Property Values Appear To be Ok

The buildings are still only paper but they are arguing over property value and crime rates. Possible crime rates—potential crime rates. There were fifteen assaults in the neighborhood most like this one last week alone, Mark insists. He is barely out of breath, sweating—and studying, the papers, the new buildings. The new buildings are only on paper. They are just drawings, sketches, for the other side of town. Projections of what the city will pay and what the buildings will pay the city. It is not a neighborhood like that one, Ruth scoffs. That one was full of—

The criminals are plotting underground now, Seth whispers.

—the improperly educated, Ruth corrects herself. She is apologetic for the slur, the inappropriate slur. The mis-use of the language. We shall applaud the construction. But it is only paper. Only now is it paper. Mark is bending, at the knees and he is staring at the buildings on the paper and imagining them climbing, climbing out off the desk and into the ceiling and through the floor above this floor, into the fifty-seventh floor. Yes, right into Mr. Clayton’s office. Between the sculpture of the naked Madonna, the cheap naked Madonna, taste—

I suppose, eventually, I am permitted tastes that neither suggest over-indulgence nor gaudy and class-less inspiration nor, of course, impoverished histories, social justice orientation, Seth concludes. They hired me to act as a kill then, as I was permitted. He discloses, unworried by the flashing lights, the skin, the human female skin. It is carved into the mold of this purely perfected oasis…ah, that was the quote they allowed me to keep, Seth remembers. Of course. Until she called me—

I am permitted one fire arm and one pack of chewing gum, standard chewing gum, store bought, bodega bought, nothing flashy, fancy. Those weren’t criminals plotting. You were a killer, she flashes skin again. No, he says, I was taught to kill, more likely, they had me to act as I would if I were a kill. They have not legalized it, not yet. The buildings were still on paper, for Christ sake, on the bloody paper, they hadn’t finalized the capital initiatives, the oversight, the policing, the detentions, nothing. It was on paper—

We have ten assaults on this block, Mark notes. Those weren’t assaults, Ruth interrupts again, those were purely fabricated misunderstandings. So they were misunderstandings? Yes. Then they are not fabricated. No, they were invented, not real, no actors—a response team was sent to investigate, to hypothesize, to venture an estimate. Where will we build? Here and here—

And then it lit up. The tree through the floor, through the naked Madonna—the tasteless, cliché, naked Madonna in Mr. Clayton’s office. And they had you to act as a kill? The others were weak, unfed. But it was on paper. The buildings were on paper? Of course the buildings were on paper—you think anybody actually ever lived there. So you were a kill to inhabitants that were not there—

They weren’t there, the criminal minds were below, in the cellar, soiled. No, but there were kills, too many kills, ten, fifteen. In buildings that did not exist yet, did not have infrastructure to house, to be, to act as, a community. So who are you killing anyway, really. It was all on a piece of paper.

I think we should build over here, Mark suggests. He points to a place on the corner of the desk. It is safer over there, he says. Jesus Christ, Ruth spits, it’s a goddamn piece of paper in an office on a desk. No, you could assume, Mr. Clayton didn’t like the naked Madonna either.



no, not any of us is unfed

The dim and realized failure, far from ignored or neglected, resolves itself to complete and entitled success--capitalized, determined. The man, himself, is unnoticeable, uneager, resigned. It was, at last, then, removed and insignificantly hyped, turned into an opera, a posted and reviewed one man suggestion. He is, of course, a single man, harbored by his insecurity, a cove of sorts. The usual back and forth discourse concerning the relationships of objects of animals and indeed (at least lately) of furniture has required a modern approach to lifestyle. He may no longer, so coyly as his presentation permits, act studiously uninterested.

Further insight into the depressive state, as dictated by the imaginative and spiritually homeless man, is useless, vague. She is a woman of character and wealth and promise. A woman of property, of renewed vigor. A fictitious widow. There is but the lingering denial, so aptly cornered in her skirt, in her manner of astute address. Yes, she is to be sought and un-ignored while her counterpart and deceased yet ably mobile partner is loosely morbid, depressed. He is depressed, my dear. The early state, of which he would later mock as overwhelmingly simplified and exaggerated, was morning cocktails and afternoon naps. Later, as justified by the Star, he was neither malingering in his love for puppets nor manipulative in his abuse. Both were straight forward, given, granted, stated and never modified nor justified.

It is never decidedly inclusive to casually suppose the martyr, the woman of property so eagerly consumed by the spiritual indigent. Her romance and her disposition demand necessity in the communal survival, indeed the collective church: the social configuration of this state. Oh, she exclaims, heartily, eagerly, modestly, this is most exclusive. No, no, he was not ever truly unsettled or discomforted. No, not any longer--you see, there are no friends any longer.