I could drink a case of Sharon, Fridays at FITK
Used by permission
My flight left on time, I was still queasy, no doubt due to the events of the last few days. Sally was in the aisle seat; as I looked out the window to the landscape of Iceland disappearing in the fog Sally leaned over and spoke in my ear:
"You need to grow into your role in the campaign, Billy. You'll be spending a lot of time on airplanes, and even more time in hotel rooms. You'll have to perform as if you were in a play, but no ad-libbing, none."
"How can I pull this off? Won't people see through me? What about Billy's half-sisters? What about the senator's wife?"
"The twins hardly know Billy, they were infants when you went to college, and aside from a few drunken appearances at Christmas, haven't seen much of their 'older brother' at all. Nora, your step-mother, already knows whats going on."
"What's your stake in this, Sally? Or is that privileged information?"
"Nora and I go way back. She helped me when I needed it most, and I'll help her, and the Senator, whenever they need it."
The attendant brought the beverage cart down the aisle. The thought of alcohol repulsed me, I motioned to what I thought was orange soda.
"Uh, yeah, OK."
Sally smiled, "Apple Sin? The cause of Adam's fall:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. You'll get to know good and evil, Billy. Let your eyes be opened. You'll get along fine if your mouth shall be shut."
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day
ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
I took a sip of the soda, the can said it was "Limonade" but it tasted like nothing I'd ever had before. Not sweet, not citrus and certainly not apple, but it was a good match for my parched condition. I wondered if I'd ever get back to normal eating habits. I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes.
"Before you nod off, I want you to know that I'll be on your side, if you'll only let me. Nora is a powerful woman, and she can be blunt with those who she feels aren't supporting her. You will have to put up with a lot of grief from her, with no reward. She can be awful at times, but you'll just have to grin and bear it."
"I'm beginning to understand why Billy was on the run." I couldn't imagine Billy ever letting any woman have the upper hand.
Sally gripped my arm and looked me right in the eyes.
"Billy once said to me 'The only way I could make Nora happy would be if I walked through a mile of her shit just to kiss her ass.' That's not far from the truth." Sally's mien softened a bit as she spoke: "Pleasant dreams, Billy."
Mondays in Iceland - #28 - Studio
In the old part of town, where there are houses interspersed with commercial buildings, some of the small lots also contain small structures, some of which house little studios. Whether this one is used by an artist, is a storage room, or just a place to get away, I don't know. But it does seem to fit the neighborhood, both in scale and appearance. I am taken with the idea of living there, a completely irrational idea, but that is part of the charm of of the area; dozens of small buildings with inviting facades suggesting a new and simpler lifestyle.
If you are what you eat do you eat what you are?
Sharon's full of herself, Fridays
Used by permission
Turkey + Sharon + Chicken = Tursharken.
Debone and serve kicking with gravy and peas.
Thanks for sharin', Sharon, yum!
Used by permission
I was greeted at the airport by Sally and a man who appeared to be a customs official. Sally gave me my ticket, passport and boarding pass, and asked for my cell phones- the one from the embassy and Billy's iPhone. The man indicated that there was no need to check my duffel. He took it to a secure area, leaving Sally and me at the check-in.
"We'll be flying together again, first class this time. I took the liberty of giving you the window seat, I hope you don't mind." Sally spoke pleasantly, but her face lacked emotion. "We've got some time before boarding, did you have a chance to eat?"
"I might be able to eat a little."
"There's plenty of food to choose from in the terminal, do you have any Kronur left? Might as well spend it, you won't get much from the exchange."
We went up to the main terminal where there was a deli-style restaurant. I got a sandwich and a Coke; Sally glass of wine. We sat down and Sally looked at me carefully.
"Not exactly a fancy dinner date, is it, Billy? Are you doing alright? I realize what a remarkable thing it is that you're doing, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were upset."
"I'm OK, I guess. I knew going into it that this would be a strange gig, but I never imagined it how it could turn so bad. The realization that I don't have any say in what's going on, that's the thing which bothers me."
"You're already past the hard part. The Senator will see to it that it will be considerably easier from now on; you will have every comfort—if you play by the rules."
"I understand. I would be a lot more comfortable if I had a different pair of shoes." I picked at the sandwich. My brain said that I should be hungry, but my stomach wasn't ready for a meal yet. "I will play the role of dutiful son." I wondered how Molly was taking the news of "my" death. She must have been notified by now. "Where is it I'm going, by the way?"
"We'll land in Washington, and then go to the Senator's compound in Maryland. You'll be under Secret Service protection."
