CARMEN`S PRAYERS

The air rose with the clouds along the walls of the skyscrapers, also still warm, almost hot.

And so, an hour earlier, Walter had had to run through this scorcher, squeezing past limousines, police cars, and thousands of tourists.

Walter ran to his post in the Security Operations Center, running out of his girlfriend Lisa’s apartment, because his colleague, the great filmmaker Roy, called his cell phone and told him that a fight had broken out in the famous hotel bar named the “French Laundry”: several drunken men had grappled over some woman, breaking dishes and turning over tables. Roy called the police, of course. The cops were going to arrive at any minute, but still, it was better if Walter was at work. Torn from Lisa’s bed, Walter hurriedly put on his shirt and trousers, fastened his belt with its gun and holster, and threw his jacket on as he ran out.

There was nothing for Walter to do at the scene when he got there; the policemen and undercover officers removed the violators—three drunken men—from the bar. Two of them kept quiet, didn’t throw a fit, and so were released. The third was either drunker or dumber, and he swore mightily at the cops and waved his arms, wanting to continue his bash, and got it: he soon found himself handcuffed in the back of a police car.

Walter, who arrived toward the end, helped slam shut the door of the police car in which the ruffian sat, and he chit-chatted briefly with his former colleagues about all sorts of things. He also didn’t forget to jot down their names and badge numbers. He wore a stern yet good-natured look on his face, rejoicing in the fact that nothing serious had happened and that his absence from his post had gone unnoticed. Though he was a little annoyed at being pulled away from Lisa.

When he got up to the Security Operations Center, he thanked Roy for signaling him. Then he energetically sat down at the table and wrote a short report in the ledger about the incident, which would have taken a dramatic writer at least ten long pages, though Walter wrote it in only three succinct lines. It wasn’t clear what, or more accurately who, was the cause of the fight at the “French Laundry”: the mysterious woman washed away in a murky stream to an unknown location. Walter therefore identified her in his report as “alleged Prostitute Number One.”

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