Hello Spider

Writings & Whatnot by Rob Hill

The Lady With the Camera

My lunchbreak was nearly up. I was slouching on some short concrete steps behind my warehouse where I usually went to get away from the racket inside. I fed a pinch of sourdough bread to a streetwise pigeon that kept pestering me. It nabbed a beakful and absconded into the brooding Beethoven sky. Across the street was a construction site. Someone had the chutzpah to tear down a grand old brownstone where I think a former mayor once lived. Down the street a scrawny kid with a reverse mullet was skateboarding off a loading dock with a success rate of about forty percent. He handled spills well and seemed impervious to pain. I shooed away an insect that seemed intent on gaining entrance to my ear canal.

The woman coming along the beaten pavement wore leather pants with purple sneakers and the camera slung around her neck made her look like a tourist gone astray. Greystreaked hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. Heavy eyebrows. As she stepped over the rubblestrewn sidewalk her long neck jerked spastically like some kind of awkward flightless bird. I watched curiously as she approached a grey brick wall and took its picture, concentrating on a big blank spot. Ordinarily I mind my own business, but something about her behavior grabbed me firmly by the attention.

“If you don’t mind my asking, what exactly are you taking a photo of?”

“This is a special camera,” she replied in a chalk voice. “I’m taking a photo of what will soon be there.”

“What will be there?”

She squinted through her viewfinder. “Looks like a mural of a skeleton cradling an atom bomb.”

I couldn’t think of a good reply so I just nodded amiably and went back to finish off my sandwich. She took a few more photos and then wandered along. I tossed my lunchbag away and returned to work, soon forgetting about the whole thing.

A week later as I showed up for work early in the morning I noticed someone during the night had drawn some artwork on the grey brick wall across the street. It looked like a skeleton cradling an atom bomb.

Anyhow, I thought that was kind of weird.

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