7 :: foreteller of catastrophe ::
She handles currency for a living. She stands at a register and people hand it over to her. They fish money from their wallets, from their pockets, sometimes, in the summer, from the moist space between sock and calf. They pass her bills which are wrinkled like skin, as human as flesh. She touches it and a certain intimacy spasms between her and the customer. Even the sunglasses she wears barely help.
At first this was difficult for her. She wants distance between her and other people. She wants them to be far away. Reality can be terrifying when you are too close to it, too much a part of it. There have been times when she has felt the border between her and the world bleed like watercolor. There have been times when she has experienced too much reality, when all she wanted was to put a stop to the incessant data surging in through her eyes and her ears and her body, to clamp off the magnitude and the volume of life. When all she wanted was distance.
She keeps up the distance between her and the customers by imagining them dead.
She's turned it into a register-game: Guess the Catastrophe. People come and buy their CDs, and she feels the texture of their money in her fingers, and she looks them in the face and envisions an accident for them. This guy, buying Miles Davis' Kind of Blue: car wreck. Pinned between crushed door and steering column. Punctured lung. This guy, buying Thomas Brinkmann's Pop Loops For Breakfast: amphetamine-induced heart attack. A club. A hospital. The light gone glassy. The surfaces hard and cold. Slint, Spiderland. A dark blot spreading in the brain, no, a hundred tiny patches, scattered in the lungs, a flung handful of ashes.
Do you need a bag for that?
Eventually her supervisor Freya tells her it's breaktime. She goes and stands in the bathroom. She gets a ten out of her wallet and holds it up against her forehead; she looks at Hamilton's face and then at her own. She tries to imagine the catastrophe in her future, and cannot. Her sunglasses mask her even from herself. For her, the catastrophe is remaining alive. This notion makes her laugh out loud.
She decides that she is in love with Alexander Hamilton. There is something attractive about his austerity.