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R. D. Kushner

Between 5:00 and 7:00, it’s always the same. Buzzing clicking and the whizzing of cars. The streaks of sound like a giant dyslexic orchestra indicating the presence of a thousand things all hidden from view; a thousand excited voices all clamoring for superiority. All the while my mind shifts restlessly, my eyes twitching as if following the action being played out on a giant television screen in my mind. Sometimes I let hours pass this way; telling myself stories. Sometimes I make myself laugh: other times a story forms that makes a giant circle of time and space and seems to stretch my thoughts out into a familiar world that becomes unexpectedly foreign.

Like that time when the screeching of car tires was followed immediately by the ringing of a church bell. I imagined a black hooker dressed in short skirt, with a feather boa around her neck; an unnamed piece of urban detritus with a cunt for a money bag. There she was at the intersection eyeing up her next meal when a cab came racing around the corner sending her sprawling across the road in a dynamo of blood and unnamed dreams. Nobody cared. The incident didn’t even seem to inconvenience the pulsating throng of pedestrians and vehicles. From the conduit of traffic a garbage truck emerged, and a pair of men with shovels stepped into the dance of wheels and fenders, to scrape this pile of loose broken flesh up off the road into the truck’s gaping maw. This truck then drove away with the current of traffic; they drove a few blocks out of their normal route to parade by an empty church. The bell rang just as they drove by; the only acknowledgement of her passing.

All the while, that cab stayed put in the intersection; a slightly dented fender and a pool of blood all that remained of her story. The rest of her would end up in the land fill with the day’s waste; she’d rot in a mass grave next to a thousand half-eaten sandwiches. The traffic patterns changed to avoid the cab, and the pool of blood spread out like a red halo from a pair of headlights that shone brighter than the sun. Nobody honked, in spite of the gnarled flow thorough the shrunken artery of the intersection. As the blood dried, the surface of the road became a giant, puckered welt. Nobody noticed; or at least nobody seemed to notice. But as the asphalt began to roil and twitch and groan like the sound of a giant ice sheet shifting and moaning on the surface of a lake, a small girl approached the taxi. The road surface, where the blood had been, had now fallen away to reveal a mirrored surface which shone like a magnificent eye to the heavens above. The little girl slowly walked clockwise around this giant dilated pupil; and as she did, the sky above her became streaked with clouds that shifted with an almost imperceptible cadence in unison with her tiny feet as they struck the ground.

Within several minutes, she was joined by another small child, and then another, until group of children formed a ring around the mirrored eye. What they each saw as they glanced down at their own reflections cannot be known, because the mirrored surface dreamed into each of them only a small piece of that hooker’s unfinished life, until her story was completely told. As they walked, their feet began to strike the ground with increased fury. The heels of their shoes clicking and clacking and then, just as their footsteps crescendoed into a nearly continuous vibration, in an instant they were all gone, and the sound of their footsteps had become the rain.


R. D. Kushner is an architect and freelance writer living and working in New York City.

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