Monday, February 27, 2006

The Fitting

Kuala Lumpur, 2011, CE

-Do you have anything more formal? I don’t mean dressy, I mean the thing about this apron is that it’s really, you know, such a tease and I don’t always feel that way when I’m washing dishes.

-Yes, a lot of the aprons coming out of Italy this year are certainly provocative.

-I mean, I want it to be practical, but I don’t want to make me look like Mrs. Butterworth, either, I mean look at this, it’s so ...parochial

-Bucolic, really.

-I mean, I’m not churning butter or anything, I’m just washing dishes, I want something with a certain faire du vaisselle if you will.

-What about this?

-Again, this just says rip it off me and stick it in me, it’s not a proper apron at all, but some sort of sudsy fantasy.

-What about this Kenneth Cole?

-I think it’s a lot of leather. I’d feel like was butchering a pig.

-It feels nice, though doesn’t it. And it’s practical.

-Yeah, but what are all these hooks?

Xianyang, 227 BCE

You must play me music that will take away my fear, my fear in building this Empire. I am a warrior, it is true, but a warrior’s trade is not death. It is fear. It is by fear and through fear that we fight. It only through fear we can accomplish our goals. We trade fear. It is my fear against the other’s fears. To be as powerful as I am, to be as feared is to never feel safe. I do not sleep. I cannot sleep. Where are my soldiers in dreams? This is why I need music.

It must be martial and strident, but not reckless. It must give time between beats for the wiping of the brow. For the young who are dying, it must be catchy. For the old, it must be tuneful. For the women, it must drown out the screams of babies. Only in this way can we advance as a people.

It must cover me like an armor. But a special armor, that covers me from the inside. Against my own betrayal, against any future self that cries “Hold, enough.” Against the traitor in the sinews, the death they call after.

Ur, 2112 BCE

-My barber spits on me

-What, you mean like a little spittle when he talks?

-No, he spits on me.

-Like an accident?

-No, he pretty much -Whouck-ptoooo! spits on me. In the face.

-Have you thought of going to like another barber?

-I’ve had this barber since I was a kid. He was my father’s barber before I was born.

-But he’s spitting on you.


-Nothing good can come of this. Have you asked him why?

-No. I can’t deal with it.

-I think you should go to another barber.


-Because I don’t think this barber really respects you for who you are. For one thing, he spits on you.

-You don’t know that. Maybe it’s a gesture of respect.

-Does it feel like a gesture of respect?

-No, but I haven’t had too much of that, so I don’t really have much to compare it to.

-I think this obvious. This is not a good experience for you. You should go somewhere else.

-You don’t understand, He has this little shop. He’s worked there all his life. My whole family went there.

-Did he spit on them?

-I’m too ashamed to ask.

-Do you tip him?

-Well enough

-I’d say it was not hygienic, but this puts your problem in the wrong light. Stop going.

-But if I stop, I might never know.

-Never know what?

-What was meant.