Sunday, January 18, 2015
Chapter 4 - The Machiavellian
The atmosphere inside is dark, moody, with the particle board walls being chipped away from years of disservice. Each table sports a light that hovers overhead like the many souls of the dead, all donning differentiating colors of the rainbow as though Davis is bearing witness to the birth and subsequent death of stars in the midst of the crab nebula. Off in the far corner, like a forgotten relic of a bygone era, sits a jukebox with its long colored lights adorning each corner like the fallen pillars of a once great era. One can see the dust covered window shining hazily in the overcast lights of the restaurant. As the music it plays crackles against the broken walls of the place as Robert Johnson sings soulfully to the seemingly uninterested crowd. All the while the waitresses bustle about with a disinterested scowl about their young faces, as though readying their stance for the oncoming end to such a dizzying display of customer interaction. The people seem to cower in relative darkness as the overhead lights only give off a seemingly multicolored disco feel to the place, like the clashing of cultures that sit awkwardly in silence. In the back stands a reticent bartender in the midst of a clamor of noise, as the customers that sit before him throw their hands in the air in a commotion of nonsensical tittering, as though being all too self aware of their own doings. An in the midst of the crowd, like a beacon of light shining forth into the misty night, sits Sally, with a drink in her hand as she watches the crowd in the most cautious of manners.
Davis, could always tell when Sally has been taken over by such nervous tendencies. As she happens to brush her dark brown hair from her hazeling green eyes more often than not. But Davis knows that that is just who she is, a slightly nervous anti social that feels the need to hide behind her unkempt bobbed hair, and burnt orange cardigan, that is now dawned by a green collared golf shirt with the alligator logo partially a skewed from old age. But even with that, he realizes that her tendencies towards such things is the reason why they got together in the first place, as Davis' love for humanity has been wavering since he could remember. Not to say that that is the only reason for their short timed encounters, as now, as he looks down upon such innocent beauty, and an almost reluctance to believe as such, he can still remember, quite fondly, the times that they had spent as a couple, even if it was for but a few fleeting moments.
"Well," says Davis, " I hope you weren't waiting too long?"
"No no no, I just got here myself, and besides, I had a couple friends to keep me company."
"I see, I see." Says Davis." How many friends are you planning to make tonight anyhow."
"Well," she laughs, " the more the merrier, I have always said."
"So, how have things been with you, its been a bit since we last talked?"
"Well I hope our little encounter a while ago didn't have anything to do with it."
"No of course not," he chuckles," are you sure you haven't had enough?"
"I think I am good, why do you ask?"
"It just seems like you're being more upfront than you normally are, and since I know you fairly well, I know that that is usually an ability only given after, how should I say, wetting the old whistle a tad."
"I may have lubed the pistons slightly." She mumbles, as though being quite pleased with herself for coming up with such a sentence.
"Well anyways," says Davis," that really isn't the reason. I have to admit, it was a bit on the awkward side, at first, which may be expected, I would imagine."
"We both most definitely have that quality, don't we!" She chuckles.
Sally, being the friend she is to Davis, even if she is one of the very few he has gathered throughout the years, understandably makes him a little nervous at the prospect of losing this that he holds so dear. But on the other hand, he must admit, even if it is just to himself, that he does feel himself being attracted to her. As it has been quite some time since he has felt such an emotional response towards another person, he is at a odds to what exactly should be done about it. As even now, as Sally sits before him with such a crooked smile as though some wicked thoughts has passed through her mind, he can feel the swelling of his chest, as if some nervous ticks has randomly risen to to the nape of his neck, readying their chance to shoot out for the simple idea of making one look more so on the foolish side of the spectrum.
Myles has really been the only one that had made Davis feel such comfort, as usually others, more so on the female side of things as he had noticed, do not make him feel as such. It does make one wonder why that is so, is it the necessary attraction one feels towards the opposite sex, even if it is hidden beneath subtle layers of consciousness. Why than, would one worry more about woman liking you than men, is it that men always look for the possibility of some type of relations, or just the fact that the female mind is a complete mystery to us. But when in the presence of such attraction, men do seem to go through a slight transformation, an almost dumbing down in a sense. As when at heads with that type of situation, we are just at odds as to what exactly is the right thing to say, as we have all noticed, saying the wrong thing can have some unwanted effects. At this point, Davis can feel such cross roads come into being, a sensation he is not readily comfortable with, as the last time he had come into contact with such, was actually at the office when he first laid eyes on Sally.
