I own a car but I never use it. The last time I parked it, down in front of my building, I did the best damn job of parallel parking humanly possible. In tight – right next to the curb. Perfectly spaced between the other two cars, fore and aft. I’ll never be able to duplicate it, so I’ve not moved the car since then. That was in 1998. Sometime in September.
The night air feels sharp against the exposed skin of my face as I meander down the sidewalk. I suppose it doesn’t really feel sharp. Mostly it smells sharp. Like bad cheese. It’s as if we’ve been slathered with a great cosmic goop of rancid nacho sauce. Sans jalapenos. It’s a smell you never get used to – an underbelly kind of a smell and I’m smellin’ it now.
I walk alone.
In the night.
I scamper occasionally, from street light to street light. I’m not a daylight scamperer – by no means. But sometimes at night it’s ok. I’d rather slither, but I don’t have the hips for it. Spies really should be able to slither, but I’ve never mastered the skill. That’s not to say there aren’t skills that I excel with. There are. Lots of them.
I can kill you with a croissant. Kill you dead. With a croissant and a knife, to be perfectly truthful, but the fact remains that buttery, flakey, French pastry equals you dead and bleeding if you’re not careful. It’s one of my skills. There are others.
Like the fact that I can talk to animals. Did you know that? I can totally converse with the entire catalogue of earthen fauna. I plan to start working on the flora next week. The animals never talk back though. Quiet people, these animals. Not a lot to say. But I can talk to them. Oh yeah, I got lots to say to them.
Tim the Elevator Operator is kind of like that. I talk to him all the time. He can never think of anything to say in reply. Poor Tim.
It must be really hard to have such a boxed-in existence like Tim’s. Up. Down. Up. All day long. Well, maybe not all day long, because I know for a fact he works all night long and if he worked days, too, he’d never sleep and let me tell ya, lack of sleep does things to a person. Weird things. So yeah, Tim probably sleeps during the day. I wonder if he’s a vampire? A vampire elevator operator.
Vampire slaying is another of my skills. Tim better be careful. I have a cache of tooth picks that I keep in my jacket pocket. I like to kill ‘em slow.
Slow. Slow steps on the sidewalk. Stepping down towards the corner. Three-Finger Monte will be there. That’s what I call him. Because he’s got three fingers. Well, there are ten, total. But he’s only got three on that one hand. Not counting the pinkie.
Three-Finger Monte is my contact. My connection. My window to the underworld. He keeps me apprised of whatever is going on that needs handling. I’m a handler. First class. Not like the mail, but more like the dinning experience. That kind of first class.
What’s up? That’s what I say. He will say something like ‘things lookin’ hot over at the warehouse’ or ‘shipment coming in. The docks are your best bet.’ We don’t need details. We’re idea people. Facts are for sissies. Facts are for people who are afraid of reality.
Once I get the take on things from T-FM, I’ll probably saunter over to the other side of the street. I’m really more of a saunterer than a scamperer. Saunter is the poor man’s slither. I have to work on the slither. I need some roller skates. The kind with the key. The ones that will fit over my high-heeled black leather spy boots.
The other side of the street holds it’s own possibilities. Things look different over there. More shadowy. Deeper. Shadows don’t scare me. I pretty much am a shadow. Except for that pesky third dimension of mine. But I can flit around just like a shadow. I hang out in the dark but I need the light to function.
Not a lot of light. Just enough.