Alphaville

It isn’t Nicholas on the buildings. People from the good part of town visit here sometimes.

I’m just not educated like they are. Thanks.

“This is good weather for windowshopping.”

“Forget the weather. I’ve had enough coffee to go windowshopping.”

 “But with the wrong shoes.”

“They’re for my satisfaction. Thanks.” But Nicholas, behind their sparkle. I’m too busy staring at strangers lately.

There’s no need to ask anyone about it.

It was also raining yesterday.

Well. They usually don’t fly so low. But I’m not that bothered by them.

Nicholas particularly like a February. Good to make a note of that.

“Of course I like you, Charlie.”

“Okay. But we’re already here at the entrance. Let me treat you.”

“Since you said treat.” Most of these places aren’t any good. I’d rather have a snack at the uptown, than assorted slop.

I should apply for a transfer over there. But I’m not so uncommon in that desire.

Attending uptown gatherings is no small feat. No one else in my office has. Nicholas may actually be the spur to a better living, a healthier curiosity. And the man himself seemed unquenchably curious.

Helicopters are leaving. They’re a strange sight. I’m used to the blackness that late hours project on my commute. But when I see things like those, they don’t give me the peace of a blank canvas that I need to treat each walk as mundane. Experiences beside the margins, those times. Strange geometry.

***     

That moment again.

The chandeliers were worth more than my blood spilled, and not many people are willing to put a price on that. He was dignified, but with a sitting girth.

“You seem nervous.”

“Yes. I hope you know I’ve never attended one of these things before.”

“That doesn’t mean there’s anything to be nervous about. Here, there. We’re all people.” But bodies drop for knocking on their door.

“I’ve noticed you've been looking outside a lot. Not taking much to drink. Keeping to yourself.”

“I apologize. It’s the way I usually am, on days such as these.”

“No, no. It’s the sign of an active mind, I’d say. Especially in this sort of city.”

“How so?”

“Hmm,” nearing the window, “We’ve accepted living in an ugly way.” Men kept to themselves near the room’s entrance, but with an interest in our conversation. I tried to guess what direction his eyes went towards, and found an oddly-marked billboard being torn down.

Even now, his anger doesn’t make sense to me. The ugliness of an innocuous, ripped billboard. The ugliness of what else? What I’m starting to realize is that how he measured the sights was more important, than any part of the city that could’ve been put in front of him. But what kind of gleam is that?

“I don’t feel ugly.”

“You don’t? I don’t either. I just wonder if you’re suspicious of a city without change, that’s lasted so long.”

“I’m...I’m not taught that way. Thanks,” I said, beginning to feel dizzy.

John Charles Wolf is a college student. He could be found at johncharleswolf.tumblr.com.