Davis can remember the day quite vividly, as outside the sun lay overhead, carpeting his side of the office in a haze of sunlight. The office itself, was a sea of cubicles, and he was just so lucky to get one near the window, which seemed to almost hover over the underlying city as though a king would when looking down upon its disciples. He could hear the maundering noise of his coworkers, as though a quite inebriated rumble of peaks and valleys with no discernible consistency to its noise level, like listening in on the passing traffic from a fixated point. It was from this mess, that Sally walked forth, like a bird rising from its flock into the dawning rays of the sun. An as she continued her path towards Davis, he couldn't help but fix himself for her benefit.
"Its Davis, isn't it?" She says as her voice breaks in a nervous tone.
"Yeah." Says Davis." It most definitely is, how umm! How may I help you?" He asks in a confused manner.
"Well a bunch of us were considering going out for a drink after work, I was just wondering if maybe you wanted to join us?"
"Oh!" He says bewilderedly." I wouldn't want to be a fourth wheel."
"No no no, you have no worries, we want you to come. As," she pauses," you are part of the group, aren't you? "
"Well yeah!" Davis says in a fluctuant manner." I guess?"
As Davis remembers the conversation quite well, he has always imagined it as no more than a conversational necessity, an unwanted affair that has the sole purpose of following such societal conventions. An it is precisely that thought process, that had him disregard such an invite and instead head home for the night. As he had, at that point, never truly felt as though they had wanted him to join, figuring it was just the fact of an awkward interference on his part, seeing he could so obviously hear the whole conversation. It was only till the next day that he had realized his bewailing failure, as it was not as much as the group, as Sally herself, who had truly wanted him to show up. It just happened that she did not feel comfortable being so straight forward, as most people would undoubtedly feel the same strain in doing as such.
"So!" Says Davis, as the waiter quietly places the menus upon the table." I haven't seen you around work as of late?" He asks with a sudden pause, before Sally breaks in.
"Oh yeah! I hadn't told you, I got that promotion we talked about remember, so I am up on the fifth floor now."
"You don't mean the editing position do you, I thought Marshall got that?"
"For reasons I don't yet understand, he declined it. I am not quite sure why, but hey! Works in my favor right?"
"Well congrats, you're an editor now, I always knew you'd rise above the rest."
"Thanks, I was a little worried about it at first, seeing I had no real experience in that field, but it actually worked out in my advantage, as my worries were all for not, an I seem to have a knack for it."
As the crowds begin to pour in, like a steady stream of water dripping from a broken faucet, Sally seems to almost huddle up against herself, as if seeking protection from the very elements of nature.
“Is everything okay,”asks Davis,” You’re not cold are you?”
“No.” she responds coldly.” I am okay, Just a bit peckish, as i haven’t really eaten all too much today.”
“Oh! well my jacket is here if you ever need it.”
“Thanks!” says Sally in a soft voice, that seems to almost reverberate upon the hard wooden table before them.” I appreciate that.” As the waiter hovers over the veritable myriad of awaiting customers, he is as a lighthouse upon the misty waters of a fog filled night, with his bleached white button up acting as a beacon to Davis’ wandering eyes, eventually finding his way over to the table in question.
“Have you had time to look over the menu.” he asks in a surprisingly calm voice.
“Yes actually!” Sally blurts out. “ I think i will have the chicken fettuccini, an do you think i could get another beer as well please!”
“An i think i will have the beef dip!”
“Would you like another beer as well sir!”
“Yes, yes, of course, thank you.”
Davis, as the night moved forth, slowly began to see a slight change in Sallys’ attire, as her cardigan no longer bares itself upon her as though in a state of abscise, which is now coupled with her ever growing conversational status. No longer is she bound by her usual anti social behavior, as her social ticks have since been resided, leaving only an alcohol fueled husk in its wake. Which is not to say she has had a lot to drink, as Davis has realized. But with Sally, it only takes a few for her to shed her socially stumped self.
