Shrunken Heads of Old Men & Angels of Light Hibiscus
Each time I go to work someone from the staff is bound to show me something.
Once, seek Rick the bellhop tells me about his boston terrier, Mugsy.
“She grows more and more into a creature every day, and less like a dog. She has creature tendencies.”
“She makes crazy noises.”
I assume he means noises that are not at all doglike, perhaps a terrifying gnashing of its mandibles followed by hours of venomous hissing.
“She will listen to me inside, but not outside, not when she’s in the wild, that’s when her creature kicks in.”
I imagine Rick’s tiny dog hunting for whole families of rabbits, whole herds of beaver.
“One time she came back with a feather on her nose, she ate a bird.”
He shows me a picture of Mugsy, and she doesn’t look like a creature to me. She looks much closer to something of an alien.
“I think she’s an alien,” says Rick, “She’s couldn’t have been born on this planet.”
One day, Helga the concierge tells me she brought something to work to show me: tiny shrunken heads of old men! Well, maybe not, maybe just metal beads shaped like shrunken heads of old men if you believe Helga’s claim. Her claim is that years ago she sculpted these heads out of clay and then cast them. No matter what the true story of their origin is, one fact remains— Helga houses these partial gentlemen in a nest she built out of coiled wire.
Peter, the daytime concierge, shows me what to look up on my next online image search: “angels of light hibiscus.” The pictures that come up will be of George Edgerly Harris III, a performance artist from the seventies who started a ‘psychedelic gay liberation’ theater troupe known for its outlandish and remarkably detailed costumes.
On my way to the elevator I run into Matt, the head engineer, and the employee whom I suspect has the quickest comebacks of all the staff.
I ask him, “How’s it going?”
“GOOD,” I say with jovially and with increased volume since he’s going one way down the hall and I the other.
“I will not qualify how it’s going,” he replies. The hilarity of this response is not evident on the blog, but it was very funny. He had a contrarian tone in his voice, one that implied my automatic friendly greeting made the mistake of trying to simplify the complexity of the saga known as his day. Lesson learned.