I roughly awoke. The bare room around me seemed empty but it was not. A young couple had gotten up moments before. Their movements stirring me out a deep REM sleep. I got up and felt my old fat lollypop shape shift ungraciously tottering like an inverted mutton chop. There was only an old king sized rumpled futon lying upon the varnished wooden floor. I walked drowsy down the passageway across the ‘T’ of a central corridor to the next room. My loose baggy briefs had somehow been misplaced having dropped to the floor a few groggy steps back. Another young man was exiting the room going to his job and I laid down in the sheltering ‘L’ shaped space next the passage on another futon. Its owners had departed. Or so I thought. I shifted slightly on my side and saw an older woman naked sitting across from me on the wall opposite. She sat there unmoved. An equally immobile La Jaconda expression. She took one of my feet and elevated it upon an assemble of spars that formed a wooden foot rest and began to massage it until I pulled it back towards me. Though she was probably younger than I was, she seemed too old. I was naked now but had nothing to cover the fact in my repose. People were departing their crowded European flat residences now. Almost as if the ‘fin de siecle’ buildings were naught but giant sponges and the residents within were being squeezed out of them onto the ‘escaliers’ on their way to their jobs. They, and the others bustling in the paint peeled hallways through the door-less jambs could see me but were indifferent to my presence. I was to far past simple acknowledgment. Restless I rose up and walked back to the small central corridor that had the units only permanent closed door. It was the only place that was empty of the bustle of morning activity. There was a small rectangular subtle incised at eye level on the turn that was filled with tiny bits of women’s jewelry. Small earrings and bits of plastic and zircon that were trying hard to look like 24K gold and rubies. My youngish roommates were back laying under the covers of the bed but got up at my entrance after catching their last minute or two of purloined rest. This was a flophouse world where no one had anything but their daily tasks. I wanted to take a picture of a cookie sheet that might have served to make the interesting shot of a mirrored reflection but they protested they had no time for me to even spray a tiny red spot. I was old and tolerated but no one had any time for me any longer. They were too busy like all the hundreds of others packed in upon one and another being silently on the move.
Wake Up Call