Leaving the common area behind and shutting the door on the din I bumble along the stairs and wall. Stopping to whistle and gain the size of the empty cinema. It sounds wide and dark and desolate. Begun without a finish.
I think I found some Sandpaper. Between the ears: a pin drops, dust rises, and my hands explore a filthy wall. This must be where the projectionist would stand if this room wasn’t idle.
From the Beyond creeps a hollow growl. Metallic, it drags over to me. I inspect its underbelly and its tail. Like crankshafts and tinker toys I calm it. I grunt while moving its thorax. In its sleep this thing dreams of cicadas and the snapping claws of angry crabs. This infestation is 1,000 strong. I’d cover my ears... not for the sound but for the fear of eggs being laid in my skull.
The cricket probably shouldn’t be so confident considering that the sound hidden in the wall can see it.. Blunt against the floor, the corner, and the wall a growling serpent rises. Knocking over scaffolding and skimming the floor for something.
The telescopic serpent hisses and spits blood against its foil - the baseboard. Inhabitants downstairs are not concerned, they were expecting this. They sent me in here knowing very well that I hate snakes. With a brick in my stomach and no will to fight it I let it happen. It twists around me and sews me into the wall. The floss breaks easily and I walk free.
I’ve been spared.
Within the warm hug of the machine the worry of work, responsibility, and obligation don’t exist. Shifting left right the fans and motors rock me to sleep. Footsteps with no direction approach from behind bringing with her the surges of electricity. The hug strengthens but the anxiety prevails. Staying out of sight is a hard won battle and I have lost. The machine’s power supply senses that I’m ready to bolt and begins shocking me to stay.
It doesn't work
Seconds later, inside my ear lives a crunch, a vibration. Pushed ahead with a motor on my temple. Is this surgery? Is this a seizure? My ears pop. I’m inside another machine.
It cradles me to sleep.
Opening the cane and testing out the boundaries I find a hollow wall. In steps I walk the tip up down back and back. 2 longs swings of the roller tip proves I have more than 10 feet to move.
A clunk gone bottom to top finds the metal shelving, the exposed bricks, and other cold sounds.
In a break a shuffle down the hall distracts this lazy exploration. The other side of the room opens up to a nearby cavern and that known hum that won’t leave the building. Its concrete and gypsum, dust and scuffle.
Put your face to the corner and feel the cane nudge into your head. Take a pause and let the paper “off limits” sign take its turn between your ears. Swiping it is like a pencil pusher maintaining their routine. The cane resembles moving furniture and awkward conversations. Like a sectional couch and identity politics. “Go"away!”
So ... in the end is the inside of your head really just an unfinished concrete room?