Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Showers and storms

The last case began with scratchy towels and a the sensation of swallowing sand as I tried to breathe. Those feelings of discomfort were accentuated by the cold wind that seemed to blow constantly. Ohio was grey and bleak and it was beginning to take its toll on the team. The upcoming holiday break was the carrot that led the production horse forward.

But that morning began like any other. A new hotel room, a new blend of generic toiletries arranged around the tiny sink that would wash away the restless dreams obtained during a night of inadequate sleep. Another "Do Not Disturb" sign that I hoped would survive on my doorknob for more than one day. What would this room be like? Would this illusion of home bring me comfort? Something as simple as a mini fridge and a microwave went far in doing that. What chain were we at currently and is my membership in that rewards program current? "Enjoy your stay, Mr. Cano" they would all say and the dead look in their eyes would belie the insincerity that I carried with me into my temporary home. I'd set it down on the night table along with the extra key card in that little folder with the room number scribbled across it. I'd set it down and pay it no more mind for the rest of my stay. I had other concerns.

I'd found that I could predict how the days and cases would play out by a very simple device. It was no scrying tool, it wasn't a Ouija board, or an occult artifact yet it was certainly elemental. My own private seer each morning - the shower head. Water pressure, temperature, spread and adjustability...each element received and adapted to like the personality and habits of a new acquaintance. There is always some period of adjustment, no matter how minor. What an odd metaphor for life, but the morning always brought me such strange thoughts. Perhaps it was some leftover wisdom gleaned from the anxiety dreams that plagued me nightly. Wisdom which would soon find it's way down the drain. This seer would speak, but not allow me to retain any of what I learned.

A malaise had settled over me. The images from our surveillance system took custody of my eyes by night, the grayness of the sky by day. Every city we had been to had the same featureless sky, the same chill wind. Each place had some bewildered local telling us that this was unusual for that time of year. It was as if a storm was following us. Never quite present, but looming...imminent. I thought of the cartoon black cloud that follows characters on television for comedic effect and wondered if that cloud were hired by the producers. I was on TV now, perhaps I was assigned my own personal weather pattern. The absurdity of the thought provided the joy I needed to get through my morning routine. It was brief, for I continued the string in my head. Weather is mindless, it has no agenda but to simply be and follow the patterns that Nature has set forth for it. It was a saying that I said to myself often, that I often wondered if I myself created:
"The hurricane doesn't choose who it rains on."
Indeed. So how could this cloud be following me, following all of us, so consistently? When the team rolled out of town, reports followed how the sun would come out and the frost melted. It was almost as if something were following us...stalking us. Something was observing us...watching us and taking note of our habits and looking for weak spots.

I keep watch on the skies and in the shadows around me. Keep watching me, you only see what I allow you to...