An Office - Late Last Night

"Papers and folders hunker down on desks, dotted about the room like nervous creatures, not knowing which hands will toy with them next. Blinds become black stripes in the twilight - the city twilight for which no birds come to sing - and the telephones crouch in silent poise, ready to ring. Darkness, near night, spreads like a blanket across the details of the day, and the office shades into shapes of dark grey, without flutter or feature. While here and there, a green or red dot of lonely light.

"Behind me the door echoed its thud, & I headed straight for the drugs. The filing cabinet in the corner. Key in the pencil pot. Open the bottom drawer. In a food bag, in an envelope, in a jiffy bag, in a carrier bag - there it was. Right at the back. Like she, my dealer, said.

"What was that? Who what where? There, the footsteps outside. Echoing along on the stair. Hide - shadows breath at the glass of the door. Security Guards.

"And then the lights come on and in the guards stroll, with a nod and wink out comes a rizla, and Dave offers to roll; out are pulled the empty chairs, banished the ghosts of night, and we all sit round for puff after puff after puff, never having enough. At six in the morning the cleaners come, nervously at first, then in a line, one after one after one, till all are done. It's the management next - and then the early birds - aka the nervous wrecks - for whom it seems to relax best - and -

"And, Fist!" he rambled on. "Fist! This little daydream of mine, yesterday, after the first smoke in a long time, made you remember all this - all that from years ago? Maybe the mellow tingles touched you too, silly Fist!"

"They stopped at the wrist," I answered. "What do such Rotterdam fantasies say to you now, years later? Where is your friend from the student flats? Such stories drift in and out of cities like ghosts, or anonymous men through offices, ghosts of a great connected human family, of the feeling of the homely, here in this unhomely world..." (I would go on, but already another haze of smoke has begun to unfurl.)