Corridor (rough beginnings)

August 29, 2011
By Anonymous

Practical, clever, logical, three words for Robert Brookes. Ever since he could remember, Brookes had never been a dreamer, he'd been a doer. He had not patience for the artistic, indecisive, musings and creations of dreamers and artists and poets. If sages and prophets were so wise, why weren't they riding in corvettes and limousines instead of donkeys and mules. Even in the actual sense of the word, Brookes had never had many sleep induced dreams, no nightmares, no monsters under the bed. Most of the times, it had just been blurred memories that filled the imagery of his constantly working mind when he was asleep. A rerun of the day's events or a problem on his mind that manifested itself into fairly strange scenes that he had forgotten by the time he was brushing his teeth minutes after waking up. He didn't think much of dreams, but for whatever reason, whether it had been the extra martini before dinner, or the new bittersweet steak sauce that had been the latest rage at his wife's last dinner party which she had finally ordered their cook to douse on the steak, he had had a rather abstract dream last night. And for once, even after washing up, shaving, and having breakfast, he could clearly recall as he almost backed into their mail box that morning...

There was a long white narrow corridor. Midday's light filtered in from the empty rooms. They were empty because you couldn't see inside them, they weren't important and so there was nothing in them. The only reason you knew they were there was because of the empty doorways, naked and doorless, that marked laid space every three feet next to and diagonally from each other. At the end, the corridor just ended. There was no curve, no mirror, and no other doorless doorway, it just stopped. And the floor was a creamy white texture, an off white -permanent and unsettling. This upstairs floor wasn't carpet and wasn't tile. It might as well have been a white plaster floor. And somehow there may or may not have been a circular wooden fence made up of nursery like pegs that created the circumference from the wide circle of the upstair floor. Furthermore, nearly the start of the white narrow long running corridor there began a cold hard black steel spiral stair case. It didn't quite belong to the upstairs; there should have been more floors, but there weren't - just plain off white empty vastness which accentuated the towering height of the stair case.

And there was vertigo to be had from the top, and right off from the very top step, from a kind of vertigo inflicted eagle's view you could see the downstairs floor. Black and white checkered tile, brand new and recently waxed. And next to the towering cold steel spiral staircase there were two pencil pegs of shiny red high heeled shoes. The pegs stood clacked unto two checkered tiles and they lifted the toes belonging to light olive colored feet and toned legs of a woman. She wasn't anyone specific. And suspended above her calves there hung the red festive ruffles of her party dress. They, the scarlet ruffles, hung suspended in a motionless swish and took root at her pinched silk waist, creating a bell of red fabric that billowed out as gravity defying as a delicate mousse.And there she was, the top of her dress - a ballerinas top, scarlet, tight and fitting with delicate should straps of intricately etched Victorian loops and chains and roses- if they ever existed.

Then there was her face, as perfectly flawless as the elegant bun of her dark shining hair; and her eyes were stolen from a gypsy and directed into a fierce determined gaze at the man, but we'll get to him soon enough, because it vitally important that you understand her completely, and so then there was her mouth: two thick scarlet curves in a permanent pout as full and pompous as the large bow that may or may not have been strapped around her silk waist. Nevertheless, her perfect features couldn't be intently studied because they couldn't be clearly seen. Instead they were a presence of dark elegance that were as intently directed as her gypsy eyes at the man and he could only be seen as a blurry shadow of anticipation. An unsettling, brandy in one hand, burning cigarette in the flippant other, pacing in quick short strides, kind of anticipation. He was hiding something.

