Word-of-the-Day “spermaceti” (waxy substance produced by the sperm wale, present in a round organ in the head where it focuses acoustic signals and aids in the control of buoyancy) submitted by the always-inspirational, razor-sharp, vegan culinary whiz Cristina B.
Shock of water against winter insulated skin, memories of childhood swimming pools rush to surface, distortion of time/space continuum, suspended, weightless, until the slap-push-splat-smack eases into pull-slice-crawl and he is reoriented to where he is, body in water, lane, lap pool, pricey healthclub, the kind he once derided (smoothie bar, childcare) but for which he is now grateful.
Dude splashes into the lane next to him, aggressive Butterfly. Show-off. Douchebag doesn’t know how to pace, all pyrotechnics, will burn out in a few explosive laps. He swam fly in college, flew. Now it’s all about the pacing.
And duration. He swims a mile twice a week, the words he dreads, a mantra in his head, syncopating with each stroke, theclientwantstogoinanotherdirection
In the entirety of his illustrious career, “the client” has never expressed any desire to veer from his directed direction. Only a matter of time. No commercial director has a perfect track record.
Lap swimming, the repetition is the killer, aquatic hamster wheel. He shouldn’t think about hamsters, his daughter took the death of the classroom pet very, very hard. Repetition, an exercise in mental stamina. His shoulder tweaks, center of gravity cantilevers, near collision with Show-off, swallow of chlorinated water, he will not choke. He will best the douchebag.
Song snippet earworm, wormholes into his head. His signature, his unparalleled ability dredge up the exact musical moment to knit the piece together, nail the emotional resonance the client is so desperate to create.
Maestro of high-impact manufactured moments. Fifteen or thirty seconds of exquisitely produced emotion. He has a shelf full of light-refracting awards in homage to this talent. Somehow his agent is incapable of parlaying the glitter into a feature film deal. Somehow there is lingering doubt as to whether he has ability to sustain stories beyond the thirty-second mark, the stamina for 90 – 110 minutes of narrative bullshit.
They don’t realize his capacity for bullshit is endless.
He takes trips to the Other Coast for endless rounds of almost-deals, dinners with B-list celebrities at which he invariably drinks too much, which requires availing himself of as many complimentary First Class Bloody Mary’s as he can swill on the return flight, rending him surly and dehydrated, in no mood for the avalanche of text messages as plane hits tarmac. Snippy exchanges escalating into near nuclear with his too-knowing wife, who greets his return with resentment. As though he should do more, or less. As though he is in possession of some magical key to the universe, refuses to wield it out of spite.
But when he arrives, when the elevator opens and his girl bounds towards him, giggles and shouts daddy’s-home-daddy’s-home, it all falls away. He scoops her into his arms, holds her aloft, for a brief moment they are both buoyant.
And that is it, what he wants to illuminate, capture for the new spot: the bright eyes of a girl he has yet to disappoint, unadulterated adoration.
A buoy for the drowning man to grasp.
“spermaceti” handwritten at Grape & Vine with what appeared to be the last glass of summer rose at the Jade Hotel (greenwich village, nyc) with a second pass in the company of an Aviation cocktail at Preserve24 (lower east side, nyc). Edited with a potent Americano at Mojo Coffee (west village, nyc).
What’s YOUR WordBowl word? Looking forward to your suggestion!