The people next door are building a Trojan Horse.
Or perhaps they are very heavy Irish Step dancers.
It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in an apartment, but it’s all coming back to me now.
Of course, this is no ordinary apartment. A security building, it boasts six floors of brick and exposed duct work, enormous windows that look onto downtown. Look straight ahead. See that? There’s the building I work in. And there’s Target Field. And there’s Déjà Vu, a strip club featuring, according to the billboard that runs along the top of its garish, pink exterior, “100's of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones”.
“The bus stop is just across the way,” Sarah tells me.
I look down, from the sixth floor, to the street. “What’s the hood ratio around here?”
“Like in hoodlum?”
She thinks. “Hmm. Well, when you go to work, there are zero hoods about. And when you get off work, not a problem. But late at night? Bar-close late? A little shady, yeah.”
We stare at each other. The last few weeks have been difficult for both of us. She leaves for
in four hours. Brussels
“How big’s your purse?” she says.
I point to it, a mustard-yellow valise with large metal rivets on its outward-facing side.
Sarah smiles. “Really?”
“What,” I say. “You don’t like it? The gals on the bus love it!”
“Hmm,” she says.
Sarah stands up, hoists the afore-mentioned satchel over one shoulder. “Pay attention,” she says. She puts her free hand in the bag, lowers her chin at me, looks at me from under her brow, and then, with a nuance of facial expression rarely found amongst the common folk, lifts her eyebrows, a movement so small yet so threatening that one is compelled to step backward. From within the bag she makes a small hand movement, as if to imply she's packin'.
I burst into laughter. “What are you, now? Scarface?”
Sarah grins. “Hand to God,” she says. “Looks like I have a gun, right? I pulled that very same maneuver at two guys on the corner last summer and they stepped away like their feet were on fire. ”
“Well, yeah,” I laughed. “And there’s probably a poster of you somewhere now, a police sketch-artist rendition of a short white woman in expensive shoes threatening people with implied weaponry.”
Sarah smiles, shrugs. “They mess with the pretend bull, they get the imaginary horns.”