"In a sense, yes. You'll be taken out for campaign appearances, but your freedom of movement and access to communications will be restricted. But it won't be too onerous - you've been under active surveillance since you left the storeroom this morning. Look behind you."
I turned around and the two goons who I had seen in the nightclub and at Billy's accident were sitting a few tables away.
"They were on your side, then?" I asked.
"They are on our side, yes." Sally smiled a little.
I put down the sandwich without eating any of it. Sally finished her wine then indicated it was time to go.
"Passport control is open now. We'll wait in the departure terminal. Don't talk to anyone."
The passport officer gave a cursory look at the replacement passport with Billy's picture in it and stamped it without comment. We went to our gate. I glanced at the departure board and saw that the Seattle flight was boarding in the next gate. The jet's hold was being loaded.
Along with the usual mix of luggage and parcels was a large, coffin-sized box.
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2012
I took in the Cindy Sherman photography exhibit this weekend. Cindy has done self-portraits of one sort or another for the last 35 years. One might think that this concept would lead to a sameness, a narcissistic conceit, but the opposite was true. After seeing over one hundred and fifty portraits, many larger than life-size, I was left with the strange sensation that she could be standing right next to me and I wouldn't recognize her at all.
Cindy's work features her assuming many personas, her early work looked as if they were stills from European art films; plotless but nevertheless supplied with narratives from the viewer's imagination. Later works explored classical art, while the newest work brought feminine stereotypes to uncomfortable heights- simultaneously fantastic and mundane.
Highly recommended for those readers in the Minneapolis area, through February 17, 2013.
Mondays in Iceland # 27 - Perlan
After Hallgrímskirkja, Perlan (the Pearl) is the most noteworthy landmark in Reykjavík. Giant water tanks, with a museum, cafe, rotating restaurant and observation deck—all tied together around a multi-story atrium. Some people think it ridiculous, but it is so over-the-top that I like it. Perched on a hill overlooking Nauthólsvík, it is surrounded by pleasant paths, a perfect destination for an afternoon walk and a willing subject for photographers.
On the outside looking in.
Get in the swim with Sharon, Fridays at FITK.
Used by permission.
Confession of a Promiscuious Blogger
Another guest post by the Professor, this time in fellow Icelandophile Eva Lind's most excellent blog I'd Rather Be In Iceland. Further proof of the spreading influence of Icelandic Culture.
WE ARE LEGION!
I am not ashamed.
... walking with my mother, walking to the store in the neighborhood center—the store that sold women's clothes on consignment... I was only four or five and mother complimented me on being a "good walker"... it was about six blocks but I wasn't tired... the morning sun made everything look more alive... its warmth enveloped me, like a caress from my mother... we went into the store run by a strange little man and his wife... "here's a hot number" he said, holding up a brassiere, I wondered what that meant... "ding, ding..." there must have been a door bell in the back of the store for deliveries... my mother smiled at me, I was glad when she was happy, for the world then became a beautiful place where bad memories where forgotten.... "ding ding..." it was the first day of school the school smelled of floor wax and there were other children there but I wasn't afraid because the big kids went in a different door... I had a pencil box with my name on it... I was suddenly looking at a picture of myself entering school on that first day... "ding ding..." I was late to class the bell was ringing then I sat down across from Julie and when looked into her deep brown eyes I fell in love... "ding ding..."
The cell phone I was given at the embassy was ringing in my jacket pocket. I groggily pressed the talk button and heard Sally's voice.
"Sorry to wake you, but we've got your flight ready. You need to be at the airport by two o'clock. What did you find of Billy's?" I looked at the phone. 8 AM. I'd been asleep for almost twenty hours. My bladder confirmed it.
"Hand on a minute there, Sally, let me get myself together." I put the phone down. An empty jug was on the floor near my makeshift bed. Two minutes later I picked up the phone again.
"I have his computer and cell here, but no way to use them, all his stuff is behind passwords. They shouldn't be too hard to crack. Billy could be sloppy with his security. Did you get my computer?"
"No, the Reykjavík police is holding everything from the accident. We can't press them on it, it will be sent back to Seattle with the body after the autopsy. Someone will have to ID the body in Seattle before they release any of it."
"Your employer. She's being notified. We'll have her get in touch with your girlfriend. I think Molly will do what ever we tell her to." Sally was all business, no tact. I felt a bit ill. "There wasn't anything compromising on your laptop, was there?"