“Do you remember that guy i dated a few months back, Michael Bales?”
“He was the one that eventually freaked out upon finding out about us, right?”
“Yeah, i am still not sure how exactly he found out about that either, at that point we haven’t talked for some time.”
“Well he was a little on the strange side, probably following you around, spying through your window at nights you know.”
“Thank you for that, like i wasn’t paranoid enough.” She laughs.”But anyways, he got back in touch with me the other day, wanted to see what i was doing.”
“Oh, the old ex text, we know where this is going.”
“Where this is going, what are you talking about? it’s not like he asked me out or anything you know.”
“Come on Sally, you're smart enough to realize that he is basically looking for one of two things; to get back together, which is the most likely, or a booty call, which more than likely is just a wild hope he holds on to.”
“I highly doubt he is looking for a booty call, besides, he made no mention of either anyhow, let alone a booty call.”
“When two people haven’t seen each other for some time, one doesn’t just ask for a booty call out of the blue, you have to take it a bit slow. And besides, he is not getting ahold of you specifically for that, it’s more of a hopeful aspiration on his part, a bonus if you will.”
“Yeah like sleeping with me is a bonus!” she snorts, as her glass clangs against her now empty plate, partially spilling her brimming beer upon the table.
“Well speaking with experience,”says Davis,” Thats as bonus worth playing for!”
“It’s just too bad i couldn’t say the same for you huh!” She laughs, tilting her head back in an obvious display of pleasure.
Sally was never the one for such drunken excess, never the one to go out of her way for a drink, even when it was in such access as it is now. As the last time he had seen her as such was around the time they decided to break up, which as stories go, was mutual. But what Davis has never fully admitted, or even realized, was that he was not exactly on agreeing terms with said deal. What he did realize, was that he could not go on with a relationship that would be so one sided, so he unwillingly agreed to the terms she had put forth, like a mighty river that must eventually branch off from itself.
"So what exactly did this Bales say in this text anyhow?"
"Nothing really, he just asked what I was up too as of late, and was saying that he had gotten a new job in advertising, making the big bucks, as he put it."
"Well what was he doing before?"
"He wasn't really doing anything, he was between jobs. He used to work for the bank up on fourth, the Royal Columbia."
"Oh! Yeah he most definitely wants you back in some form." Laughs Davis." As he is obviously trying to impress you with some fancy new clothes you know!"
"Well.” She says.” I am not as easily impressed! you got to do a little more than stalk to get with this little lady!” she laughs, quite hysterically, as if being somewhat aware of her obvious capriciousness.
Davis doesn’t necessarily have the chance to see this side of her, as its not too often that she lets her proverbially beast out, like a true manifestation of Bruce Banners’ other half. She becomes a wholly other person, as though some door has opened up upon her consciousness, allowing all the previously locked up personality traits freely flow through unto the outside world. An most people, as Davis has imagined, would more than likely prefer this half of Sallys’ personality, As her normal lovely personage seems so filtered as to leave but an overly conscious self, that seems to naturally draw men away in such bantering confusion. But the problem being, is the fact that once one peels back the layers, letting her sun filled eyes finally pierce through, you find something wholly more, a flowering bloom, a break through the clouds, a small embering light. An Davis, being as he is, most prefers this side of her, which in reality, is not really a side at all, seeing that registering it as such is as though it is not her true being, but a sideshow that she encompasses under certain circumstances. Which, for her alcohol fueled bliss, is more in line with that very thought process.
But being that as it may, could not one argue the fact that this is a mere side effect of such alcoholic beverages, which in turn would mean that most, if not all, go through the same type of transformations as Davis now sees before him. An seeing as that may be true, wouldn’t it also be that this is not in fact a part of her personality, somehow hidden away since childhood. Could it be so, that a substance such as alcohol could eventually bring out a part of you that you had no idea was there to begin with, or is it instead being an illusionary tactic of said beverage, tricking the mind into letting certain thoughts flow more freely from ones mouth, like an overly filled glass that can’t help but let a few drops spill over its towering brim. But then if it is a kind of illusion put forth by its contents, why than would most people, at least pertaining to Sally Rathers’, prefer this delusionary specter that he now sees before him. As the real person, whether you get along with said person, seems as though it would always be the better choice. At the end of the day though, as such thoughts pass through Davis’ mind, he cannot help but believe it is connected to the whole grass is greener effect that so many seem to suffer from. A wholly depressive state of constant unhappiness seeing that what others may have always seems more pleasing, at least until said people actually attain those properties, only than realizing what they had previously lost, like some kind of vicious circle of self harm.
