Comrade Doctor Icebird (eeyorerin) wrote in mappalujo,
Comrade Doctor Icebird

group 2, chapter 2

I know we've got a week, but the ghost stuck in my head.

Just like that lady with the mystic smile...

She sits at the bar in the hotel, smoking a cigarette and trying to ignore the old man at the other end trying to catch her eye. He's bobbing his head in time with the old standard on the jukebox, occasionally humming.

She'd hate to have a name like the girl in the song; she can just imagine the playground taunts. The only interesting thing about her name is that it's a palindrome; her second grade teacher, Miss Wayside, took great pleasure in explaining that to her on the first day of class. Not many people have her name, but at least it's easy to spell, which is a blessing when you travel a lot.

Oh, now he's singing, slurred and off key, swaying on the barstool. "Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep... they just lie there, and they diiiiiee there," he croons, like some parody of Nat King Cole. Is he singing to her? He's not looking at her anymore, but past her, beyond her. She glances over her shoulder, but there's no one behind her.

Nothing unique about her, just another working girl, trying to get by. Another presentation, another set of endlessly beige nights in hotel rooms, another plastic meal, another clump of city lights streaming by cars and planes, the world a murky blur that she gets through one step at a time. An endless progression through sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The bartender is moving towards him, making a placating gesture towards her. Maybe he's a regular, maybe he's mad, maybe it's her, who knows? Now he's off the stool, legs wobbling on the floor, stumbling closer. "Are you warm, are you real?" he bellows, breath warm and whisky scented in her face, and she edges backwards, clutching at her purse, nervously stubbing out her cigarette.

Which city is this, which hotel? After a while, she's become numb, except when the unusual happens, and even then it fades around the edges, settling into an anecdote to tell at the water cooler, a little story to break the ice. This one time, at Comdex...

She forces a smile as she skitters to the floor, just as the bartender's hand clamps down on the man's shoulder. Struggling to keep impassive, she asks for the check, decides maybe being a little early at the airport wouldn't be so bad. As she turns to leave, he serenades her with the final line, the one that sticks in her head for days,"Or are you just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art?"

teslagirl, your ghosts are Elvis Presley, Blackbeard, and Salvador Dali.
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