He is daring.
Out in public, in sunlight like this. Along common areas in a common neighbourhood, he, with his dark and tall priestly stance, his finely shaped beard, his snake charm eyes.
We cross path outside a grocery store. He is talking to three girls. Too young to be mothers, too old to be students. They are already exchanging contact details with him.
Plain white name card. Poet. Filmmaker. Producer.
I have no reason to warn them. (Does that make me complicit?)
The false name. Cell number off a burner phone. A website siphoning private data.
I look into the face of one of the girls. White dress, long, black hair, eyes lit up with laughter. Conventionally pretty.
She does not see me. But he knows I’m there.
He always follows a familiar, similar aesthetic. I know the type he likes. Fair. Asian Chinese. Unblemished. Slightly meaty.
I prefer the petite.
He promised me videos, when he was done. I say to him, “You know I like to watch.”
He understands but offers something else…
I’m behind a two way mirror. I’m looking into a well lit room. There are beds. At least six, if not eight, or nine, neatly arranged in rows. Headboards facing west. Plain white sheets.
I cannot tell if the three females, in oversized pyjama pants and shirts, sleeping soundly, are the same three I had met. (If so, where were their corporate clothes? The white and black dresses?)
How does he make them all feel so comfortable? Comfortable enough to sleep with all the lights on?
Are they drugged? Is there a specific kind of soundtrack he’s looping through unseen speakers that lulls them to natural sleep?
I do not see him enter the room, but he is there, standing between the beds.
I see him cock the black handgun.
.45, no silencer.
He is daring. Wearing no gloves or mask.
They are sleeping so softly. No distress.
I do not actually hear him tell me, but I know he speaks these words.
“You fire into them, when they are in deepest sleep.”
I do not actually hear the double shots. I just see ripped cotton drifting back down onto empty beds.
Where are the girls if not bloodied or dead?
I do not see him leave the room, but he is no longer there.
This makes me realise how time and sound can vanish, that
I’m actually not watching through the two way mirror.
I’m watching a video of myself watching the empty room, with one of the beds ruined by two bullet holes.
The other beds remain vacant and untouched.
This is who he is.
The cameraman. A thief inside my head. Planting and extracting spectacles, scenes, evidence of other lives.
He lets me see him.
He is daring.
Showing me the subjects from his films.