Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Picture

We are passing along the street. Niki J and me. Officers intercept us. We are to be honored in a photo. Over there. An automatic pistol lies on the street just out from the gutter, pointing in the direction we were headed, and two rounds in order have been placed before its muzzle in a cartoon fired position. We are to stand there to be photographed.

We do. It is taking some time. There is a whole crew of photographers, directors. Is this to be a commercial? Yes, yes, a commercial, answers someone in the crew, noncommital.

Now we are joined by others. It is becoming quite crowded, actually. Who are all these interlopers? I cannot even see the camera now. We are called into a restaurant, dark and ferny, to discuss.

Is this the establishment of the commercial? I ask another crewmember. Yes, yes, he answers, the establishment of the commercial. It's as if he does not speak English well enough to use his own words. He does not inspire confidence.

A lady is in charge of a lecture. She lights into us. I think, it must be the interlopers she means. The lecture is about our duty, and how we have fallen short of it. Them interlopers, I fume with her.

She addresses a guy to my right and just ahead. She says something that might be misconstrued, about she and he together, and then she smiles, bows her head; "Well, I guess we'll see about that."

She is flirting! With an interloper! And then it becomes clear. All of these have been on the shoot for a long time. The project has been going on forever. There is just this one still photograph! And yet it goes on. Every now and again they pick someone else from the street, and yet it's always the same.

Nothing is ever done. It is all just milling about and conflict and discord and chaos and then someone just walks off up the street and then they find someone else coming the other way.

What is this? I ask? It's just a picture, isn't it? I have directed my question with more hope than is justified by experience to yet another crew member.

"Yes, yes," he replies with an affirmative, confident nod. "Just a picture."

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