CRAZY LIKE THAT
BRUCE is stuck
in a hopeless midtown traffic jam. He drives a white windowless company van,
with blue lettering on the side reading "United Glass Cleaners Co.".
Ladders and other paraphenalia are attached to the roof of the van. It's late
morning on a summer day, and the heat is already starting to collect between
the skyscrapers. He has the windows rolled down, and is staring out the window
up at the sky, with his elbow resting on the door. He very light blond hair
and clear blue eyes. His older partner, JORGE, fans himself lazily with his
company hat, slumped down in the seat. Both men wear pale blue jumpsuits emblazoned
with the company logo. Jorge has his sleeves rolled up already, and seems permanently
rumpled, but Bruce still looks freshly pressed. Jorge looks over at the distracted
Bruce and makes a generic comment about the weather and the traffic. Bruce says
nothing, but nods and turns back to the traffic. It shows no signs of moving.
Car horns blare at random intervals, to no avail.
Jorge sighs in
frustration and switches on the radio. It is a song he likes; he smiles at Bruce,
turns up the volume and starts to sing along. He tries to get Bruce to join
in, but he only laughs a little as Bruce does his best to dance in his seat.
With a bit more encouragement, Bruce finally joins in, and they become more
and more enthusiastic in their karaoke. A middle-aged woman in the car next
to them rolls down her window, first a little, then all the way; she is playing
the same station. She has several female friends in the car as well. Jorge looks
over and smiles; she smiles back. He reaches a hand out the window and asks
her if she would like to dance. She laughs, assuming he's joking, but then he
gets out of the car and asks her again. He calls over his shoulder for Bruce
to turn up the volume, which he does.
The woman giggles
nervously for a while, then with the encouragement of Jorge and her friends,
she finally gets out of the car and they start to dance in the middle of the
traffic jam. Bruce claps along with the music and her friends sing along, clapping
and laughing. Jorge is playfully sauve, and the woman keeps coming near the
brink of hysterical laughter as he swings and spins her.
A man leans out
of one of the cars behind the dancers and tells them in no uncertain terms to
get back in their cars. The song is nearly over, so after shooting a look at
the angry driver, Jorge steps back, kisses the woman's hand, bows, and gets
back in the van. She rejoins her tittering friends. Bruce turns down the music.
Jorge asks why he's smiling at him like an idiot; hasn't he ever seen a man
dance with a lady before?
The traffic is
starting to move. Jorge leans out the window, waving to the angry driver and
yelling for him to have a nice day, too. After all, that's the sort of thing
that ticks guys like that off the most. Fastening his seatbelt, Jorge asks Bruce
if he should have blown the man a kiss while he was at it. Bruce laughs skeptically,
and Jorge waves his hand; you never know these days if someone has a baseball
bat in the back seat, anyway.
Bruce and Jorge
are at work around the 20th floor of an office building. Jorge hums to himself
as he flicks excess water off his squeegee. Bruce flips his squeegee over and
draws it expertly down the window, leaving no streaks on the now-dry window.
Spotting a place he doesn't think is quite perfect, he grabs a towel from his
waistband and wipes it away.
A young woman
in a red business suit comes into the conference room inside. She looks out
at them for a moment or two, and Jorge takes advantage of the glance to flex
and flash his sexiest smile. She laughs and looks away for a moment. When she
looks back, he mouthes "hey beautiful" to her. The woman smiles shyly,
self-consciously flicks back a loose piece of hair, then walks out with the
file she'd come to retrieve, shaking her head. Jorge tells Bruce that he thinks
Bruce will have to fend for himself during their lunch hour. Bruce laughs and
Jorge breaks into a hearty rendition of a song about falling from great heights
and being smashed on the pavement, to the sadness of one's love as they go back
Back on the ground,
Bruce is refastening some of the equipment to the roof of the van. He has the
back doors open so that he can stand inside to reach. Jorge comes around the
side of the van, his jumpsuit unbuttoned and the top tied around his waist.
He grins slyly at Bruce, and tells him he really will be on his own for lunch.
Then he waves, and walks off, meeting up with the woman in the red suit a few
yards away. Bruce chuckles to himself and shakes his head.
With one last
yank on the securing belt, he hops down from the van and closes the doors. Bruce
wipes his brow with a handerchief from his pocket, then pushes his hair out
of the way with his other hand and looks up at the sky. It is crystal clear
and the sun overhead blinds him for a moment. Then, something comes into view
drifting downwards. Surprised, Bruce plucks it out of the air. Examining it,
he sees that it is slip of white paper. On one side is a phone number, followed
by a dash and a name - "Leah". On the other side is a scrawled note
in red pen - "I guess I'm just crazy like that". Puzzled, Bruce flips
it over again and again, then looks up at the sky, then back at the paper. He
scratches his head and reads the line aloud - "I guess I'm just crazy like
that". He leans back against the side of the van and stares at the paper.
back up to the van alone, to find Bruce with one hand to his head, still considering
the scrap of paper. Jorge asks what's up, and Bruce explains how this little
piece of paper just came out of the sky, and inquires whether Jorge has any
clue what it means. Jorge takes the paper and examines it for a moment, finally
shrugging; he doesn't know, who knows how far it might have blown from where
someone dropped it, or maybe it came off a garbage truck driving by. Probably
part of someone's bad poetry they decided to get rid of. Bruce says that he
wonders whose number it is. Laughing, Jorge tells him that maybe it's a sign,
since it is a woman's name after all, and jokingly tells him he should call
it and ask her what the mysterious line means.
The sun is setting. Bruce and Jorge walk towards the van; Jorge offers to drive back. They get in. Jorge looks over at Bruce thoughtfully. Bruce has one hand in his pocket and his brow is furrowed. Jorge laughs; he's not still thinking about that silly piece of paper, is he? If it's so compelling, he should call the number, find out who Leah is, and get it over with. Mystery solved, as easy as that.
Bruce comes in
his front door, dropping his keys on a small table, then heads straight for
the coffee table that holds his phone. He reaches out to grab it, then hesitates.
After a moment he sits down, taking the mysterious piece of paper from his pocket
and smoothing it on his lap. He dials. He waits. The other end rings once; twice;
Bruce and Jorge are back at work on the higher floors of another office building. Bruce faces away from the buildling, looking out over the city. Jorge asks if he ever called that number. After a pause, Bruce nods, then shrugs; it was disconnected. Jorge shrugs; guess it wasn't a sign, after all. Bruce makes an agreeing noise. Jorge flicks the extra water from his squeegee, and starts to sing. Subtly, Bruce slips his hand into his pocket and pulls out a small piece of paper, folded into quarters. He unfolds it; it has a phone number, followed by a dash: "-Bruce". Bruce flips the paper over; on the reverse side he has written one additional line, in red: "I guess I'm just crazy like that". Bruce smiles to himself, then lets the paper fall. (END)