A Complete Stop
A Complete Stop
by J. Spinazzola
You’ll notice young men raising bottles. Never mind where they found the bottles. Glass, rag, gasoline all can be had. If you have seen the old reels, you know what comes next. To flick a lighter produces pyrotechnics of a primitive sort. Urban fireworks. The reason you signed up for the tour. The Inner City. Friends back home can only imagine.
If a body catches fire, you will smell his flesh through the air conditioning system. Never again will you feel so alive. The smoke in our single malt pairs well. Ice provided.
Every luxury is available down to your leather seat. Cowhide a rare offering these days. Each choice you’ve made, each step in your career and portfolio of investments, has earned you the right to observe man on the edge.
Forearm muscles stretched to throw a punch were not chiseled in a fitness center, but developed carrying furniture when the work was available as hotels were rising. Up and down stairs. Wouldn’t want these young men in your elevators. Neither would we.
Occasionally a girl will enter the scene. Not unusual during a housing crisis. The streets become home to many types. Blondes are particularly tragic to witness. May remind you of a granddaughter back home. Don’t let that interfere with the pleasure of urgency. The way he’ll approach her. A blade, perhaps intended for him, slicing past his ear: hard to keep track of the action as we take a corner. A live digital feed will allow you to follow objects in the rear. Zoom in as he takes the blond girl close. Rubber bullets fired from above, the sound on the roof of the limousine like hail. Every security detail provided.
Don’t let that fool you. Tempted as they kiss. To unfasten your belt, open the door. And step out. The way he kisses her reminding you of something you left behind. We’ve all left something behind, but a mouth does not make for time travel. Other mouths will be ready when you return to the hotel. Wait until we’ve made a complete stop. Secured in the underground parking of the hotel tower. The lights will go dim until the limousine has been thoroughly searched. Scanned for foreign devices.
You’ll want to emerge slowly, the intensity of experience overwhelming like sea legs after a cruise. When you enter the lobby, avoid discussing pedestrian tours with the concierge. For a price such things can be arranged, but better to wait until morning. After clearing your mind on blondes of our own.
By morning the one you watched in the street will be dead: the boy on his knees, tear gas taking him in and out of view. From his lack of attention, the next blade will not go wide.
Continental breakfast will be served in the lobby. Hot breakfast offered from the sky room. Weather permitting, views provided.