Outside the fog has receded, leaving only a slight pungent odor of rotten waste in its wake that now hovers over the now empty streets of the dead. The smell itself comes from the polluted air that seems to travel to these parts every so often, like a flock of birds heading south for the winter. The fog, seems to almost mask the smell, as though acting as a wave of ones hand when in the midst of such unpleasant, and wanted odors. Its a supposed act of nature that the people have really not gotten all that used to as of yet, as its ebb and flow is quite inconsistent, never staying long enough for any one person to get used to its aromic atrocity. It’s an act of old that for one reason or another, has not been exactly eradicated as of yet. But the government offices at this point are not anymore streamlined than they used to be, as the money needed nowadays are tied up in red tape and the grubby hands of such greasy politicians. an probably the same ones that decided it was a great idea to build this particular district where it now stands.
As Davis walks Sally home, he is quite surprised to see her walk with such sobering stability. One would be at a loss to believe that she had drank as much as she has, as though her drunken self had receded much like the fog that once blanketed the city. Even her speech, is barely slurred, as she pronounces each word, each syllable, with such apparent clarity. She has a more jovial tone to her voice as well, as though she had forgotten all her past woes.
"All things considering." She says in wonder.
"This part of the city really has an ethereal beauty to it, does it not?"
"When one is able to forget about the past, only to than focus on the present, the now, the needs of the now, then one could really see the beauty for what it is."
“How so exactly.” She asks.” One cannot exactly wipe out the past altogether, only with the past can one appreciate such things as has been currently granted to them.”
“Although true overall, you should be one to realize, that the past, our past, has the ability to fade the present. What i am saying is don’t let the past stop you from allowing you to see the beauty of any given event, even if it is for but a short time. You can remember the past overall, but when you allow it to take over, is when you stop losing the ability to be yourself, sometimes you need to forget past iniquities and allow yourself the fact of happiness, even if it is for a fleeting moment.”
“Well not the most graceful message you have ever delivered, but i do think i understand where you are coming from. With that though, i will ask you this, do you think our past will ever be forgotten, seeing that the basic foundation of our friendship is a romantic one, and do you think that foundation would ever become faulty with any regression.”
“Have you ever thought of regressing.”
“That is not the point.” She says poignantly.” Do you think there is an allowable misstep in any friendship, would it even be a misstep if it was agreed upon.”
“I think in any relationship there is an allowable limit, and if two people are mature enough to put certain missteps behind them as a basic meaningless event, than yes i believe that that friendship can, and should move forward, even become stronger than it was previously.”
As they stroll down the city streets, the few lights that remain are like the embers of a once raging fire that still have yet to be extinguished. As the air outside is getting colder, with each breathe Davis exumes being a testament to the ever changing climate towards such wintery tundra. An as they begin to near Sally's apartment, Davis still can't help but be amazed at such poignant behavior currently exuding from Sally's drunken lips, as though the alcohol content upon her body has had the opposite effect, somehow opening her up and refining her in the most fascinating of manners. Now reaching their destination, Davis pauses in wait for his apparent departure, readying his stance for one final ado before heading back home after a long night out. Sally though, having different plans, hurriedly asks him upstairs for a late night coffee, ending his abrupt departure for such differing pastures. Being built just a year or so prior, Sallys' building is a shining construct of normalcy, considering the buildings downtown are all mostly clones of one another. This one in particular, takes on an ash covered hue as though it had absorbed the very darkness that now resides upon it. An at the peak, only about ten stories or so, lies a billboard with its iridescence that cuts through the night like a finely sharpened knife. Inside it takes on a wholly differing contrast, as the walls are plastered with a most unusually styled green wallpaper befitting that of the 1950's. With the doorman standing out front with a solemn look about his face as though he had somehow fallen asleep with his eyes open.
