The Adventures of Chartan: Shocking News

(Last week Brazil in an attempt to find his client, Elisa, encounters Chartan where he blurts out, “I’m afraid of myself.)

             Chartan was puzzled by Brazil’s response. What did this man really mean and what did he want? 

            “Let’s talk at my place,” said Chartan who had never had a stranger in his apartment to discuss inner feelings. Brazil nodded.

            When Brazil entered the studio, he looked for signs that Elisa had been there. The area was spotless and there was no bed, no normal place where two people might have sex.

            Chartan rolled out the yoga mat. “Here,” he said.

            Both men faced each other in the sitting position about an arm’s length apart.

            Chartan cleared his throat. “What about your fear?”

            Brazil opened his mouth but nothing came out. He clenched his teeth and lowered his head before speaking.

            “I’ve been battling anger for years. I thought I could get over this urge to hurt once I got older.  But it flares up when least expected. And it’s getting worse.”

            Chartan spoke slowly, “Replace your anger with love—sounds trite, but you can do it, or you wouldn’t be talking to me. You need life restoration.”

            The doorbell rang. Chartan knew it was Elisa—she’d only been gone a few hours. He stood up and walked to the door.

            Brazil guessed it would be his client as well, but he didn’t care what she might think. The floodgates of internal pain had been opened and he wanted to release more and didn’t care who heard it.

            “Mr. Chartan? “ The man in the doorway wore a suit.

            “Yes.”

            “I’m Detective Moran.”

            In a Life Restoration class Chartan once stated, “People have differing levels of ‘shock absorption,’… the unexpected can terrify one person and barely move another”. He said there’s no right and wrong response to shocking news, provided the person remains grounded in who they are—he didn’t elaborate on the statement and the four students in the room didn’t ask for elucidation.

            Chartan recalled the class while facing the detective in the doorway with Brazil next to him. Moran asked the pair if they knew an Elisa Cunnings.  Brazil gave a “yes” while Chartan said, “I know an Elisa—wasn’t aware of her last name.”

            Moran looked around the studio. “Can we sit somewhere?”

            “I have two chairs and a table, otherwise it’s the yoga mat,” said Chartan.

            Brazil blurted, “I’ll stand.”

            Moran took a chair and Chartan grabbed the other. Brazil stood by Chartan before inching closer to Moran.

            The detective asked each man how he knew Elisa. Brazil said he met her at a class Chartan was teaching —he made no mention of his private investigator relationship with Elisa. Chartan added that Elisa was the nurse in the San Francisco hospital where he had been taken after he was grazed by a bullet fired by the Car Window Bandit. He omitted how she had followed him to Sacramento.

            “A celebrity,” said Moran

            “Lucky,” replied Chartan.

            Moran coughed. “She could use some luck today—she’s been shot.”

(To be continued next Sunday)

Empty Bench…Remembering 9/11

Took this shot five years ago in September of an empty bench. Actually, it isn’t completely unoccupied–there is some propaganda put there for someone who might be suffering from…(fill in the blank). Horror happens daily in this country, this world. Unspeakable crimes lead to public vigils intended to make certain the horrors are not forgotten. I’ll never forget 9/11, Sandy Hook or the woman in Sacramento who was brutally raped and murdered along with her two dogs by a parolee this week. Fill in the blank.

Cabbage White…DONE!

No distractions.
Leaf distraction.

A few days ago I posted my best attempt to capture a cabbage white in focus. The only issue with the shot was a leaf protruding in the center of the photo–after looking at the post, the leaf became a middle finger. So, yesterday I finally got a focused hand-held photo of a cabbage white without any distractions. Time to move on!

The Adventures of Chartan: The Set Up

           (Last Sunday: Skyler Brazil, hired by Elisa, secretly takes photos of her and Chartan in the grips of passion.)

Elisa was asleep, naked, with her head on Chartan’s chest. He wanted to cover her with a sheet but didn’t want to move and wake her. They had not spoken to each other since they fell on the yoga mat with Elisa clawing at him like an animal.

