Ellie at the Bank
Ellie stands in line.
She reaches into The Pocket of Secrets. All jeans have one, and although someone once told her that it was for keys or coins, she has always known that it was for small treasures. She uses hers to transport the unusual pebbles she finds. When the jeans are washed, she leaves telephone numbers and memos inside, rolled tight like a carrier-pigeon’s charge. Hot-legged from the dryer, she unfurls the scrolled messages like pirate maps, the edges worn and the ink faded but, with luck, the treasure still marked. She has missed many meetings and potential relationships to this testing ground.
Today, The Pocket contains: a plectrum (with a nugget of Blu-Tack cuddling one side), an origami x-wing crushed beyond all reverse-engineering, and a vague square of folded paper containing her bank details. She shuffles an index finger around, stew-swirling the contents and further damaging the x-wing (unknown to her, a tiny paper R2 is now lodged, bleating, under her nail) and fish-hooks the plectrum to the light. We think… yes, it’s the Blu-Tack she’s after, scraping a pea into her hand; a palmed pearl.
The queue edges forward, a laconic worm-ripple. Ellie extends a leg and traces an arc in front of her with a big-toe-stretch, yet remains in place. This annoys the people behind her, but we can tell that she is used to this – there is a space created that must be filled, but remains empty. Is she crazy? they think. Why isn’t she filling the zone? The empty area agitates the rear-queuers, as if someone might leap into the bank, balaclava-clad, and steal that lacuna, the place that is theirs, that is promised to them.
A robot proclaims: ” Cashier number four please” and the queue shuffles forward.
Ellie glides along. To leave a two-person-shaped gap might cause some violence, society is not yet ready for such a direct absurdity. But she has won one. One region. One locale. She steels her back to the pressing rear-queuer behind… she protects that emptiness from the strabismic limping of these drones.
“Cashier number two please” intones the lady-bot.
Ellie approaches, the back of a ‘paying-in’ slip already defaced, the Blu-Tack pea readied in her right hand like a sling-shot, we know that eventually, she will palm-knead it onto the cashier’s window, but what has she written? Can you see?