The Call: Fiction
My tiny apartment, in the Upper East Side, offered its limited view of Central Park, the only exterior-facing window being in the small kitchen, to the right of the counter, in a small nook that was an architectural relic, the result of a larger apartment made smaller to accommodate the new economics, the living arrangement of the New Economy. The building was Art-Deco, brick with its occasional gargoyle, but all the requisite symmetries and ornamentation, the gothic creatures distracting, warding off ill-spirits outdoors.
The apartment was on a floor high enough to allow me to check up on the relevant intersection, providing a direct line of sight, of particular interest to me, the several overhanging tree branches shielding the cross walk, the occasional jogger leaving Central Park in bright shorts, buff men, so many of them (although certainly not today), and it had a floor plan small enough to fit my budget.
I’ve lived here long enough to where the doormen and I have established our silent rapport, they see me coming and the front door swings open, almost like magic. They make a fuss when I’m with someone else, but mostly just leave me alone. Obviously, I live here.
In accordance with unconscious habit, I entered the kitchen, which in a previous era had been a pantry. I fed the cat, Blink, who gratefully purred as she took breakfast. Once at the window I saw the traffic humming along Park Avenue, checked the weather: snow feathered the window sill; it announcing the onset of winter. The frosty glass panes offered their color swatches of blurred yellow from the taxis, charcoal from the asphalt; the wintery opacity offered by the window. However, the growing warmth had caused the higher panes to be clear already.
The view offered no bright, pretty shorts today; no men jogging in place. No waiting on the traffic with exposed, muscular legs shod in expensive sneakers.
And there was the sound of wind; it’s brutal biting nature, how many decades it passed the gargoyles. As the sunrise climaxed somewhere out of view it accentuated the geometric nature of the city, the dwellers obeying its rigid tyranny. We were well underway in this little world: red traffic light, obedient pedestrians huddled against the onset of winter, more of them in overcoats then not. The gesture of a tree bough bowing to the wind as it discards brown leaves, it finally relents.
And today. How different.
Normally I didn’t have to go into the office on a Saturday, at least not in person. I had made enough money for the Wall Street Firm: Boozey and Phillips, and was high-up enough in the pecking order. Routinely I would get the weekend for my personal life, that most coveted luxury. Today would be an exception. I would be made aware of this demand on my leisure via a phone call. That is to say, my instincts would be confirmed.
I’ve always done more than just survive on my instincts. Boozey and Phillips both knew this when I was first interviewed for my present position. I actually met the principals for my first, and conclusive interview, the major share-holders. They considered illegality to be simply drawing on the other side of the economy, the ‘other well’ as one helpfully put it. There was not so much a forbiddance as a dividing wall. And of course, one had to be careful. Don’t be reactive, but pro-active, several steps ahead.
Mr. Boozey handled that side of things. Phillips was more of the high-powered finance guy. However, I was to set up the opportunities. There would be a process of training. But I had potential. Then they joked how the previous guy who had my new job had to be discreetly let go for ‘not being gay enough.’ We spit up drinks laughing in the China Town restaurant. There they had patrons. It was crowded. They all turned to look.
For Boozey and Phillips, the identification of new angles, for investment schemes, for new investor ‘services’ was a critical development when the economy was in the midst of profound change, as it is today. To survive is to thrive, to adapt is to survive; as the saying goes. And then they always look out for their clients, especially since our interests coincided. The client list was impressive; Boozey name-dropped, while Phillips nodded knowingly. And the clients were all in-the-know, loyalty earned, portfolios looked after, exceedingly large dollar figures, commissions and trades.
I walked into the mahogany paneled hall, checked to make sure the leather briefcase was still there, leaning against the art-nouveau telephone table where it had been left, alongside the exquisite wood-panelled wall. The narrow hall had once been one side of a much larger room, however, the dwelling today measured 750 square-feet, still large by today’s Manhattan standards.
It was all set. Things were all in order. There was the deniability. Our hands were clean. This was from the other side of the dividing wall.
The Departure’s Finality
The memory was still haunting me, and weighing heavy this morning. I sank into a leather armchair within sight of the elegant table.
