Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Sales Rep

I drag my suitcase to the checkout and queue behind a distressed sales rep.
I focus on his ears - funnily enough, they seem to have come unstuck from his head. If
the doorman opens the door again, the strong midday wind will carry them away.
They will be free. Like two Siamese butterflies separated in the operating theatre
of the Amazon. I see them flapping into the canopy, avoiding the giant tree snakes
and ball-scratching monkeys. Meanwhile, the sales rep will have become lost in a world
of silence. The only indication that something’s amiss is the intense humidity
spreading out from his armpits. His first reaction is to check his phone for messages.

I admit to raiding the minibar. I sign the official paper that says I agree with paying for alcohol
and chips. I tip the doorman wavering in the warm breeze. I begin to sink, imperceptibly
at first. Then, more rapidly, as the horizon rises in a river of grass. Panicking, I quickly
grab a mangrove root and pull myself onto the muddy pockmarked bank. I’ve lost
my shoes. Someone is blocking the sun. It’s the doorman reaching into the taxi to hand me back
my sunglasses. (I see myself reflected in their polarized shells, an old man, a throwback,
an extra pair of incisors rippling under my cheeks, a continuous brow wreathing tendrils of dark
through to grey). A large flower opens up ahead and exudes a pornographic stench as I

hit the ramp leading onto the motorway. The landscape changes into a benzene morass
of many colours. Numerous small tufts of dried grass shiver in the wind that fluffs up
mists of salt where the invisible surf drones behind dunes of torn plastic and discarded
white goods. On the hard shoulder, I notice a small band of suited men and women
playing with electronic devices, jogging in a tight formation, sweating like basted calves.
Beyond the flat isthmus, the tide is coming in. Its obscure waters swirl on the floor
of the taxi, tickling my toes through caked socks. I punch open the back window
and clamber onto the roof. Soon I am surfing through choppy waters, the taxi is

prowling the shallows like a manta ray. I begin to wonder how the driver can breathe
when a quick-tacking flotilla of suitcases floats into the tidal zone
like guests at a cocktail party. A small carry-on trolley glides up alongside me
with a tray of canapés. I’m feeling a little hungry, so I grab one as it floats by. I notice
I’m holding an ear filled with beeswax and sesame seeds and a just lick
of duck liver. A voice booms overhead (stout, chill, bright)
calling me to the gate to take my flight. Ahead, I see the same earless man
from the hotel. His phone makes him smile. His phone is a drum beat that speaks

its own language: “My heart against your heart, I hear the sound of unison. A soaring, red sound.”

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?