Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Unseen, but not unnoticed.

The second in a series.

July, 2005

(1:42 a.m.)...

Lot 7 is quiet. The cue of black Towne Cars that once lined the far wall has been replaced by a shiny strew of Smarte Carts, empty and tossed at odd angles, abandoned. Each one is a lingering reminder of the last cheap, black suit who used it — a three dollar rental dripping with the three dollar stench of salt air and palm sweat and Drakkar Noir.

I park, head in, against the same concrete foundation, a few short steps from the tower of stairs that looms over United Airlines. Inside the Terminal, one last lost parcel waits for me, invisible, even in the face of so many pairs of searching eyes.

I lock my car against the closeness of the moist night air. Against the dark reminder that these walls house more than cars, just as the ground on which they stand is more than just the lines painted upon it. The unmistakable smell — the sweet-hot smell of Type-1 diabetic urine — rising to my nose from the dark patch of soft asphalt underneath my tire, reminds me that I am merely a guest in another man’s home — a tourist, just passing through some unseen someone’s dirty mansion — on my way to somewhere else.

(1:48 a.m.)...

That was easy.

Tucked against the “over-sized” luggage belt was my missing parcel — alone, and obvious, in the empty halls of the Terminal. As I grab my phone to call it in I think,

“How many people didn’t see this here?”

How many...?

Back outside, distant in the quiet of another silent night, a sound — familiar as it echoes in the fog of another graveyard run. The wobbling, scrapping sound of a single shopping cart, fading as it pushes east toward Sepulveda, out of sight — but not out of mind.

I pass through his living room on the way to my car.

Copyright © 2010 Bill Friday