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Bold graffiti on the wall next to the door reads: He who talks to strangers will soon sleep in his own excrement. It is a very cold day in February. A day so cold that polar bears cringe and snow geese weep openly. Henry Langdon is not affected by the cold. The icy air stiffens his lust for existence. He has such a ridiculous smile that those in his presence cannot help laughing till mucus creeps from their nostrils if a humorous situation should arise. Henry walks up the seven flights of creaky, black and white stairs and knocks three times on #3A with hollow abandon.
"Can I help you?" She is quite beautiful- Amber hair, hazel eyes, luscious breasts and modern thighs. "Yes, I came to see the apartment."
She stares vacantly at Henry's forehead for a couple of seconds before answering: "Oh do come in, my name is Rudolfa."
Henry introduces himself and follows her into the TV room. A large gray carpet covers the floor wall to wall. There are no chairs or sofas but a vast quantity of black pillows lay strewn all over the room. On five separate pillows spaced equally far apart, lie five white cats staring blankly at Henry's forehead. Rudolfa offers Henry some iced tea, which he accepts with glee and a touch of nostalgia.
"So nice to drink tea," he says and she nods. "So Henry, what do you do for a living?" she asks, to which he replies, "I make and sell model airplanes." "How fascinating. But does it make you any money?" Genuine intrigue irrigates her brow. "You'd be surprised" "I'm never surprised" "Never?" asks Henry in disbelief. "Well, hardly ever" she replies while vines of red roses spread swiftly over her cheeks.
Rudolfa shows Henry the rest of the space paying particular attention to the bathroom, which has gold leafed tiles and a life-size statuette of Mia Hamm. Henry is not a sports fan by definition but he has to agree that the Hamm is a true work of art. Even the veins in her neck are accurately depicted. They casually walk around the apartment together like lovers in a yet unwritten hallmark card. The kitchen is fully equipped with a microwave, dishwasher, red dot stove, toaster, blender, carrot peeler, mixer, brick oven, deep freeze, fridge and a regulation size NBA basketball hoop and backboard. There is also a studio with three televisions, a satellite feed, various synthesizers and sequencers and a very pretty sound system. One wall of the studio is all speaker, with two four-foot speakers placed at 63 degrees from the monster against the adjacent walls. Rudolfa says that she had once managed to fit 67 people in the studio and it had been quite comfortable until one of the guests had cut himself on a sharpened celery stick and fainted. The tour ends back in the TV room. The cats are nowhere to be seen.
Minutes melt into longer periods of time. Time is not a perfectly judged science. Who knows what happened when, who fucked whom on what day and who shrugged what off thereafter? The vague science of vulgarity- the vulgar science of arbitrariness. Rudolfa and Henry seem to share a similar sense of focused confusion. Even their taste in music is similar- Country Acid Funk. How unusual is that? They talk about world poverty, monkey wrenches, crystal meth and pickled endives while drinking a variety of alcoholic beverages. On several occasions Rudolfa laughs until mucus creeps from her nostrils. Before they both know it, the sunlight has turned to moonlight and the pigeon calls have morphed into owl screeches. The sinister night has come riding in on its horse of fury and syphilitic splendor. How New York glows in the night; how she vibrates with toxic alcoholic breath in the vacuum left by hookers going down on the mad hatters of urban America.