15,000 Feet – Chapter VI

Finding refuge in the armchair/blanket, Linus’. Burying oneself from shame. With a leap the boy has already closed the front door. He’s on the first step. “The elevator is broken, there are five flights of stairs to climb… Is it a problem?” “No, of course not!”

What the fuck, Debby, you have just burned the last chance to flee. You could have said: “I sprained my ankle in the gym… Six floors, don’t know if I can make it… Say hi to Fefé.” It would have worked. What could he do? Carry you in his arms?
Debby observes the black Converses, the boy’s. They climb swiftly. Three steps at a time, he reaches the second floor.

Yes, pehaps he would have! Carry you in his arms. He could fail his mission… Take you to Fefé! If he didn’t, what would they all have said?

And meanwhile terror runs along the banister.

Still four flights to go, and then everyone will laugh their head off. When they hear about the helmet!

Second flight of stairs.

“Are you tired?” “No, why?” Debby can’t make it… Three steps at a time… She just can’t do it… I’m a third…. Of  his height!

Third flight of stairs.

He’s a perfect guide! The boy stops at each floor. And waits. Debby fakes she is tying her shoe… because she can’t keep up.

“What are you doing, tying them?”
How embarrasing! Again! Debby what’s with your head! You don’t tie Converses.

“No, it’s just that the shoe laces are too long…” Black Converses in front, blu Converses trudging behind. Another flight of stairs. Martyrdom is near! I can just see his mouth, widening and laughing… Fefè never controls himself! He will keep… Perhaps he’ll stop… Only for five minutes, then it comes back to him. And bursts out laughing again. Attracting everyone’s attention … on the mishap… again!

Another landing, the last one! Debby can’t keep from panting. “Hey… you are exhausted… My fault… I go too fast… I’ll stop!” A gasp and a puff. Debby is still trying to preserve some dignity. “No, it’s just that I overdid it today in the gym… I’m pooped!” Come on, Debby, only two more steps to go!

The boy holds out his hand.

No, not the hand! Think I’m an old bag? This guy really wants to humiliate me… Show him who you are!

Debby ignores the hand and runs up the last steps.

In defiance. The boy’s hand rotates. In front of Debby. Held out.

“Happy to meet you! Tsunami! No, I mean… Simone… But they call me Tsunami!”

Bad day! All he wanted to do was to introduce himself… Third faux-pas. Gees, but he’s really a geek! Who ever shakes hands any more? Absurd! And what, do you introduce yourself while you are climbing stairs?

Debby’s hand doesn’t move.

“I washed them. Before coming down… I mean, I wouldn’t want you to think… But you are right. Nowadays eveyone’s obsessed. By diseases I mean… I swear, you can rest easy!”

Dabby’s hand frozen in embarrassement. Another THMP in her thoughts. She rigidly holds it out, but can’t control her voice… which blurts out an acute… “Debby!” “Hush, we are on stairs, Fefè doesn’t want problems with the other tenants!”  “Okay…” whispers an exhausted Debby.

From all those steps and the embarrassing faux-pas. Black Converses and blue Converses brave together the last flight of stairs. Doorbell. A flurry inside Debby’s head: It’s over!   


this is my code 5VAP9GYXZRX4


15,000 Feet – Chapter V


Post, chain, lock. Buzzer. “Debby, open!” “Run… the nominations”  “Open!” “I did” “It’s closed!” “And now?” “It’s closed, closed, damn it, come down!” “Are you crazy? The nominations are on! I’ll come down as soon as they are over, and tell you all about them.” “Fuck, are you going to leave me here? Get someone to come down…”

“Who?” “Your brother… what do I know… somebody…”  “Okay, okay” “Hurry up!” Silence over the buzzer. Debby pushes the button again. The fortress is unconquerable.

An eternity of moments. Nervous steps, she huffs and throws the motorcycle helmet. Against the front door. Which suddenly opens in that precise moment. A boy stands in the middle of the doorway. Gets the full blow of the helmet! Falls backward… Hit in the stomach!

