Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shadows Lights in Salt Lake City

(A chick Evens Story, 1969)

The moon was now up. The lighted sidewalk was behind her, a police officer of Salt Lake City was sitting in his car, he was watching the chopping shadows off her legs like leafless branches and finally, though not for long, and once out of the brightness of the arc lights along the street to a nearby grocery store, finally out of the moon’s light too, though not for long because he turned on his high beams headlights from his car, and so saved the distance between him and the store, which had no lights, giving her a new glow.

Now he could see a shaded down-glow of this figure, young lady, herself, as she walked—not so much hurryingly—but rather being swift along on the still-unescorted sidewalk, un-puzzled and (most of all, though he could not figure out way she was walking all alone not in haste, un-puzzled), his intuition was to stop her, avoid, evade potential harm (or was it something else: perhaps authority, perhaps the Old or New Testaments, something to do with them, or the Holy Mormon Book—who’s to say?)—then violate that prohibition, she dare violate that prohibition, those outsiders always do, that desert banning, that late and dark hour embargo for women folk; whatever, he was not going to allow that Midwestern city’s rendering—of: do as you please, attitude, it was different here. He would send her back to her hotel, or motel, wherever her beginnings were, retiring her to the sitting room at that domicile, before something happened, things happened to women walking alone after the moon was now up, even in a Godly city as, Salt Lake City; and this displeased him, it displeased the whole City, of Salt Lake City, perhaps the whole state of Utah—she didn’t evidently understand the police officer figured: it was not 1959, it was 1969.

Opening his door, then shutting the door behind him with a powerful slam, bang, jerk, he frightened the young lady—more so than the dark sidewalk—the lady was Chick Evens’ sister-in-law, whom he and his brother were at the motel waiting her arrival or return: Carol had gone for some items for her family, her husband and two kids (Sheryl and Sharla, two girls). But the police officer, didn’t want any woman or child to touch even the knob on a door, turn that knob nonetheless, open it, and leave the domicile from which they were inside of, without a male escort, so he told her in so many words, this was Salt Lake City, rules, if not simple gobbledygook—who’s to say, she didn’t have the by-laws of the city at hand, nor did he I’m sure.

And so she, Carol, thought: I am not eight years old. She didn’t say this of course, she thought this. And she also thought: had I been born a man, he would not have paid any attention even to the light posts, or the rising moon; he wouldn’t even have been here at this corner, all just because she was a woman alone.

Later on that evening both Chick Evens—the brother-in-law, and Carol’s husband, Chick’s brother, both were astonished at the happening, since back in Minnesota they had lived opposite such discourteous rules—they couldn’t anticipate how the police officer could enforce such a policy to a grown up, in a free country, called the United States of America, this was not Russia or China, or North Korea, or even Mexico, the neighbor.

He stood there watching Carol turnabout and head back to the motel, holding steady his half-awake eyes, trotting back step by step with her to the motel doors, up one step, down one step, closed door. And then into her room where her husband was, sat shirtsleeves from the heat, eyes tired, not at first even looking up, expecting the groceries, not the Biblical or Mormon phrase book quoted to him, she said, “What can I do, with this city, it has its own rules?”

#886 (3-16-2012)..

For Carol