I was a known unknown. Famous for all those things I never cared to actually put my name to. I walked through the streets conspicuously, while everyone walked past me oblivious that many of their idols walked past them in the figure of one man. Many in one, more than just a Janus, I had released works of art, music, film, all under pseudonyms that always pointed in the direction of a plausible person, but never actually revealed anyone that could reasonably be credited with my vision. Praise rained down around my ears, but I suppose I held up an umbrella because I was still seeking something. Don’t ask me what it is because that would be entirely too intrusive and it would be rude of you to consider it, but tonight I was convinced I might find it. At least a hint of it.
My wingtips echoed clicks off the brick walls of a decrepit alley, rats lazily drifting into more obscure locations. They all knew they had the numbers, this was their territory. All the same, undaunted I picked my way through the trash carefully making my way so as to avoid a speck of filth on my black and white pinstripe suit. With my fedora pulled down low, my feather tipping its way toward the door. I issued three sharp knocks. A steel grate whistles open in the filthy door and a pair of eyes emerges slowly out of the darkness. Behind the door someone clears their throat, and I respond appropriately, “I am lost?”
“That was never in question.” The door swings outward to admit me into the pitch black interior. I take a couple steps the bright blue eyes shimmering from the entranceway now behind me. I hear a match strike into flame as I pull aside the ratty curtain to reveal nightlife. In my town it wouldn’t be fair to call any other dump an example of nightlife, but here, in this place, was what nightlife around the world strived to be. Waitresses didn’t so much take orders as deliver them. No one ever complained to those sharply dressed vixens they only thanked them profusely and tipped them with even more fervor.
One vixen stood out among the rest. It wasn’t the fact that she was up on stage that gave her individuality, it was the way she commanded the attention of the room, men and women alike. The sleek black dress she wore left plenty to the imagination, hugging her body in convenient places so that everyone knew that she was every bit of woman inside her gown, but it still wasn’t that. If anything, it was the way the silence in her song was as much a part of her performance as her voice. I do mean silence, not that silence that panders to the masses by allowing side conversation and the tinkling of glasses. The sheer force of her presence struck everyone into awe as she sung her siren’s song. The piano gave her the melody and rhythm to follow along, but at all times you couldn’t help, but wonder how the pianist himself wasn’t struck dumb by the spectacle before him.
I didn’t need to wonder. Like anyone who was worth a damn I knew she only ever performed with one man. No one had known where he came from or how he had been trained, but one thing was certain. The piano player was blind and deaf besides, feeling the keys as if familiarizing himself with old friends. He never missed a note. She held the club rapt for a few seconds more and then she retreated behind the curtain immediately behind her. The collective whoosh of breath from the mass of people that had been unconsciously holding their breath so as not to disturb the song with their dry rattles was almost deafening compared to the silence that had preceded it. But the rush of the night club resumed, everyone attempting to forget the performance so that it didn’t consume them the way only a small portion of music can, swallowing a person whole, their soul lost in the rhythm forever.
I passed further into the club passing the tables which would be waiting for me when I returned from the work at hand. Sure enough, my money had done what it had been spent to do. It had bought me a waitress’ services. I slipped past the out of order sign placed in front of the men’s restroom and I find inside exactly what I had been anticipating. A bucket of black paint and an assorted tray of brushes lay waiting for me. Among my works I say this was my second best only because this piece of art could possibly be seen without truly knowing it even existed. The scant possibility that it could be recognized is what made it second best. I quickly but carefully put my coat and hat on the coat rack and proceeded to roll up my sleeves to begin my work.
No-fitti is what I called it. It was tagging without the ego. No one would ever recognize the signature I had left on the wall. It was a redecoration of the subtlest sense. I took in the white tiled walls and slowly, but carefully painted the spaces between the tiles black. Every single nook and cranny was given the same treatment. I was there until the club was closing making sure that every line was perfect. And then I put the brushes back in the tray and covered up the paint can again. Washing what few specks of paint had dripped down to my hands, I dried my hands on the towel left by the last gentleman to man the powder room. Reapplying my coat as I had those last few coats of paint, carefully and precisely, I slipped my hat back on and replaced the out of order sign behind me when I left the bathroom. No one would know of my art and better yet no one would know it had been me who had done it. True anonymity.
I didn’t know these things had to be caught
like a cold or a baseball or a criminal that fought
for the freedom to walk the streets for one more day
without the knowledge that he’d have to pay
for his crimes like I pay for these things
these emotions these things called feelings
Yeah I caught feelings like a disease that spread
from you to me not in the shower or on the bed
but in your eyes and in your smile
or the way that you walk through mile after mile
If you were to ask me though these things caught me
they chased me down for a nominal fee
I paid the price, but I didn’t have the money
So my heart is what you took when you threw away the key
I might have caught them they may have found me
but it doesn’t matter cause what will be will be
I hope that one day you will feel what I feel
but I just want to keep it realer than real
the straight up truth is that I lost this battle
but I have never been one to easily rattle
So I’ll have to live with what’s been done
and hope next time around I’ll win the next one.
Typo trowback Tuesday with my nephew from some months ago. @brittakneeee repost. (Taken with Instagram)