"No, just some text files. All the real data is in Seattle and there's a multi-level dynamic password system in place before any of it can be accessed. I'm the only person who could enter the system through that computer."
"Did you find any of Billy's papers or ID?"
"Nothing. All he had here was a phone and computer. I've got some of his clothes. There must be another place where kept his other things. We know he had an ATM card, he must have had some ID and a passport." I didn't mention the sock stuffed with hundred dollar bills.
"It may have something to do with the Russians; they usually like to hold some form of 'security' from their contacts. Once you're on the plane back to D.C. none of this will matter. Don't come to the embassy, there have already been reporters calling about the accident; we wouldn't want anything about the Senator's son, no matter how unrelated, to hit the media. Flight 645 leaves at 4:50. You can get cleaned up at the pool, do have enough money for that, and something to eat and Flybus ticket?"
"Yes, I still have most of what you gave me yesterday. I've only bought coffee since then." I wasn't going to tell Sally about the card I mailed, or Þora either, for that matter.
"Once you get to the airport, we'll take care of the rest. Just remember, you are still Billy... Oh, and by the way, how did you make out with that woman?"
"The one in the diner... "
"She was a friend of Billy's. Suspicious, but I don't think that she knows anything." So I had been under surveillance. One of the men at the restaurant, no doubt.
"I hope for both of your sakes that you didn't do anything dumb."
I hoped so as well.
Mondays in Reykjavík - #26 - Foreman
While not on the same torrid pace as it once was, demolition and new construction continues in the city, some of the older houses are being torn down for projects built in the name of development. With many apartments still empty, this aggressive real estate speculation is changing the character of city, particularly near the eastern end of Hverfisgata. All of this background mattered little to the young boy who stood transfixed by the machine's fierce claw tearing into the earth just a few feet away.
Sharon is my superhero, FITK Fridays
Used by permission
We walked in silence along the pond in the center of town. Swans and ducks gracefully swam in random patterns. Patches of blue sky and moments of sunshine erased all traces of the previous night's wretched weather. Þora's flat was was in the basement of a stuccoed cube of a house near the south end of Tjarnargata; three bedrooms, a shared bath and kitchen. It had the appearance of a college dorm. Her flatmates were out.
"I've put all your things there, on the floor of the closet." Þora said, waving at the pile of socks, shirts and pants. No shoes. As I put the shirts and pants in the duffel I felt for any things which Billy might have forgotten. There was nothing, nothing but clothes. The last sock, however, held a roll of at least thirty one-hundred dollar bills. I doubted if I could get that past the Ambassador's goons. It would be gauche to just give it to Þora, it would turn my 'fuck and run' into something even worse.
"Þora, I've got this money. The embassy wouldn't let me keep it if they knew I had it. Would you hold it, hold it for my... daughter. Don't let on it's from me. Get her a book or a dress, just once in a while. Take her out for an ice cream, I don't know, anything you think would make her happy."
Þora looked at me sadly and simply said "Já." Then she turned away and said "Go now." I reached out to hold her but she shook her head and moved away.
I took my things and left and went back to the hangover shack.
There I crashed.
Mondays In Iceland - #25 - Tourists
Vacation photo rituals haven't changed much since the invention of Eastman's original Kodak: stand in front of a picturesque scene and smile. Reykjavík must have the highest ratio of "snapshots per capita" of any destination, the combination of a small population, numerous tourists and lots of scenery combines in a near orgasm of photography. This Chinese couple could have used a helping hand - it is usually better to have both travelers in the shot. I was too slow on the uptake on this occasion, but the next day I did help a young Japanese woman get a nice picture (she was alone, holding her camera at arm's length) at the Viking ship sculpture. Smiles all around.
As you can see, I'm restarting my Mondays in Iceland series. Too many new pictures to keep hidden and most will also feature a tiny story.
Iceland Airwaves 2012
Pascal Pinon, Eld Hús, Reykjavik, Inspired by Iceland
I thought I was going to skip posting about Iceland Airwaves this year, but I just can't help it. The above screenshot is from "The smallest off-venue" from the event, a tiny house in the center of Reykjavík which holds about 8 people max, including the performers. You can see the whole performance here.
There is a great photo gallery of the first night at Iðno at The Line of Best Fit, and a glowing review of Pascal Pinon has been posted at the Reykjavík Grapevine Airwaves coverage.
I've occasionally wondered if it was some strange elfin magic which first attracted me to these talented siblings in 2009.
I'm not wondering anymore, and there are more sisters on the way.
Sharon will return next Friday.