He was hiding something and for whatever reason the cocktail party's atmosphere would be a distraction, both to his soul eating conscious and to his lady. And he couldn't be seen very clearly either, but his presence described him. He was tall, broad shouldered, dark featured, and handsome in his own swaggering right. He could have been quite the ladies man, but he preferred the straight up company of men. Women were too much trouble, they always wanted something and yet they never asked. They always had to take the long way around things, always beating around the bush, every woman. The bush might have been a perfectly artfully trimmed piece of beauty, clipped by mechanical, machete fingered, eccentric hands into the shape of a swan or pillar, or heart, or it might have been a willowy shrub, decaying and pitiful. But the important thing wasn't the bush. The bush didn't matter, it always changed, but the beating around it always stayed the same. No men, weren't gardeners. A man, a true man, couldn't be so complicated. For starters he carried all his possessions in a business card sized leather folder in the back of his pants, at all times. He couldn't hide a grenade, or a gun, or a masquerade kit of color and shade and mind numbing fragrance on his person. No, men were so simple and it must have been all these complications, Avery's complications which had made him drown.

And so as he dodged Avery's gypsy eyes and paced desperately into the living room, it was the curtains of the living room which sent him back to the beginning. Not Avery's beginning, because that had been a different kind of memory al together. One that wouldn't be brought back by the stunning wine hued drapery curtains that hung from the walls, but this memory was different, and they were just so different, two all together different kinds of bushes, if one of them even had bush at all...

It had been Monday morning. The world had began marching to the tune of an invisible, time defying, degrading beat yet again. Work. The beginning of the week and he was already drowning. It was late summer. A jealous mistress kind of summer, too jealous to get out of the way and realize that the the affair was over. She had had her fun and it was time to be replaced by the new woman, Fall. But she vainly lingered, clawed onto her now disinterested lover, but her color and warmth was fading, her end was approaching fast. Cars, it was nine o'clock, and in this part of the city, the traffic wasn't as hectic. He had driven to the museums and library and vastly dotted park side of town.The business district was further south, and although he should have been in his office 15 minutes ago, he didn't care. He hadn't even brought his lay out packed brief case with him.

For Robert Brookes was an advertising consultant, and he was damn good one. He hadn't taken a sick day in months. And although he hadn't called, to excuse himself from work, there was no one with a steady enough hand in the advertising department to confront him. Not his superiors, not his boss, and not even his bobble head blonde secretary who would have to schedule a neck message for later that night after cradling the phone between her delicate neck and Ethiopian bony shoulder all day as she typed up last week's business invitations for the upcoming advertising cocktail party.But she didn't seem to mind so much. It was her calling, what with her mechanical precision fingernail clicking fingers that professionally tap danced on her typewriter's keys, to her remarkable memory which would one day be envied by superior forms of data processing machinery. Yes, and then there was her admiration for him. She was more loyal than a Nazi. She must not have had a father figure when she was young, Brooke reasoned, and she was still young and beautiful, but not his type. For one thing, she was blonde and for another she was just too ordinary, to simple, too conformed into what society wanted her to be. A Stepford woman, one out of so many just like her, a copy of the average American woman. There was no mystery, there was nothing to discover, there was nothing new, nothing breathtaking. But he had enough decency not abuse of her admiration,how could he? She'd kill the boss, battle along side any soldiers in No Man's Land, and run an olympic relay just give him his daily cup of coffee at 8:30 - on the dot. And she'd go to even greater lengths to win his admiration, his affection, his approval. Yes, this poor girl's father must have not been a real father figure. And so he he always thanked her and was as polite as possible, without crossing the line and suggesting anything more than a friendly coworker relationship.

But he could be shrewd, he was upfront and he knew what people wanted to hear. Whether or not they fully believed him was another thing, but he had an insistency and urgency about him, that made people find meaning in their life by simply doing him a favor. Besides, his boss 7,000 miles away, half way across the country advertising for an old laundry detergent campaign, wasn't even present to quickly and nervously drop him a questioning glance. No one would dare get on his case. No, today, one of the new interns would feel important, or at least a lot less intimidated for a change. So Brookes didn't consider his work responsibilities for two seconds. Today he was an escaped slave from the work force, and a very thirsty slave at that...

The author's comments:
Meet Robert Brookes, an anticipating blurred figure of constant motion, guilt and schemes.

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