It would be almost exactly one year ago today, the last time I saw Dimitry. We met, alone, together, his hand over mine, in a nearby café on a morning much like today’s. The busy early-morning traffic hummed right outside the window adjacent to our table. Oblivious passersby, mere feet from us, never turning to look out of curiosity or anything else. A homeless person rummaged through a trash can on the side walk, his breath visible from the cold.
Hardly any other patrons were in the café. No commerce at the bar, a gleaming stretch of wood with gleaming grains, and an enormous mirror behind the place the barista would normally stand. The Expresso Machine newly silent, a silvery gleam, the harsh morning glare reminiscent of today’s, as I imagine it outside, it’s bitter flavor, harsh and necessary, like the discipline of business, even graft.
And I handed him, my lover of the previous, tumultuous year, the key to this apartment, my own, which I now occupy alone; my name on the deed. Our decision, with finality.
We had decided it would be best if we broke up, especially since Dimitry had reached the conclusion that he needed to move back to Oklahoma, not because he loved the family farm, but because the city was wearing on him; the craziness, the schizophrenia, the trash, the hostility.
It was decided Dimitry was to enter my condo alone, to remove personal effects he had left over the course of the previous year. There were items he left however, to my surprise; like the print of the DeLorean car framed handsomely hanging on the wall near the telephone table. That piece of history remains; a handsome piece, the brushed silver doors of the car open like a hawk in flight, soaring in mid air. The print was desolate, without a driver, or would be driver, nor passenger. A desert of a print.
Perhaps we were all relics of modernity like that shiny car, designed by a man with an Italian name. John DeLorean had his list of who’s-who investors. However, the DeLorean Motor Company was toppled by its own economic impossibility. He even moved the manufacturing to Ireland. Finally, the illegality caught up with him. The narcotics sting operation is now the stuff of legend, of history.
The phone would ring within a matter of minutes. I knew it. It would not be the owner of the bag. The conversation was as pre-arranged, and inevitable as a winning chess move, more staid calculation then casual words. Boozey, Phillips and I had all the details worked out, far in advance, all the possible eventualities. Everything.
The geometry was all there. The frost of death would give way to the slow warming of a blossoming sunrise. The torch of the Statue of Liberty would guard her ports.
There would be love again, after a few errands, and the minutia of business, and the grandness of growing the bottom line. And most of all, there was the money.
*** FICTION: By James Legare 1-13-2022 *** Outside of established historic references, there are no FACTS in this story. And, no reality. – JL
link2source – Russia Missile Attack, Ukraine General First Time Admits Possibility of Russia Victory, Kiev Defeat
link2source – https://www.factmonster.com/encyclopedia/history/north-america/us/kansasnebraska-act – “As an isolated issue territorial organization of this area was no problem. It was, however, irrevocably bound to the bitter sectional controversy over the extension of slavery into the territories and was further complicated by conflict over the location of the projected transcontinental railroad.”
link2source – archives DOT gov – milestone documents: Kansas Nebraska Act –
Officially titled “An Act to Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas,” this act repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had outlawed slavery above the 36º30′ latitude in the Louisiana territories, and reopened the national struggle over slavery in the western territories.
In January 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois introduced a bill that divided the land immediately west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. He argued in favor of popular sovereignty, or the idea that the settlers of the new territories should decide if slavery would be legal there.https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/kansas-nebraska-act – link
link2source – https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/kansas-nebraska-act – “[…] a pivotal moment in American history which forever changed American politics and unequivocally contributed to the coming of the American Civil War.”
link2source – https://www.biography.com/us-president/franklin-pierce – “Franklin Pierce was elected to the United States Senate in 1837. After resigning in 1842, Pierce joined the temperance movement and worked as an attorney, before going off to fight under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican-American War. In 1852, Pierce was elected president for one term.”https://www.biography.com/us-president/franklin-pierce – link – ACCESSED 12-17-2022
The Jeffersonian Party – battlefields DOT org – learn – articles – jeffersonian-party – Opposition to a strong centralized government – “Whereas the Federalist Party feared the continued spread of revolutionary ideals and anarchy, the Jeffersonians welcomed the promotion of revolutionary values.”
link2source – Col Douglas Macgregor: Ukraine/Russia Special Military Operation Update
link2source – Field Marshal Mannerheim | Speech to the Swedish Volunteers | Finnish Winter War 1940
We finally meet to discuss…SATIRE