May 14, 2007

Hello my name

The two long windows on either side of the door were both broken. When the door between them opened and closed more glass came down, broke away from the web-cracked pane and fell, like chandelier rain. He walked back and forth through the door, opening it and closing it obsessively over and over and watching the window break more and more at each pass and hearing the glass beneath his feet grind between his hard soles and the cement. His thoughts were like that. Funneled down too narrow, too narrow. Until he couldn't get away.

He sat on the beach in his suit. Black suit and white shirt like a Hoover man or a vacuum salesman. He wrapped his arms around his knees pressed to his chest, waiting for someone to come get him. Little bits of sand were sticking to the polish on his shoes. A washed out sand castle set like a lump surrounded by a moat from last week, from the fake feeling of summer that swept California in September, late this year, swept children and weekenders out to the the beach for a last blast of sun and sea salt and the construction of castles.

Today was gray. Today was Tuesday. The beach was empty except for Dick, sitting there looking away. The sun was slowly covered by the afternoon as the shadows of clouds traced their way in from the Pacific and over the sand in rolls and on up to the hills that were green with the first fall rain, green barely seen through the long brown summer season's turn.

Half a jelly fish lay strangled by sea weed. The weed knotted around the middle, like for a lynching, now dried out and brittle.

He wasn't supposed to be here. He was supposed to have something to do. There were still hours left before the polls closed. He should be supervising. He should be making phone calls. He should be out there. Hello my name is Dick and I want to be your congressman. Hello my name is Dick. Hello my name is Dick. Hello my name is Dick. Hello my name. He should be screaming at staffers and quoting predictions to pundits and running one last attack on his opponent, mentioning accidentally that she is a Jew, mentioning subtly that she is East Coast money, mentioning anonymously that she is a communist and pink down to her underwear. Instead he was here, sitting.

He could be preparing, instead of sitting here. But he couldn't any more. They would expect to see him tonight. Expect a party. Except a speech with his arm around his Good Republican Wife and saying thank you, thank you. Saying victory with his arms raised. Or a concession. They would expect him if he lost too. Expected him to say thank you, thank you, say next time, say I appreciate all of your work and you couldn't have worked harder. They would shake his hand and say whatever they had to say repeatedly, obsessively.

If he wasn't doing that he should have been sleeping. Seventy two hours with only four on the campaign couch, two at a time before he would shower and shave and leave again, slamming the door behind him. His eyes were sandy. His eyes were red. His throat was red and raw and his neck met his shoulders with a searing feeling and the sleepless wind was raising his hair on end.

He wasn't focusing. He was just holding his knees. His eyes were blank looking at the Pacific. He had sort of hoped they'd find him, rush up talking from too far away, talking before he could hear and he would turn and uncomprehendingly watch their mumbling mouths in the wind. They never came. He sat there in the empty sand looking at nothing, looking at the ocean. Let the wind blow the clouds up to the mountain line and let the clouds back up over the coast casting everything gray. And he despaired.

When he stood up there was a butt-mark in the sand where he'd sat.