Backhand Stories: The Creative Writing Blog

Shall I share with you my deepest, darkest secrets or unburden to you my most daring confession, reveal a shockingly gruesome personal transgression?

Never mind, I don’t have time.

Constrained by the New York rhythm of life, waltzing between pillar and pillar of social obligations, hiding from Miss B what Mister A must under no circumstances find out until next Wednesday, the most I can offer you, dear reader, in for three – no, make that five – five whole minutes snatched from the jaws of my daily routine. It feels deliciously like a midnight tryst (does it not?), all the more furtive by its innocuous midday incubation. And now, with this comparative eternity stretching before us, my whispering narrative finds me grappling for my slim, predatorially sleek piece of mobile technology amid a mosaic of sticky yellow notepaper, whose compound use of defying the very technology it hides and distracting the onlooker with the semblance of effusively creative “value-added” labour, maintains my continuous esteem.

Damn. You caught me multi-tasking. Four minutes. Reception is un-cooperatively dodgy in this part of the building. Fine, I will save my next volley in the infinite voicemail loop with Scanlon until after lunch. I will even delay my text message flirtation with sweet Marcelo from the downstairs coffee bar, of the long-lilting Brazilian eyelashes. Rearranging sticky yellow notepaper pieces to defy pattern recognition. I spoke too soon – I see bars now where there was a blind “searching for reception” icon blinking in the corner of the miniature screen. It is amazing how you can swivel a little bit on your chair and… well, they just appeared all at once, really. Kind of like a bar ambush.

Three minutes. I must take comfort in knowing that the bars will be there for me when I am in need. You must excuse me once again – the screen on my desktop, which has taken the liberty of flashing at me in what appears to be a most aggressive manner – is actually transmitting a raw, desperate plea for help. Ah! There is a hotline for these things. It’s an automated message. How many robot suicides a year do they believe their profuse thanks-for-clogging-our-phone-lines message is actively preventing? Was I really humming along to the easy-listening cover of that eighties glam rock hit? I’ll put the Help Desk on speaker phone if you don’t believe me.

Now you wish you’d believed me to begin with.

Two minutes. Now it did not, until now, cross my mind that he might be gay. I really have terrible, terrible intuition about these things. How pathetic is it to flirt with the possibly gay man from the coffee place downstairs? It’s that melodious yet syncopated accent that really confuses things. Nor do the ostrich-plume quality eyelashes clarify the situation. Maybe his boyfriend is that bleached blond nouveau-boho “I’m just here between modeling stints and giving my smile a rest” androgyne working behind the counter. They laugh in secret at the stupid office lady making moves on coffee bar hipster’s obvious moll. That is, when corduroy elbow patches finds his smile again, or the botox wears off.

One minute. The pressure is on. Help is nowhere in sight (or within squelching distance of a pan-pipe rendition of Smoke on the Water). Now I feel guilty. Let me clarify – it was never my intention to mislead you, nor to subject you to the Help Desk’s impoverished musical tradition. Recall my initial disclaimer: that this was neither the place nor the time to pen a picaresque confession of my deeds and misdeeds (figuratively) in the style of television delicacies prevalent on cable channels. I would portray our time together as more of a vignette (as might have been inferred by its informal yet abrupt introduction). Whether you choose to recognize it or not, we are linked together, you and I – these pages may be few but with their sordidly banal minutiae, form nothing less than an indelible affidavit of intimate trust.

You’re not going to sue me are you?