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  • Part 4
    two of us
    sat on a torn
    and dirty mattress
    in almost total darkness.
    a burning candle
    inside of an old tuna can
    placed on a couple of books between us
    served as the only source of light.
    other than that,
    I knew only one thing,
    that I was somewhere inside
    a 12 story building
    near Hollywood and Vine.
    as to WHICH FLOOR we were on
    was constantly open to question
    all because his so-called new place
    literally rested
    on top of an operating elevator car.
    every few seconds
    the thing would rattle and vibrate
    with swooshing sounds,
    moving fast with reckless speed
    whether going up or going down.
    and no matter what
    I'd grab onto to brace myself,
    I'd always end up covered
    with slippery sludge-like filthy grease.
    it wasn't easy dealing with
    continual g-forces either.
    we both showed a tendency to get nauseous.
    and always
    there were voices or odd noises
    coming from the passengers
    either talking to each other
    or even talking to themselves,
    or blowing debris
    from out of their noses.
    far as I
    was concerned,
    this whole thing was a mistake,
    it was sheer lunacy.
    Jerry had taken a quirky idea
    many steps too far.
    sleeping in the backseat
    of an abandoned car
    or even in a deserted railway shack
    was one thing...
    on top of a moving elevator?
    that was another thing altogether.
    it seemed more than just living on the edge.
    maybe it was a form of homelessness in denial.
    but it was definitely first class insanity!
    "I really don't think
    this is going to work out for you,"
    I told him.
    "I'm way ahead of you,"
    he said
    anticipating the worst.
    "I can get used to it.
    the human mind is tantamount
    to its spirit."
    "that's not my point,"
    I informed him.
    "this isn't quite the same
    as living next to the freeway
    and pretending to HEAR the hiss
    of traffic as the sound of the sea."
    he quickly added,
    "its more like taking charge of your life
    and getting ready to take those first steps
    into our new century...
    that's when its all going to fall apart
    and people will be living anywhere they can."
    "oh yeah?"
    I said
    challenging him.
    "well then you better watch out
    for that last might be
    12 floors down!"
    I figured
    I could finish off Jerry
    right there and then
    and save the world
    a lot of trouble.
    but I wasn't the type.
    besides...he'd probably do
    a better job of it himself.
    I had had enough of him
    left while counting the days.
    at least that was my choice.
    life was far too clever than that.
    long before
    Jerry got caught.
    although he managed
    to dodge both management
    and security for quite a long time,
    he ultimately fell victim
    to some unexpected building maintenance.
    while he was using the bathroom on the second floor
    late one night long after the place had closed,
    he found all the elevators suddenly inoperative.
    and somehow it was all too easy for me
    to imagine him running up
    10 flights of stairs in a raging panic
    only to find some Asian fellow greasing cable
    while standing on his mattress.
    as it turned out,
    the man was a recent immigrant from Korea
    who spoke very little English
    and absolutely no Chinese!
    remained undaunted
    by the resulting embarrassment.
    but now he had to rethink things,
    rework them and search other options.
    maybe...even get a job!
    the possibilities weren't endless,
    but they were there.
    yet over-all
    he was still bent on proving his theory
    no matter what and where it'd take him.
    the very first time,
    I caught a dark glimpse of him.
    I started seeing Jerry like cold dust
    rising from the slightest movement,
    becoming more scattered
    while not really landing anywhere
    in particular.
    living for nothing
    exceeded being an obsession.
    Jerry seemed possessed
    like a headless demon
    by spending every wakeful moment
    searching for his objective
    in everything and everywhere.
    it became his vigilant duty
    to beat the odds,
    because without it according to him,
    the mere act of survival
    simply paled.
    (c)2015 Miles Ciletti
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