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Sculpture Garden

I went on a little journey today. Here’s me: bored late twenty-something on her day off. The one thing on my agenda other than a few scattered chores is a trip tova local esteemed art gallery. It is a small gallery which I have only been to during openings, but according to the ad, they have normal viewing hours Monday thru Friday 1pm to 4pm, and today is the last chance I’ll have to see the latest installment, sculptures made of heavy material but shaped to look weightless. The example I saw online was one made of four heavy slides of metal, two base pieces that were vaguely pear-shaped and sandwiched together to accentuate their slim sides, each with another wavy piece floating gracefully into the air. The whole thing reminded me of a whale: huge but graceful.

Little did I know however, that my journey would lead me far, far from the art gallery. The first thing I did was almost hit a child. Prompted to cross by the stop guard, he put his arms out and ran across the street at top speed, and without pausing, turned and crossed the adjacent street, right in front of my car. I stopped well within time, but the people at the corner and the cross guard were giving me demeaning, disapproving looks. I stared at them in shock for several minutes before continuing inti the next road. What was wrong with me? Why did I attempt to turn when a child was crossing the road? Children are damn well unpredictable. I shouldn’t have moved in any direction until the child was completely clear of the intersection.

Trying not to let this distract me, I headed in the direction Google Maps suggested, which looked completely wrong. Pretty soon I was in the East side, boarded-up-windows territory. Large, handsome architecture, half-collapsed and falling into disrepair.

I tried not to gape like a damn tourist, but my eyes zipped around. There was an arcade shop and a furniture store. I passed a dinky little burger drive-through. Knowing this was obviously the wrong way, I asked myself how far I should venture before turning around. And then, across the street from what was clearly the projects, over the hill came rows of stones, a monument, a mosoleum. It was the biggest graveyard I had seen in town–and I had no idea it was there. Like the people in the projects, it was stuffed off to the side; forgotten.

I found myself in the right lane at a red light, right in front of the entrance. I turned in. As I drove, I looled around in wonder. Rutheby. Gillepsy. Carmichael. Our resting ground. Our final destination. For a moment I was crossed with the indignation at how much people had to pay for auh a privelege. Then, driving along the paved path, turning a corner, I gasped. The stones went on for acres, stretching much farther than I had originally realized. My breath was taken for a moment, but I resolved to leave, feeling like a trespasser. Pulling out of the Yard spit me right onto the street I needed to get home.

Iy was 3:40.

Passing a neighborhood of more large yet dilapedated houses, I finally saw the buildings of downtown. Giving up on Google, I realized I KNEW where the damn thing was–I had been there several times! Shaking my head, I headed North yet again and down toward the shops on 2nd North. Once in the area, I found a place to park. Only 50c for an hour! A nice man whose dogs were jumping on me directed me to the next block up. Reaching the next intersection, I found the familiar street lined with cafes and bars, but could not see the gallery. Turning the oyher direction, the mass of brick looked like more office buildings, but then, in the distance, I saw a paper taped to a window reading “art classes.” That’s it! I jogged across the street, past several blocked doors and window displays stuffed with student art, and finally reached the show room. The door was locked. It was probably just after 4. But through the window, I could aee the sculpture. The metal one with the fins. And I was fantastically dissatisfied with it.

Smiling, I headed toward the cafe I passed, contemplating my very profound experience in the sculpture garden across from the projects.

And here I sit. Finishing my sandwich.

The Foreigner

The Foreigner Ch.10: The Facility

Hello! Welcome to my page! The Foreigner continues in 2015! Woo!

*~*~*~*~*

A dark shoe emerges from the sliding metal-fiber door. Jessick takes a moment to look around, her dark hair swooping over one side of her forehead, curling back over her ear, cupping the occipital ridge and ending above her neck. Her eyes shine green in the vibrant yellow light blasting through the glass ceiling. The station is not terribly busy. A few people push past her as she takes in the sights… locals probably, busying themselves with retrieving luggage and heading home. But Jessick is not from here. The paneled windows above her extend from the train tunnel and curve down like an awning, open the New Mexican air where a wall of heat waits to assault new visitors.

