The Sweat of the Brow (xxxvii)

I wait two days before I tap Katie. I’m not quite sure why. To make it seem more natural? To make her twist? I don’t know. I take the time to prepare my report, working it out longhand and then committing it to sheet after sheet.

I see the words when I close my eyes: Talk your way into it. See who’s there. Hand me your report. The only data I was explicitly told to gather was a bushel of who. I decide therefore to focus on that in my report. I give the name of the event, its date and duration, its hosts and location, my time of come and go. That takes up a quarter of a page.

I list all the guests by the names that were on their table cards. In a separate column I give the table at which they were seated. In another, the time and order they arrived. In another, the time and order of their departure. I stop myself from listing whether they had the squab or the seitan.

I kick myself, then, and realize I didn’t take any deliberate pictures of the waitstaff. I go through my collection of stills. I have most of them captured, in one corner of the frame or another. I can’t be sure that I caught them all.

I’m sure that they were undergrads all. I bring up the school yearbook and set a simple recognition program to associate names and faces. It takes about ten seconds to complete. I write down every name it gives me. I make a note that I believe my roster of the guests is complete, but in my roster of the staff I am not so confident.

I realize that my information is only as reliable as its source. I note how I acquired the roster that I did. I then set up a simple script to check every captured face with its name-card. There are two discrepancies, based upon this algorithm. I make a note of both of them, and detail the nature of the algorithm too.

The two discrepancies are a Doctor and Mister Fezensac, who seem to be a rather different skin-tone than the people who sat behind their nameplates. A simple face-search suggests these people are the Dwight-James and Janes, both professors at Harvard. The Fezensacs I see are currently boating around Subic Bay. I guess that they forgot to cancel their tickets, and two Harvardites with a Thursday free decided to take their places.

It doesn’t matter. I was asked to see who was there, not to speculate. I sated my curiosity. If Katie is curious she can see to that herself.

There are a thousand other things I could remark upon. I don’t. This is what I was asked to do. This is all.

I’ve filled less than half of the melting pages. I wonder what I should do with those that remain. Destroy them? Keep them? Fold them into swans? I decide to return them to Katie. That way she will know just what befell them – and I don’t have to think about it.

I get to the point where there’s nothing left to overthink. And I put it out of my mind, and go for a drink.


~ by davekov on 27 March 2012.

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