I get off the subway at Penn Station and head the wrong way again.
Street vendors sell bootleg DVD's with Japanese subtitles. Others sell belts,sunglasses, religions, and pornography. One corner smells like a Cuban's ransom in cigars. Another smells like smoky Chinese food. Another like sweat and pavement.
I hit the United Nations building and release I've gone the wrong way. Sweat and pavement, smoky Chinese food, sweat and cigars.
At two o'clock I find the Marriott with room to spare. I walk in and feel like a black man at a clan meeting. everything is bright and still. I take the elevator to the eight floor bar.
Fountains, suits, slacks, sports coats, marble, Absolute, blue ice, red paper lanterns, golden mobiles, black stewardesses, Van Gogh carpet, stacked floors, Aldous Huxley hives, sushi bars, guard rails.
And Disney colors--teal, azure, cobalt, lavender, magenta, and polished copper. Triangles, triangles, spheres, triangles, snail shells, deco, and cubism. Silver and gold--
Jack waves from the ninth floor. A minute later he comes down in his grey business suit and mischievous smile.
"Hey! How's it going today?"
"So, what've you been up to?"
"Well, I went to the Guggenheim..."
"Oh great--do they still have that big gold thing in the center?"
"That reaches up through four floors, yeah."
"Did you check out the Brazilian exhibit?"
"Not really. I was more into the permanent collect."
"Yeah, that's good stuff"
Jack proceeds to tell me the story of the building. He knows who built every building in New York. He knows who installed the fire hydrant at 5th and 42nd.
I'm waiting for a waitress. I'm caught between whiskey and a beer. But no one ever comes.
"Listen, I should get back."
We both stand up.
"I'm not used to hotels like this. I can't imagine having a business meeting--or sleeping."
"This is my life, Charlie."
"You live in a fucking Kubrick film."
"Yeah. You should see the places in Japan."
josh davis ©2003