The station is painfully well-polished, a brand-new installment as part of a government program to keep people from panicking over the transportation crisis. The railing is clean and shiny with no scratches. A nearby wall displays a TV air-screen flashing between news clips, train notices, and routes. A couple standing at the adjacent display selects a location from the menu, and Jessick watches as the screen zooms out to the train map, highlighting the route with bullet points on the side listing their exits and change-overs. With the press of another button, it prints out a receipt-like-paper mapping their route. As Jessick leaves the shelter of the curved window overhead, rolling luggage in tow, she heaves the dry western air.

“Just a dry heat…” she mutters, rolling her eyes. “Indeed.”

There is no parking lot, but a waiting area with picnic tables. Other travelers are walking next door to an attached building with snacks, bathroom, and information. A narrow road, looking more like a wide, smooth sidewalk, ends in a loop in front of the arrivals. Drivers are lined up in little smart cars behind a blue sign with white letters saying, “passenger pick-up.”

Climbing in one of the cars, she tells the driver the neighborhood she is looking for, assuring her that she will have a map pulled up by the time they get there. The woman rolls her eyes and off they go, whirring like a toy car. Cozy in the back seat, Jessick flips the switch on a tiny plastic-looking cap on her pinky finger. A square blue light flicks on and Jessick feels that familiar buzz in her head. On a petite band around her wrist is a small black box. With another click of a button, a transparent screen blinks itself into existence in front of her. As she stares at the screen, it changes a couple of times; a blank screen, a search bar, a map.

*~*~*~*~*

Coffee is a dangerous companion for Jessick. Its aromatic steam and rich flavor could talk her into doing just about anything. Traversing through abandoned buildings where nameless heinous crimes would probably be performed on her? “Eh,” she would say, latte in hand, “It’ll be an adventure.” Following a suspicious character with two teeth, a bald head, and overalls into a creepy old warehouse? “Whatever, as long as I get some coffee and a good story out of it.”

Now, holding a fresh cuppa joe, Jessick waits in a painfully sterile bare-bones lobby. A man in military uniform reclines behind the security desk, full with glass walls. The security guard’s blank stare is wearing her down just as a man comes bustling through a plane white door, closing and locking it behind him. A blocky head is propped atop a tall, round body. Scruffy blond hair frames kind blue eyes and a comically square nose.

“How the hell did you get here? Who let you in?” he says with a smirk.

“Turns out I’m really important,” she says, putting a hand on her hip. They laugh and shake hands.

“Good to see you, Tails.”

“Likewise. So this Ted person was supposed to get you clearance?”

Jessick raises an eyebrow, “I would assume… but maybe something is holding him up. Anyway, I was told to be here.”

The man shrugs. “Let me get Gerard. He’s the one heading the research.”

“Tails” disappears for several moments, and Jessick is once again left to stand awkwardly with the security guard.

A stuffy man who would look at home in a cravat, but wears a simple button-up shirt and slacks, walks into the room and looks around, down his nose and through his thick glasses. His balding head comes to a shiny point above watery eyes that hold a condescending glare. His small mouth is puckered with indignation.

“What’s this?” he demands, huffing importantly, coming up to Jessick’s shoulder, “Where is Mr. Montgomery?”

“He’ll be here in a few days, sir,” Jessick says calmly, extending her hand, “My name is Jessick Sanders, and I’m actually directing the film.”

If possible, he tilts his head back yet further, as if subconsciously wishing to distance himself.

You?”

No, the Pope. “Yes sir, I worked with Ted before, and he actually wants me to have the reigns in this project. He will be here in a few days to supervise and offer advice.”

The man blinks once. Twice. “So you are supposed to be the one documenting this whole experiment?”

“Actually, Gerard,” Jessick says, becoming impatient, “I am not just here to sit behind a camera. I’m here to give your story an angle.”

He shrugs, “What does it have to do with me? I will oversee my experiments, and you can film from all the angles you want.”

“I just want to make sure we have an understanding. Like I said, I don’t just want to film what’s going on. You see, you need to capture the people’s attention so that you can get more funding.”

Gerard’s eyes dart around the room, apparently searching for someone to share his incredulity.

“Let’s get you settled, Miss–ah–Sanders, and we can talk about details when Mr. Montgomery arrives,” he says finally, speaking too loudly, as if desperate to regain control of the conversation.

Considering it a moot point, Jessick agrees to be led to her room, unable to contain a little smirk on her face.