The Floor
[Jesus watches as his iPhone's screen fades to black with disuse. He grabs it up. Looks over at DePlancher, and he grabs up the Bose remote]
I think that's The Alarm. But hey, I've got a need to hear this one, mind?
[Jesus thumbs in Hollywood Vampires's Whole Lotta Love, and he thumbs up the volume]
Don't mean to be rude, I just have the need.
[Jesus moves over to the glass tiles and he starts to make some serious moves. Some twists and twirls and whiteman two-steps, and some arm thrusts, and a few praise jesuses, palms going up, and the whole while the glass tiles blink to life in their reds and greens and purples and whites. He grabs his fingers behind his head and humps the air for a beat or two, and then he lets his arms go loose, all wiggly, and he sumo-tiptoes across the tiles, This goes on for a few phrases. And then he straightens his legs, shakes his head, his hair going all rogue, and he starts to pogo across the tiles, shaking his head with the beat, a sweat coming on. And the iPhone, still held firm in his grip, vibrates and hums, but Jesus dances on, deaf to it. He begins a Townsend that nearly throws him to the tiles. He staggers around the tiles doing his best Troll. He belly-flops to the tiles, and he wiggles around like a frying piece of bacon. The song fades out, and Jesus sits up. He thumbs the Bose dead]
Okay. Wow. That was fun.
[He raises his phone, he sees he missed a call]
What the heck.
[He shoves himself to his feet, wanders back to the cherrywood, plops his ass into the pilot's chair. He breathes heavy]