“Oh, shit!” Debby whispers, but would like to yell it. Curls topsy-turvy. They slowly regain their posture. On the guy’s head. “Did you get hurt? It’s that… this door wouldn’t open… Did I hurt you?”  “No… no… it’s just that I wasn’t expecting it…”  “Well, me neither… How would I know that you were opening the front door! I could think…” “Just think… I open the door and get a helmet in the stomac!” Which Debby tears from his hands. The boy gets up. Blue dumbfounded eyes stare at Debby. “I’m sorry… Don’t stare at me that way… I could die!” Blue eyes lowered. Suddenly. “But no, what are you saying… I’m getting used to it…” “What?” “Well, yes… It’s statistical for me: getting hit by girls!” and laughs. “I know it all the time, but I never really expect it!”

“I’ll fit in your statistics then….” Debby looks at the front door. “I’ll leave it open, so you can go out.”

“I was supposed to open, not to go out!” “Oh!”

Blood surging. To Debby’s cheeks.

Not only have I almost killed him… he’s one of the party!

Thought swirl with a THMP in Debby’s head, a bang in a comic strip. Silence. Blue eyes still stare at Debby. “Shall we go up to Fefé’s?” to a shaken Debby. “Yes.” Actually Debby wanted to say “no” and run away.

15,000 Feet – Chapter IV


Lights, drums, bass. A tam tam of hands, bass, and more lights. Red, slanted, white and purple. A boy on the stage. Screams, paper thin, incredibly tall, pierced nose. Braided bracelets. Of rubber and metal, on the thin left wrist.

The bass player is bald, massive, tattoed. The drum player is sweaty, altered, possessed. Giulia is in the maelstrom of the madding crowd.

Will I find room to survive? Cascades of music. The screams turn to silence. Only the cymbals vibrate… And the drums. The clapping gets faster, obsessive and excessive. Thousands of candles. For an arena in an adrenalin explosion. The drummer’s foot beats the last beat. On the tom-tom. The vocalist throws his black beret to the crowd. There… Purple hair! Mythical, brazen!

Hands, feet, heads and bodies scrambling over the beret. And all together!

Giulia stands aside, staring at the human magma. The music picks up again.

With louder screaming and faster rhythm. Dull! Each regains his own body.

That he had thrown in the throng over the beret. Pieces of bodies returned to their owners. They have “different stories.” Some a bruise, a scratch, somebody else’s sweat, somebody you had never met before. And that you’ll never meet again. Skin to skin, a handful of seconds.

The bass starts with a solo. The sound squeezes the stomach, glues you to the floor, hypnotizes you.

Giulia’s anxious eyes keep looking around for Luna…

Red t-shirt, short black hair. Over green eyes… Nothing… Red t-shirts alone, short black hair by itself… No combination… No Luna’s!

The music now fades out. The group says “THANKS!” and fakes a retreat.

Screams from the public. The vocalist’s feet turn around quickly. A leap. And the mike already! Then he makes an obscene gesture, following the ritual.

Clapping and delirium. The encore is mandatory. Everybody knows it. But a bit more praying, entreating, acclaim. He is there again, on the rear of the stage, backstage. Waiting.

Scream, scream, scream, clap your hands…. Come back!

Now he’s back!

Luna where the hell are you?

Her head is pounding and she can’t hear anything any more. Octopus of people falling over her…

To combat positions, the band in on the stage now. Ready to fend the air. Five

more minutes. Music, sound and rite. Waiting for the sacrifice. Ending, the public in delirium. Exhausted, dazed, he waves T-shirts. Over the last heart-beat.

Luna, where do I find you?

Anxiety in Giulia’s eyes. One hundred and eighty degrees, and all over the arena. Where folly twists features. Everyone’s face resembles everyone else.

Sweat and flush on drawn faces.

A girl behind Giulia hits her. Giulia falls forward. Unbalanced, she seeks her balance. And whirls around.

“Shit… Luna? Are you crazy? I almost had a stroke.” Luna laughs. “Can’t hear you… It’s the last piece. Let yourself go. It’s so cool!”  “Let’s go, it’s late!” Giulia’s irrepressible screams. Music gone wild. Drum solo. Luna is back in the throng. Jumps, wiggles and pushes. Happier than ever. Giulia is worn out.  She leans on a crush barrier protecting the wall. She is profoundly envious.

Please let me be a wall. For protection.


