Security guard. She looks at me and there is a flicker where we are both blank - vision is quicker than thought and we have not made up our minds about each other yet. Then she frowns and pulls her chin tighter to her neck, tips her face down to make it a glower. Maybe it's the backpack, maybe it's just my hair. Either way she does not know what I am hiding.

Either way she is worried. It is up to me to keep the balance of facial expression, and so as I stride past the guard I break into a grin, tilt it up and shine it at her. It's easy; it's my job. Neither of us wags her head knowingly at the other (you are silly - you are dangerous), but we would like to.

This has been my allotted moment of smugness for the day, and it's over. I step into a crowd and find I have lost my suave glide. I jostle people and fuck up the flow. I am an impediment. I am here to get in your way.

These are the insomnia days. I should not have attempted this errand today but it needed doing. This place is too public and too large. It is a hell of noise, crammed by people who are looking for excuses to detain me, in commerce or sex or all their filthy combinations. I would like to get out soon but the bodies press in all around and make breathing and movement and of course linear thought more difficult. It is all a tangle and I have forgotten where to begin.

As I struggle between bodies without faces I think about the guard and I realize that what I did with my face was as good as hissing Pig. They pay her for her suspicion. She is only doing her job and it is a good one. She is only keeping people safe.

I think about women in their ninth month who should not have gone out but had errands that needed doing. If you are suddenly having a baby in a public place, you can get away with all sorts of things, many minor crimes are forgivable. Theft (we needed towels, she was bleeding) - traffic violations (Hold on lady, I will be fucked if you're having it in my cab) - disturbance of the peace. It is an unusual context, and all is forgiven.

I want to go back to the guard and say Excuse me. Forgive me my attitude. Forgive me the bomb in my backpack. These things are only a book wanting to be born. I will use the right words and her face will relax, of course she will understand.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.