That’s the strange thing about living in an area in New York that’s different than most places in the world is how you become part of your neighborhood. How those buildings and smells wrap around you so that you get used to them, making it harder to breathe when you leave those places. I can’t see it ever dropping into the place of memory like San Francisco did for me. That time doesn’t feel so much like a dream, but like a different person. Perhaps the person I escaped from is still there is some way. Everyone who leaves that city must pay a certain price – and I think that may be a piece of yourself that stays there. The same piece that you grew once you arrived. The identity you assumed when you crossed one of the bridges or crawled up the coast.
I guess now there needs to be some coming together. I’m really trying to piece in place how the story is going to be told by multiple characters. I’m going to need to be a bit more organized to do something like that. Perhaps I’ll start writing the voice down with each perspective of the story. Let’s move to the photographer.
I was short on cash after the shop closed down, so I was taking whatever gigs would pay – my only requirement being that they had to so something with photography. Even if it was unloading trucks downtown that were delivering boxes of digital cameras, I made sure I was there and feeling some connection with my form. That sentence I don’t need.
I got a call from the owner of my old shop. Said that he had a job, or that he had heard about a job, that was a little strange but that paid well and could be steady work. Best part of it was that I would be behind the camera. Worst part of it meant that there would be blood involved. I was worried but not worried enough not to take the job. Got the directions to the address to a downtown office building near the end of Market Street. Was told to go up to the 14th floor and start setting up in office number 1435. I was told to only use one lightbulb and an old Cannon AE1 – that this was going to have to have an authentic feel to it, whatever that meant.
I was the first one there and brought exactly what I was told. The office had florescent lighting which I took out. There was a lamp on the desk ready for the bulb. About a half and hour passed by before the door opened and two men walked in wearing ties and engrossed in their conversation about some department lagging on getting the SOW done. That’s statement of work for anyone who doesn’t speak nonsense.
They paid no attention to me and kept on talking, taking off their coats and putting them on the hooks behind the door.
“You can start shooting whenever you like – don’t wait for any direction,” the one with the full head of hair said. “We don’t stand on ceremony here.”
So they continued on with their recaps of meetings and goings on of their day and I got the film ready. The one who was in the middle of loosing his hair took and envelope out of his pocket and put it on the desk by the door, pointed at it and then pointed at me.
“That’s for when you’re done with us there sport.”
I had no idea what to expect, but had gotten into the habit of not expecting much of anything from people. I started shooting the lightbulb was the only thing illuminating the room, but made it raw in a very good way. I had no doubt that the shots would come out with a nice texture, but they were just talking. I wasn’t sure how much film to spend on this part of things – was anyone else joining us? What kind of blood were they talking about?
The phone on the desk rang, and it wasn’t until it did that I noticed it old rotary dial and thick receiver. It rang three times and then stopped -without either of the two going for it. They kept on with their talks about throwing parties for venture capitalists.
“Just amazing how much these young kids are will to empty out of their parents trusts funds,” said the balding man. “I think they just want to make something on their own – and that is going to get us exactly what we need. Did you set up Pete with his shop?”
“Sure did,” his partner replied, sitting back in the chair and stretching a half-assed yoga position. “That magazine should be up and going in two months. Just hired a bunch of these young college kids to write and take the pics. People will be following their words in no time. Funny what becomes religion, no?”
They both laughed and then shot up with the sounds of the barking outside the door. Loud smashed against it followed, and the two were now silent. I stopped taking pictures, and the balding one looked a little upset, so he rolled his hand slightly like a third base coach waving his player around third would, but didn’t want to jump out of what was going on. I kept shooting, and saw through the viewfinder the door fly open and a large woman standing their with a huge dog that looked too much like a wolf to be on a leash. The woman was dressed in a maroon Fila Jumpsuit, but it didn’t quite match who she was. As she started talking, I could see her two fangs, and only then did I notice her pale skin.
She put down her backpack on the desk and let the dog go, who charged the two business men into a corner. I got a good shot of the full head of hair one pissing himself. She took out a can of spray paint and wrote on the wall:
All Parasites must also be the meat.
She grabbed one of them and tore his shirt off, and without much space to breath or think, used her nails to carve into his back the same words. She turned him towards me so I could get a good shot, then kicked him in the back of his kneed and he went down quick and screamed, for which he got stomped once again.
For the balding man, who was now looking at his friend on the ground then back at the woman who was licking her fangs quickly, he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a little vile of cocaine. Funny, I didn’t think people actually still used those any more, but I guess with money, you can make your drugs a little more fun. He held it out to her.
“Here, here – take this and just get the fuck out of here,” he said, shaking and looking at me. I snapped. The sounds of the clicking camera made me warm. The direct connection was exactly why I lived for this. The subject of what I was shooting had little to do with how satisfied I was with my work. Really, it was all in the actions.
She grabbed her back pack and used the strap to choke him, slamming his head down on the table and emptying out the vile. In front of him. Still in her grasp, she moved his head back and forth screaming “Inhale it all you pig. Take it all down or I’m going to slice you open right now and force feed you to my boy right here!”
The dog was barking out of control at that point. I got some pics of him right in mid howl.
The coke got taken down quickly and she tossed the balding man down on the floor with his associate. They weren’t passed out, but they weren’t really moving either.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a towel and a bottle of water, cleaning herself off, taking a drink, the holding out the bottle to me in an offering motion.
“No thanks,” I said.
She shrugged her shoulders and started putting her stuff away.
“That didn’t take too long,” she said, handing me a piece of paper. “That’s my address. Can you develop those and just drop them off tomorrow. I’ll pay you extra for the speedy delivery. These guys want me to send them with bribery notes by the end of the week. Then they’ll pay me. If it turns out well, we’ll be able to work together soon.”
She packed up her bag, took a breath, and walked out the door.
I wait a few minutes and grabbed the envelope from the desk and went on my way. I had some developing to take care of.