when she went to work, when her feet took her there, it was all autopilot, she didn't need to think. the dangerous stretch of sidewalk that butted up against the raging traffic full of people raging about their lives inside their cars before the beach walkway was part of this trance. despite the fact that the hat completely covered her face, she went along, she ambled, she somehow negotiated the dangerous track each time without incident. there was no time for incidents, injury was certain, she was late and would have to explain herself to Abdiel. she hated unnecessary talking.
a hop skip and a jump through the brick library elevator that served to lift both books and people up and down, and she was there at her morning station. she loved it, it was situated at a far corner of the library where the broken water fountains were, no one came there anymore. she could get away with things her co-workers could not, she was for instance out of view of the cameras. she was the only worker who had a huge comfortable rolling exercise fitness yoga ball as her workstation chair, she hid it with her butt when she was working and rolled it under her desk when the day was done. her desk was strewn with all manner of dog paraphernalia, knicks and knacks and collars and bones both for teeth and of milk. her one framed standee photo was of a dog, not Firstee but the dog that came with the frame who looked like Firstee, and Lassie.
Abdiel happened upon her. he was eating a vanilla ice cream cone.
"WANT ME?, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK"
Abdiel: no, Jil, what for?
Jil: i'm minutes late.
Abdiel laughed out loud with a half-laugh and dripped his ice cream cone everywhere on his mouth and the library carpet.
Abdiel: you are funny, Jil, you should talk more.
Abdiel took off Jil's hat before she noticed.
Abdiel: i will ask you to take off the hat each time, though. it's company policy....(pause with a half-smirk)........i really want the guests to see your pretty face, it will drum up business. wow, your hair is so luscious and i'm sure you haven't washed it in forever.
Jil: forgot the last time.
Abdiel: you don't have to try so hard to prove you're an artist. besides, it's fruitless, no matter how hard you try, you'll always be a beautiful woman with perfect hair that the others are not jealous of but happy for you. i suppose you not acknowledging that makes you even more beautiful. it's a losing game, you might as well embrace it, it's a fact whether or not you admit it. the town loves you, the town just loves you.
Jil: where's my hat?
woman: excuse me, i'm ready to check out.
Abdiel ignored the woman and continued facing Jil and hanging off her workstation. he then realized his point was made. the air was starting to get stale. he hated that. he blew Jil a half-smile and sauntered away, past the woman, ignoring everything and everyone until he reached his own workstation plastered with posters of hot Hollywood babes.
Jil punched up Instagram on her computer. her favorite person she followed was also Abdiel's but for different reasons: Lilienthal, nicknamed Lozzo, an actress who was the current co-star of the global sci-fi phenomenon tv show at the moment. Jil felt so blessed that Lozzo counted her among her 28 million unknown followers, she hadn't blocked Jil yet. Abdiel had been blocked. each day Jil checked out Lozzo's insta for her latest pics and liked each one, i mean, it was Lozzo, what was there not to like, of course she would always produce a fine picture of whatever. sure, Lozzo's selfies got a bit excessive, Jil appreciated the artistic pics more, but it was Lozzo, Lozzo was drop-dead gorgeous and shiny.
Jil called Abdiel on the landline cream phone.
Jil: have you seen her latest instapic?
Abdiel: are you making fun of me? maybe we should cut down on the chatter, this is a library after all.
Jil: Lozzo is sticking her tongue out at her fans on the set of the latest episode. that is ingenious.
Abdiel: hilarious the first time, stale air now. why are you torturing me with this?
Jil: you can always come over to my computer to see her again. why did you get blocked?
Abdiel: i played the game everyone online plays, i typed in the comments of her pics how i thought she was a insert bad name here.
Jil: why? don't you like her?
Abdiel: i'm indifferent. it's to get her attention. you have to insult first, then when the celeb gets hooked by your bait, you ease them out of it, type furiously, comment back how you were just kidding the whole time, she's not really a talentless bitch fame whore, that in fact you are her number 1 fan, and you go from asshole troll to creepy stalker. ain't the internet grand?
Jil: that seems like such a waste of time and space, and a soulless way to live. you should always represent your best self online whenever the opportunity presents itself, show who you are to online strangers with your words, they are all you've got to represent yourself with. i liked her four new pics today...
Abdiel: all in a day's work. wanna grab an early lunch with me?
Jil: not until the best part.
Jil's real work was as a comment writer under instapics. she was a librarian second. Jil would think for a moment but only for a moment, she was quick with the quip and reply, she could riff off anyone's clever comment instantly, she could see an ironic pic and pick up on the pic's irony instantly and provide the perfect rejoinder that was equally as clever. the guests would marvel at Jil's hands on her keyboard, they were so graceful as she would glide her fingers from one end of the keyboard to the other, she was playing an aire on her piano, no, an entire symphony. when she typed on the computer, she was playing her piano back home in private, and it was private, her private thoughts to her celebrity crush, but it wasn't private, for the entire library witnessed her performance, the tapping of the keys, the clicks all arranged and lined up and sounding one after the other in unison to form the bridge then the verse then the bridge again then the chorus. at the end of Jil's thoughts came the applause from the gallery, in golf claps.
Jil: i added a Sartre quote to Lozzo's pic of her in the tunnel with the caption NO EXIT. i commented on Nietzsche's big forehead on her pic where she's on her knees kissing her debonair leading man and the caption reads GOOD HEAD. i think my in-depth analysis of real fame vs. internet fame on her third pic will be appreciated by her, if she ever sees it through the thousands of other comments. i wish Instagram didn't have a character-count limit, i'd write her a novel. i could also tell her what i really want to tell her through clever hashtags, but there's a hashtag limit as well.
Jil scrolled down and saw a photo of a token. the caption underneath it read:
this is my one-month's sobriety token. i am so grateful to have you in my life, my Instagram friends, please like this pic so i know you're out there. i'm lonely, it gets lonely sometimes, this is so hard, i want a sip so badly, but then i think of all my support out there and i bite my lip. i do this for you guys, i stay strong for you. God bless, stay safe, you are in my heart.
the pic had no comments underneath it and only one like, hers, the author of the token pic. Jil scrolled past it to look at the next pic but she returned to the token pic seconds later and looked at it again and read the caption again. lunch was in a few hours.
TO BE CONTINUED...