Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The valet looked into the distance, he had just finished work and he could feel his body, in slacks, starting to give way. He was weak on the walk home from work, the luxury hotel in the Satellite city called PHOENIX. The shifts were long and today the heat was particularly bad, beating down and the ground rode up, orange heat pressing from both directions and here, the valet thought, was he in the middle of it. The valet grimaced; he was always in the middle of this crushing heat. But today, it was particularly harsh. He couldn't wait to get home, turn the air-conditioning on and not have to ask anyone, at least not until the evening, "Sir, what time will you return?" Swinging in his right hand, cold metal, the cold metal belonging to the cold-faces of the cold customers of the cold luxury hotel in the satellite city.

He wouldn't have to speak those words again today; he was free for the next eight hours until the long journey in sunset from the real Arizona desert that he called home into the depths of the cold satellite city that he could always make out on the horizon of his vision, the satellite city PHOENIX was never far behind, the satellite city of PHOENIX looked back at him wherever he went. The satellite city didn't haunt anyone quite like it haunted him. The others seemed able to look over it, to see beyond it, to experience a perfect existence in their digs in the desert - water might be hard to get here, but at least they had each other.

What he wouldn't give! What he wouldn't give to be one of those cold faced customers, he would happily not tip him either. He was a mess, dust always stained the cuffs of his suit because of the slow walk from the desert to the city, he was always dirty and the customers knew it and he knew it and it made him shame-faced. He wondered if these cold-faced white skinned people even knew that outside of their comfort zone of the Swimming Pool in the Hotel basement, existed a desert. The real Phoenix, he sighed, he always saw the Desert during the day and the City at night.

He was weak walking back to the trailer park he called home in the first Phoenix - he hadn't eaten again. The low wage the Hotel paid him-he had the wrong colour to be worth anything more then a few dollars- didn't amount to much even outside of the grey walls of the new city. So, again, he had decided not to eat. It was okay, he didn't mind. The slight euphoria from going without meals was what got him through the day, it turned the satellite city into a hallucination, a nightly trip - it, like a teenaged anorexic, was the only control over the situation he was able to have, and he relished it. The deities of the temple of the great Hotel became the creations of his own mind, shifting from individuals he could posit into projections, projections of him. Alternative existences he was so close to having. So close to having, but that were also defiantly separated from him, multiplicities in an exteriorized field. The body of himself, outside of himself.

Here though, outside of that other Phoenix, this no longer mattered. Although it was the general consensus that the time you spent outside of the second city were the only moments within which you were in control of your own destiny, the valet only felt in control within the walls of that hunger-stricken euphoria. Here, on the dusty trail walked into the ground throughout the history of the Americas, it's path especially solidified in moments of countrywide terror. He wasn't in control. He didn't feel in control. The natural world too quickly came back to haunt him, reminded him of his parched throat, his damp trailer, his empty hands kept tightly by his sides trying not to remind his stomach of how it too, was empty.

Ahead, he saw the bench marking the mid-point of the road between the two worlds. Lately, the Valet hadn't been sure as to whether he had returned home, all his memories seemed to rotate around the bench and the second beautiful Phoenix that lay behind him. The Valet never looked back at the Second Phoenix after he left, fearing that until he was in the safety of his trailer, it might seduce him back within it's out-stretched arms into a promising embrace. And, since he wasn't sure how long it'd been since he'd even been home... Surely he'd gone back to his folks place yesterday? And, the day before that? He wasn't sure. The people who lived in the original Phoenix, the community the Valet was a member of, didn't keep calendars - it's not like they even got a day off, so as his Father had said, "What would we even count down?" when the Valet had questioned him about it as a younger man, the first time he had been to work in the luxury hotel in the center of the second Phoenix. The first time he had seen the digital clocks that reflected upon all the surfaces of the city, time in fragments in all directions. Consequently, the Valet didn't know what day of our 365 calendar it was, let alone whether he had been home yesterday.

He slowly came up to the old bench, the marker of the moment between the two cities. He paused, feeling the hunger in his stomach grow. The Valet didn't know if he had sat on the bench before, so he did, staring into the blazing mid-day. His hands chapped around the knuckles, slouched upon his knees, whilst his eye's; growing rapidly heavier with each passing moment, saw the breaking of space as the light hit it. The Earth seemed, in fragments, to be disintegrating into a white vista, ceasing to exist as the sun beat down upon the desert ahead. He didn't look at the first or second Phoenix. They didn't matter any more, not here. He suddenly knew he wasn't going to make it home. His body already felt lighter, the white fragments seemed to be passing through him. He watched his body fragment into the white light around him, too bright, brighter then ever before. He cast himself into the landscape, fragments of a spatial existence turned into the true meaning of time. He realized, the bench was magical; it was the only thing between his two worlds that was real. And then, he let go.