Hired Chair by Fortunato Salazar
Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, January 17th, 2017
"The objective was to not call attention to himself..."
The first invitation led to the roulette invasion. These words echo in nightmare after nightmare. Luckily, the invasion was a success. Success—as is well known—does not preclude the ransacking of sleep. The Hired Chair accepted the invitation and was led into a waiting room.
Normally a waiting room is not a place to congratulate yourself, although the echo of congratulations sometimes is heard in waiting rooms, in passing. The Hired Chair was bouncing off the walls with excitement; I’m striving to capture, now, his interior turmoil. If only I had a folding chair and an aquarium. The Hired Chair is pretty handy with a folding chair, also, truth be told, he almost always would like the thermostat cracked open and a better number dialed up.
What is a folding chair? An internal scan lands on a popular, but personal, definition. Orienting outward, the Hired Chair brings into the viewfinder the obvious: life traces an arc, lucky fuckers, ammo, transparent vitality; plus the stuff you have to be sure is not just duping you: walking sticks, for example. Recreational vehicles, another example. Recreational vehicles in proximity to roulette. Ominously, the seats of many folding chairs are made from the same synthetic compound as the kitchen countertops inside many recreational vehicles.
A folding chair does not have its own ethics. Neither do folding chairs give ridiculous names to paid work. Some of the names of fails have been brilliantly imagined, some successes have gone by names the Hired Chair wouldn’t bestow upon an avenue. When the Hired Chair heard the name of the paid work, his elation dropped down a notch. But only a notch. He’d done enough paid work that his elation could afford to drop down a notch.
What he liked about the invasion aspect was its recklessness: in reviewing the notes, the Hired Chair had a feeling of being in conversation with himself. He could see that half of the planning was basically…incorrect…but in this kind of agreeable drama, half incorrect is a kind of satisfying poverty. The Hired Chair would first pose at the bar, then gently detach himself from the bar. The objective was to not call attention to himself until it was time to call attention to himself. The loving words of the notes at that point spelled out the terms of his employment.
A folding chair is an energy source. Often the energy source is incorrectly thought to be the perpetrator wielding the folding chair with precision. Sad misconceptions about folding chairs abound. A skilled wielder takes advantage of misconceptions. The Hired Chair also carries a step stool. Misconceptions about step stools are ubiquitous. A step stool is guaranteed to throw the balance of power out of kilter. The Hired Chair is fond of using both hands. The wheel goes round and round and eventually the ball drops into one of the numbered pockets. Have I mentioned that the Hired Chair’s expertise is not in weaponry? I know that and you know that.
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Header image courtesy of Harry Byrne. To view his photo essay, “Hued Scars,” go here.
Fortunato Salazar’s most recent fiction and translation appear at Tin House, PEN America, VICE, Washington Square Review, The Offing, The Brooklyn Rail and elsewhere.