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  • - * 13 DOORS OF X* *Meeah Williams* The Barking Cat Press * 2015 Brooklyn, NY * Seattle, WA copyright 2015 Meeah Williams/The Barking Cat...

Monday, January 11, 2016

=It was the day, the hour I'd been dreaming of=

I was the warrior-champion. I’d shattered 
all my opponent’s swords. I collected the
bright, shiny shards of their defeat. Put
them in my shoulder bag. Maybe, when
in my retirement I have the time for hobbies,
I’ll glue the pieces together and make a mirror
out of them. I told myself that, but I knew
I never would. That’s how you end up look-
ing like Frankenstein’s monster.  Still, I 
felt no pity, no remorse. Why should I? I 
watched my defeated colleagues wander 
by the waterside, dejected and decapit-
ated. “Go to hell you double-faced bast-
ards,” I snorted. “If the tables were rev-
ersed, you’d have gloated over me, no
doubt about it.” This business isn’t for

It's a city full of windows

To celebrate my victory, I took a stroll
down to The Crooked Hero. My sister 
tended bar there. Instead of my usual
beer, I ordered a cosmopolitan, just to
feel…well, cosmopolitan. It was awful. 
I forced it down and ordered a second.  
This was the taste of success, I told
myself. Get used to it. “How does any-
one drink this stuff,” I asked the bar-
tender. “I don’t know,” she said. “And
I used to be an alcoholic.” The bartender
wasn’t my sister in actual fact, that
would have been too tidy, don't you 
think? But she looked like my sister, 
so I thought of her as such, why not? 
It was my private little joke. Every man 
is entitled to his harmless flights of fancy.
I hadn’t seen my real sister in eleven 
years. Not that there was any bad blood
between my sister and I; in fact, there
wasn’t any blood between us at all. 
I’d been adopted.

You can't see through the windows for all the advertisements.
There could be hostages inside, lying on the ground,
a gunman. Do you really want to go in there to buy a

Back at my apartment, I called the
escort service I occasionally used to
spare everyone who might otherwise
have suffered the trouble of my awk-
ward pick-up attempts. Call it a public
service, if you must call it something. 
I asked if Rhea were available. She was
not. “On vacation,” the phone woman
explained in a fractured English that
seemed designed to engender misunder-
standing to the house's advantage, es-
pecially in matters of payment “On 
vacation?” I echoed. Who knew escorts
took vacations? But, then again, why
not? They weren't like electric can 
openers, always sitting in the cabinet
under the sink waiting to be used, no
matter what I might have thought. 
“Well who is available that’s just like
her?” The woman thought for a mom-
ent and came up with a name. “Fine,” 
I said. “Send her on over.”

On the door of this police vehicle it says
"Civilian Observation Patrol." So they are 

Her name was Cleo. Where do they
get these names? She was nothing 
like Rhea, needless to say. I should 
have expected that, but somehow 
I didn’t.

I couldn’t get it up. I tried. Cleo tried. 
The porn tape and the Viagra tried. Her 
hand, her mouth, her cunt, her ass—I 
couldn’t make it happen in any of them.
Cleo was sympathetic but wanted to get
paid all the same. I paid her. She wanted 
to know if I’d like to talk. “Talk?” I was 
incredulous. She was sitting on the couch 
in her bra. She had yet to put on her pant-
ies. She shrugged. “Some guys like to talk. 
You know. If they can’t. They want to get
their hour's worth all the same.” “Talk about
what?” She shrugged again, as if it were
all a mystery to her, too. “I dunno. Stuff.” 
“Well, I don’t want to talk about stuff,” I 
said. “Suit yourself,” she replied. She pulled 
on her panties and then the rest of her 
clothes and she left with two hundred 
of my former bucks.

There are many of these pillars in
the city. It's not always clear what
they are commemorating. 

I sat by the window and watched the traffic
move through the streets below. The coagul-
ated arteries of the city stopping and starting,
regulated by the traffic lights. The sick heart
of it somewhere, elsewhere, invisible. All of it
so organized but only when you’re twelve floors
above it all. “Talk,” I said to my reflection in the
window. I made faces at myself. Of disbelief, 
amazement,  horror, trying to wake myself up. 
I looked like a ghost of who I thought I was 
looking in at a stranger. “Imagine that,” I 
said. "They want to talk."

But to who?

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