The latest installment of the graphic novella,”The Java Knot”. – The morning cafecito had already greased the nervous system as the crew were putting on the harnesses and saddling onto bosun chairs. He was not one for those clunky scaffolds. Less mobile & less safe to his way of thinking. His mind was made after high winds slung those 2 dudes & that scaffold into the intersection of Market & 17th.
Crew readied, they strode to the edge & swung a leg over. At fifty stories, this was the moment no matter how cavalier, when the pecan sack clustered into a tight ripple skinned lemon. Over the edge & down to work. If you weren’t in free fall now, you’d set your lines properly. They’d begin where they left off yesterday, the 38th floor.

In earlier than usual, the office hadn’t gathered its sonic hubbub, so before the flurry of calls & office catch-up pulled him in more directions than a crab beset by a romp of otters, he went online to look over specs of that new Ducati he intended to have. Out the window the morning sun was still below the building across the street. Two slender ropes flirted with his window.
Andrea, the secretary he shared with 2 lugs in the adjacent offices, broke his concentration, brusquely sweeping in & setting a Dunkin‘ Donuts bag on his desk. “I was reminded to see you had everything for the conference call from Germany which got bumped to 9 sharp.”
“Somebody’s eager. All set.”
“They were out of Maple Old Fashion. I nabbed the last Chocolate Cruller”.
”Sweet”, his eyes followed the lines of the Ducati then slid from the bike seat to Andrea’s shrink-wrapped gluts as they rounded the door frame.
“Okay, time to pay for the new wheels”, he launched the balled up donut bag at the trash can placed purposely as far from his chair as the office would allow. A tightly crunched coffee cup followed. The napkin knot next. Ungh, 2 for three. He looked around for something else to pitch, then lit up the array of screens and dialed in the conference code.

It wasn’t so much the nylon ropes that kept he and his attached crew from becoming flesh bombs endangering pedestrians curious as to where that encroaching scream was coming from, as it was their mirrored avatars. It might be the touch of a boot toe or scraper to scraper kiss on the glass plane that kept a Rorschach twins high wire dance above the patient vigil of a concrete death. How much it reminds one of the cat’s optimistic glare at the butterfly fluttering ever so much closer, closer….

An hour into the conference and having concluded his part of the presentation, his mind wandered back to the Ducati when the slightest change of light in the room turned his head to glimpse a murky figure creating foamy graffiti on one of the three large windows in his office. Now he fancied himself an upper tier thrill seeker. Totally dug high finance with dizzying sums, no stranger to the poker table, & he expected to find out if that Ducati performed as advertised, but dangling in thin air from a couple shoe strings??!! And while the city looked great from here & he was mindful of the corporate cachet & bragging rights of a desk with a view, the thought of feeling the breeze on the other side of that glass made his loins wither. For sure if them ropes snapped, that little orange sucker in dude’s hand wouldn’t hold his ass.
He turned back to the screens to follow the numbers but he’d already gone over these stats umpteen times & his mind just as quickly returned to that Ducati. He swiveled in his chair to watch his man just finish soaping the center pane. His eyes traced those snaking curves of soap & as the scraper cut a clear view of sky he was now gliding along the serpentine roads of Passo dello Stelvio. The husky rumble of that Ducati reinvigorating the dwindling his family jewels had experienced only moments before.
As the window washer switched to the last of his trio of windows some blur caught his dreamy attention. Following behind his man, about ten feet off his right shoulder, was a drone. Wait. What the..? How cool is that? Is someone shooting a movie? Awesome, I’m in a…wait, they’d have to get a release signed. Might be a training film. Just then Andrea popped her head in his door,”Upstairs said to say thanks, you don’t need to hang for the remainder. I’ll fax the statements and leave the contract on your desk. The others are going off for an early lunch and asked you to meet ‘em at the elevators”. He followed her curves out the door and caught sight of his team gathering by the elevators. A round of high-fives ensued, a quick exchange of who had what on the latest round of Fantasy Football and he promised to catch up with them soon as he ordered a shiny present to himself and shut down his computers. “Oh hooooo, you’re going for the Ducati?!” More high-fives. “Congrats Guys!” Andrea said as she went past the congregation. Their eyes followed her and then settled on him. “Bet your gonna love taking some curves on your new D!”, offered one. He backed towards his office with a smirk and prolonged shrug.
The corners of his mouth were still nudging his earlobes when he strode into his office. He shut his screens off and then, still facing his screens, his mouth went slack as his brow knit. The now dark screens bore the reflection of his figure back lit by the squeaky clean windows. And on the center pane, was a round shadow. His turn was measured, but he came full around to see it. And just it. A black circle with a smaller disk in its center. It was about 6 inches across and on its other side, an orange handle. Bright orange. The drone was gone. The ropes, also gone.

Drawn on a Stillman & Birn Gamma Series sketchbook with Faber-Castell Essentio Broad nib fountain pen end Pitt Artist Pens.

The Java Knot – The Clear Window

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