            How strange it was to not speak during our intimacy. No, “intimacy” is the wrong term. It was sex, more on her part than mine. I was a participant…she even wanted a stranger to watch. But she is so beautiful to look at now–I am conflicted by love and lust. I have no control. I am in place I do not know. This lesson isn’t in my course. I’m lost. But only for a time as Elisa will discover soon.

            Chartan started to move, but stopped to reflect on how Elisa had moaned and later screamed. He willed those thoughts away, rolled to the side and placed Elisa’s head gently on the mat. He stood up in near darkness.

            “What are you doing?” asked Elisa in a sleepy voice.

            “Putting a light on along with some clothes.”

            “Don’t.”

            “A compromise—a candle and underwear.”

            “But I like to look at it, all of it.”

            Chartan put on boxer shorts and then he lit a candle on the nearby kitchen table. The apartment was so small that everything in it was “nearby.”

            “I’m not putting on anything” said Elisa.

            Chartan cringed with the sense that Elisa would never leave, a reminder that it had been five years since his last encounter with a woman who didn’t want to leave.

                                                            ***

            The image of Chartan and Elisa pulsated on Brazil’s computer screen. He’d downloaded 145 shots, covering the prolonged kiss on the sidewalk to the embrace by the window. He kept nodding in an effort to convince himself he had enough to satisfy his client’s request. But he had to eliminate signs that Chartan was an unwilling participant.

            The entire photo of the couple kissing showed Elisa with her arms around Chartan’s neck while his arms were straight down at his side. He cropped out Chartan’s arms. .

            The window shot had Elisa naked from the waist up—Chartan was fully clothed and his right eye appeared to be looking out the window. Again, Brazil photo-shopped the shot to blur Chartan’s right eye while keeping a sharp focus on Elisa’s bare back.

            When he was done, he had a dozen photos of two people in love.

            He put the photos in a large envelope. When he stood up, his right knee buckled and he had to grab the desk to keep from falling. He’d been carrying shrapnel from Vietnam in his body for over 50 years. Today, the pain was intense. But this is why he had hired Johnson, although despite Johnson’s assistance, he’d fallen from a tree and aggravated his bum knee.

            He ate several pieces of toast before swallowing 800 mgs.of ibuprofen. He didn’t want to limp into Elisa’s apartment when it came time to trade his work for $750.

            Maybe this will be my last gig.

            Brazil grabbed a cane and left.

                                                                                                ***       

            Brazil checked his watch. Noon. He tapped on Room 214 with his cane. No response. A maid pushing a cart piled with towels was coming down the hallway. He asked her in broken Spanish if she had cleaned the room. She replied in perfect English, “I haven’t gotten there yet.” He swore under his breath and left.

             He tapped the steering wheel of his car. Elisa might still be at Chartan’s apartment. He wanted his money, but he was also intrigued by the man she was using. Ten minutes later he stood at the base of the oak tree.  He focused a hand scope on the window—the blinds were up. Chartan’s jet black hair passed by.

            “What are you doing?”

            Brazil lowered the scope. Ah, a young mall cop on the job. 

            “Bird watching,” replied Brazil.

            “The female type? Let’s see some ID!”

            Brazil’s blood pressure spiked. He looked at the man’s throat and flexed his fingers. It would be easy to break his neck. But over the man’s shoulder he spotted Chartan walking out of the building.

            “Chartan,” he yelled as he stepped forward, almost knocking over the security guard.

            A few seconds later Brazil and Chartan faced each other on the sidewalk.

            “Enjoyed your class yesterday,” said Brazil.

            Chartan’s concerned expression grew easy. “Thank you. Why are you taking the class?”

            Brazil hesitated. While he wanted to know Elisa’s whereabouts, he was intrigued by Chartan’s calmness. He replied, “I’m afraid of myself.”

                                                            ***

(Continued next Sunday)

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