“But the violence of all things had left him so far intact.” Wyndham Lewis, BLAST

Slipstream was bending the metal wings, spewing engine thrust. The plastic compartment was free falling through the fading day to some destination, gods playing darts. Even through the distant thunder, he was peacefully sleeping through all of it. He had a textured suitcase tucked between his creased suit pants and leather cap toe shoes. Other passengers were in their cramped chairs, folding up into themselves like bad origami. They flicked through peanut packaging, ignoring the free-flowing clouds scraping against their windows. The lights anxiously flickered whenever turbulence batted the tin can membrane, which was hard at work keeping the pressure constant. The old man with his stories of sexual exploits violently sneezed and the birds in David’s dreams sprang toward his eyes giving him an electric jolt. His new blood speed couldn’t complement the warm humming vibration of the cabin and so it slowly came to match. After a time and a cigarette, an ebony quilt stitched with the lights of cars and commerce began to spread out below him.

After the landing, he made his way down the ramp over the hot blue concrete and inside the Airport. Men, like machines, were moving through the clear spaces with sharp lined suits. A low white light ceiling was the new overhead, a big shift from the forever navy sky. As he scuttled along the thin carpet, the shell of his suitcase scraped across the other luggage of passengers making their way across the same long corridor. Under the tube buzzing lights, the cab pulled up out of the darkness, and he climbed in. Stretching shadows glided one after another in the taxi’s interior as he made his way back through the city towards his apartment. Commercial connections in the night were still being made. The windows were only half-lit and few street-level stores were still open under blue awnings and neon stretching over walls.

The next day, David Cochran was back in the office. His suitcase was opened to his co-workers. The sell-side analytics were in fine-edge print on white 8.5 by 11 paper. It streamed like gold through the hands of the men feeding the numbers into the growth of their company. Folks were alongside their plastic phones, some which he knew and some he still didn’t. The work parties with their own masks and dryness weren’t the most prolific. Susan and the other girls almost seemed passed to the right each new party. He was sure they didn’t think about it that way. Just hurricane connections were keeping the small borderline relationships alive with the IV drip of workplace drama. Only occasionally did the drama turn from whispers into meddling ghosts in the machine.

He was back at his unmoving cherry wood desk, orderly personal effects abound. His secretary had set today’s newspaper where he always found it. Behind his desk, the windows revealed the whole machine from his silent center-space. The gearshift from college straight up the high rise initially induced seasickness. But with his lane finally carved out on the highway, he became accustomed to the velocity. It was now a relief to see the speed slipping in and out of the glass and metal greased with the oil of hot coffee. He saw pillars of mirrors and shaved stone with geometric angles playing upon each other as the cars flowed alongside the concrete river banks.

While taking another sip from a paper cup, a Superior of his entered and shattered the little world in which he was a happy cog. His presence and wrinkled owl eyes always kicked him out of the smooth stream he was only made aware of while on its coast. David rolled closer to his desk, thankful for the little shadows under it that covered his legs, suddenly feeling like the limbs of an insect. “New potential client, a fruit, likes ballets,” the Superior said, sliding a manila folder along the grain of his desk. “We’re taking him to a production, Wednesday,” he said while already on the other side of David’s office door as it was closing.

After the workday, the thunder was still occasionally rippling off towers in the distance as he made his way home in the orange, tepid evening.

On his schedule, it was labeled “The Rite of Spring at 8pm.” The fact it wasn’t a business venture to Flutie’s for a simple drink complicated things with boredom. David would maintain civility, false awe in the face of high culture; he knew he could.

The night of the ballet came and he was exchanging stories with the client in the lobby prior to the show. They were physically withholding all the pretenses of their direct business. It was all too obvious, the capital forces bursting behind each face, so no one mentioned it. The client’s son working (floating) his way up the company’s ladder, David’s recent venture to SanFran. It all came out in a dance of platitudes. Eventually, they made their way into the grand space of the theater.

It all began with silence. The music started out of the darkness with the first interjection of a lonely bassoon. It floated, calling forth the renewal of the Earth. Small woodwinds joined. The music rose with a jetting force and, after the frenzy, the single bassoon returned. As it played its solo, the real fire swelled behind it in the form of the beating thrums of double basses. It called to a storm in him, but something still kept his center tidy. There was passion on stage: folk figures furiously leapt and spun enacting primordial jubilation and innocence. Eventually, there came a fever pitch, and suddenly, the stage went dark…

The anticipation started to distort in the audience; everyone stayed silent. Too much time went by. David noticed that it wasn’t just the stage lights but all the lights that were absent. It took maybe ten minutes for rustling movements to accumulate into the noises of individuals standing up looking around and stumbling out of the theater, into the lobby, confused. As the sound of the audience increased, another sound outside the theater walls became more pronounced.

Eventually, David, like the others, groped his way into the lobby joining the ant trail tunneling through the dark. Orange lights were flickering in the windows and creeping up walls within the otherwise dim atmosphere. The sounds of shouting were apparent now. First, outside, he saw fires raging, and next heard glass shattering. To his shock, he saw the streets were hot with chaos. It was a whirlwind of looting and brilliant liberation. Only small pockets of the street were lit by burning objects; silhouettes passed through one after another. Like a wheel from a car crash that keeps on spinning not knowing what else it’s capable of, the rioters ran amok. This is what the vortex really was. David would discover the next day, in the paper on his desk, that lightning had struck and fried the power of the entire city.