Upstairs, Sally let's out a final gasp as she remembers a slight detail that she had previously forgotten to divulge. As she then suddenly stops before her front door and says.
"By the way!" She begins. "I should tell you that I had just came into the helpful hands of one of those An-d's I am sure you heard all about."
"Yeah, I heard.. I heard a few things."
"Well I figured it would be nice to have a helper around the house you know, what with the new job and all keeping me busy."
"How is it working anyways, how does it act?"
"How does it act." She says quite gregariously." It acts quite like you and I do."
"Well I have never really owned a robot before you know, I was just curious."
"That's all fine and good, but its not a robot, he's Paul."
"Paul huh!" Says Davis musingly."Okay!"
Inside, Davis can hear the clanging of porcelain ring through the walls, seemingly cutting through the silence like a lighthouse through a thick fog. Paul, now stands about the kitchen with his back turned away, his long black hair carelessly flows upon his back as though a slight breeze has just met its contours in an extravagant display of flamboyance. An as he turns towards him Davis almost expects a muted flash of light to be streaked across his brow as in the old movies he watched as a child. An as Davis peers before him, studying the minute details of Pauls extravagant exterior, he finds himself fumbling over the fact that he is an android. Even the wrinkles upon his face appear to have slowly evolved their like a slow moving glacier that cuts through the land. As his piercing eyes are as though they are the heavens themselves, a bright blue sky on the most sunniest of summer days. With his mouth slightly agape, he eventually mutters a nerve rendered greeting.”You must be Paul, i am guessing?”
“That would be me, and you would be?”
“Oh sorry.” Says Davis, still frazzled by his utter misconception.” My name is Davis, i am a friend of Sallys’ from work.”
“Well hello Davis from work.” He says coldly.” It is nice to meet you!”
“Yeah same,” he says,” same.”
“Would you two be wanting anything before i am off for the night?”
“No, that is quite alright Paul, thanks for everything!”
“Always a pleasure Madame, always a pleasure.”
As Sally removes herself from the living room, she leaves Davis in silence to scan the room. Noticing the pictures upon the wall, a plethora of erratic tastes that do not seem to have any type of underlying theme whatsoever, he cannot help but wonder the origins of such objects, as though they suddenly happen upon her one winters afternoon. Maybe they were a thrift store buyout, or maybe Paul has found a taste of his own, a taste so unlike him. As Davis imagines one with such perfect features would not want anything less, forever burdened to seek out similar features in all of daily life. But then again, he realizes, even if he won’t admit it, that he somewhat feels a tad threatened by such an aspect. But considering that he is no more than a mere machine, makes such an emotional response all the more interesting, as he is not quite sure if he should really be all too jealous of a An-d, no matter how attractive one should be.
“So.”Sally calls out from the edge of her bedroom door.”Do you like the pictures?”
Sally, now sporting short green soccer shorts, and a white undershirt, shuffles over towards Davis sitting upon the couch. An as he looks upon such bounteous beauty, he cannot help but feel a slight arousal begin to whisper deep within himself. After such a long time, he has forgotten such esoteric beauty that would normally be hidden beneath layers of wool and cotton.
"I was just curious as to where one might happen upon such artifacts?"
"Why!" She asks in bewilderment." You don't like them?"
"It's not that, it's just that they don't really seem to go together. You have to admit, they are quite random."
"That's why I like 'em, they are just so odd!"
"I guess that does make a lot of sense, considering the source."
"Are you calling me odd?" She asks inquisitively.
"Not really odd, just interesting."
Now sitting beside him, Davis can suddenly feel the heat of her pale white thighs upon his own, as they shift ever so slightly in turn caressing his skin in a most pleasing of manners.
"Is everything alright." He says forthwith, as a sudden look of nausea freckles upon her face.
"I am okay! I just think all that alcohol has finally begun to show its face."
"You drank quite a bit, maybe it might be best if you just slept it off for now."
"Yeah," she mumbles,". You may be right."