By Revolutionary Worker Scholar
Still working in the world of private security. I am paid to provide “excellent and unequaled” security service to an apartment complex that I’ll call “Land O’ Lakes”. When I get to work, I am issued a walkie-talkie, cell-phone and a set of keys. It’s funny but I do my best work when I am at a dull, mundane and mind numbing (or dumbing) job. I sit at my little desk and start scribbling and sometimes I really start cranking the shit out (or cranking out the shit, depending on one’s opinion). I start to get into some kind of zone and I start forgetting that I work as a security officer, that the badge on my shirt is just metal that was stolen from the ground, that I am a writer—incident and daily activity reports be damned. And at that moment when I’ve written away every piece of security guard clothing and equipment from my body and mind, it happens: I get a call on the walkie-talkie or from the 24 hour answering service (nice ladies from Iowa with voices that convey a nasaly southern California sensibility).
“Hello…this is Eliza from the survisssss”
Sometimes she snacks on chips as she speaks. I ask her what kind of chips she’s eating. She is very diverse and non-discriminating in her selection of chips. “I’m having (crunch) ranch (crunch) chips. They’re my (crunch) favorite (crunch) chips…(crunch crunchity crunch). She tells that two San Francisco police officers are requesting that I meet them. They are 3 buildings away. I hook my walkie-talkie to my belt and walk outside. The complex is surrounded by trees bending at an angle. The moon slips through and on some nights I look up and feel my mind bending into the past, just the way my uncle, the poet Al Robles describes; I become one with the trees and with the lake that rests across the street. I no longer need or want. It reminds me that my ancestors are watching.
I get to the lobby of the building where the cops are waiting. There’s only one officer, an Asian guy who had the look of someone who went to my high school but someone I didn’t hang around with (I didn’t hang around anybody). “We had a complaint of a disturbance”, he said. I stood in the lobby with the cop for a while. I don’t like to be in the same room or on the same continent as the cops; they have a way of looking at you and seeing nothing. I turned and looked out the window at the trees and lake. I saw myself in the reflection of it all. The wind turned the water over, making poems over and over again. I waited for the cop’s kindly (I hope) brethren in blue so I could get whatever pertinent information I needed for my daily activity report—as per company policy.
The cop stood a few feet away from me. He stared out the window. Maybe he too was seeing something out there. Maybe the lake and the trees were speaking to him. As a security officer, I am hired to observe and report. This is what I observed.
830PM: The officer stood next to the window. He looked out at the parking lot. I observed him pull out his nightstick. He lifted it level with his face. He looked intently at a small object on the window. It appeared to be a moth or something similar. With one well-placed tap, he gently took the winged creature’s life. He slipped the nightstick back into its holder, smiling.
I looked out at the lake.
It was still.
© 2010 Tony Robles