By Harley Lond
Hank is played by a man in his late fifties. He sits on a toilet, pants loose around his legs, carpet pushed away from the porcelain base. Hank’s face grimaces with pain, his feet convulse, and blood trickles below him. He lifts up and feels the blood with his hand.
There is blood on the floor.
Standing in the doorway of the bathroom, shadowed by the light flowing behind him, sculpted by the pain on his face, Hank looks ill. Blood trickles below him and onto the floor.
Hank reclines on a couch in a large room, the floor carpeted white, flowers suspended in the air, light reflected from a large window.
There is blood on the floor.
The Sun has risen, whitening the pavement of a parking lot behind a steel office building. A green car pulls in. The white pavement reflects heat upwards in wisps of steam. The green car is dirty with the dust of the road. Two people are in the front seat. One person is played by a woman in her late fifties, the other by a woman in her middle twenties. Their features are blurred behind the green colored glass of the car’s windshield. Hank is sprawled in a compartment which at one time was a rear seat. It is covered with black carpet, which in turn is overlaid with a white sheet.
A brown car pulls into the parking lot. This brown car is dirty with the dust of the road. Two people are in the front seat, one person played by a man in his early thirties, the other by a woman in her mid-twenties. Their clothes are plain, their features blurred behind the dirt on the windshield.
A third car enters the parking lot. The driver is played by a man in his late sixties, with gray hair and fatherly appearance. The four people in the other cars stare at this man, at this car, but the car moves on.
A fourth car enters the parking lot. The driver is played by a man in his late sixties, with gray hair and a fatherly appearance. The four people in the other cars stare at this man, at this car, as the car pulls alongside of the green car.
The gray haired man leaves the car and walks over to the green car. He nods and speaks to Hank, who is sprawled on his stomach on the floor of the rear of the car. This compartment will once again become a rear seat. Hank sits up and his face grimaces with pain.
The four people get out of the cars. Hank gets out of the rear compartment and walks to a glass door that is the entrance to the steel office building. The glass is tinted and the insides of the entrance are blurred. The gray haired man inserts a key in the door and the door springs open. Now the entrance to the steel office is clearly seen. Green carpets extend from wall to wall, the room is square in all appearances, potted plants are at each of the four corners, tables and chairs are randomly scattered about. In the center of one wall a steel door is closed. Adjacent to the door is a glass-encased frame with writing in it.
The six people enter the room, standing for a second to feel the cold atmosphere. The gray haired man pushes a button by the steel door. The door immediately splits in half, and each half glides sideways. The six people enter through the opening and face forward. The gray haired man reaches out his hand and the door again becomes one.
The door opens again and the six people walk into a corridor. The corridor is a long rectangle, with other rectangular corridors angling off in several directions. The gray haired man walks down the corridor and pauses before a wooden door. The door has letters handpainted on it, the letters forming names and titles. The gray haired man inserts a key and pushes the door open. He stoops to pick up packets of paper that lie behind the door, then goes in, past a low-slung counter topped with glass, and past a partition. The five others follow him, but all stop at the partition. The gray haired man motions to Hank and Hank follows him down another corridor.
Muffled words are heard from down the corridor. The four people sit on chairs and couches arranged symmetrically in the space between the door and the corridor, between the partition and the counter.
In time, the gray haired man walks back to the space between the door and the corridor, talks to the four people, motioning with his hands to an imaginary place. He walks behind the glass-toped counter, sits at a chair, and scribbles on a pad. He reaches for several bottles, finally rises and walks down the corridor. He returns with Hank.
All six people leave the room, past the wooden door with hand-painted letters, down one of the angling corridors, and through the open steel door. A hand reaches out and the steel door closes.
When the steel door opens again, the six people walk into the entrance of the building, past the potted plants, over the carpeted floor, through the door with tinted glass, onto the white pavement with steam wisping upward.
Two people enter the brown car and two people enter the green car. Hank climbs into the back of the green car. The gray haired man stands by the green car, nodding to Hank. The cars all drive away. The gray haired man remains motionless, stares at the steel office building, then enters the fourth car.
The fourth car leaves the parking lot deserted. White puffs of smoke float above the wisps of heat. The door to the steel office building remains closed. The glass is tinted and the insides of the entrance are blurred.
From MOMENTUM 1974-1978 (Spring Summer Fall 1978) Ocean Park, California