15,000 Feet – Chapter III

Debby’s moped runs wildly through the streets. She doesn’t know where to go,
nor whom to call. Giulia would say “No”. That’s for sure. But Debby waits. Before
calling. Because she is afraid of “No’s”. So categorical. And hostile! Better “let’s
see,” “let me think,” “I don’t know.”
She makes a right turn and reasons.
And if the mother doesn’t want you? Oh stop it… They know you are a friend. And what
would they care? You go to her room. Giulia’s. And in her bed. Her comfortable  bed will be
okay for two. Come on, Giulia won’t say “No”!
Via Ostiense. The moped double parks. Hand that plunges. A cell phone
emerges from the jacket. The display says five calls.
Fuck, mom… what a pain in the arse! You know… that I won’t answer… and won’t call
Phone numbers, number, enter. Rings.
Come on, Giulia, answer.
More rings. A light in Debby’s head. A beam of light. Now she remembers.
Giulia is at the concert! And here I am on the street… 9.40… Only twenty minutes to the
new nominations.
The cell phone rings.
It’s mom. Refuse the call! Balestra, Carmeli, Goretti… Debby’s head quickly runs
through the roll call at school. There must be someone, I can call. There’s Fefè. Of
course! And he has a big house. Invaded by friends. His brother’s. And his parents are
never home. It would really be rotten luck if he wasn’t home!
Cars dashing by. Close to Debby with her cell phone.
Come on Fefè!
Fefè’s hand on the cell phone. “Debby!” Music and noise overwhelming it. “Hi
Fefé, I wanted to ask you…” “Speak louder… Where are you? On the street?”
Debby doesn’t know what to say, caught unprepared. Quick, change subject!
“Shall I pass by? See the nominations together?” “Come on over! It’s a mess
here. My brother is having a party. He flunked chemistry again.”

“And he’s partying over it?! “That way he can put off the dissertation… He says
he’s doing because there’s no work! But where are you?”
“At Ostiense” “Gosh, hurry then! You’ll miss the nominations…” Debby hangs
up. The heck with tuna and tomatoes. Your mother’s mask of pretended serenity. Not to
worry you with problems, she says. Which she throws at you at the first fit.

15,000 Feet – Chapter II

A knife blade sliding quickly over bread. A spread of peanut butter. Debby’s eyes on the Tv. A perfect watch for the perfect love. End of the ad. Why doesn’t it ever happen in life? Thank god for reality shows! A mix of ads and real life. Alchemic formula of show and reality. That seems actually lived.
Round of sponsors spread over commonplaces. Pseudo-community of a “separate” reality.
Angela, flabbergasted, looks at her daughter. Who is watching Tv. “Mom, you don’t understand…” “That those are the heroes?” “Yes, shut and blocked inside a house! To face each other for months. Pitted against each other!” “For the toothpaste or for a piece of bread?”
“They have the courage to show themselves… As they really are! In front of the Tv of the entire world!”
Angela sighs. “Debby, dinner’s ready!” Debby’s blu Converses. Dropping to the floor from the armchair’s armrest. Debby grabs the dish. Tuna and tomatoes.Toast and peanut butter. Debby’s Converses regain the armrest.

A Provencal tablecloth, filtered water and organic veggies. Angela stares at the tablecloth.
Why don’t we ever have eat together?
“Tuna? Tuna again? You know I can’t stand it! Why don’t you make me a hamburger with lettuce and mayo? I don’t want any bread at supper… You know that!”
“You can’t eat meat all the time… And stop it with the story about no carbos in the evening!”
“I’m eighteen. Think I’m dumb? What a drag, ma!” End of the ad. Jingle. “Debby
I won’t let you…” “Shut up!”
Angela’s clogs. They close in. Threatening. Debby slouched in the armchair waits. Motherly rage! Now the show begins.
“Debby, I won’t let you… talk to me this way…” Angela’s hand on the zapper.
Turns the Tv off. “You think you can do as you please? Come to the dinner table!” Debbyin anger throws her dish on the floor. Squirts of tuna and tomato. The bread glues onto the floor. Debby is already at the door. “Come back, this isn’t a reality show!” Jeans jacket slung over her shoulders. And the backpack. Held tight in her hand. The clogs drag Angela to the door. “Who do you think you are?”
“A person!”
Door slamming. Quick Converses down the steps. Front door opening again.
Converses in free descent. Last steps. “Where are you going?” Angela’s voice resounds in the entire building.
Converses running… In the courtyard! The keys in the ignition. Fuel in the engine. The moped starts and Debby flies.
At the gate of the housing project is Angela.
The moped dashes off, it already turned the corner.
It’s the story of your life, Angela. Always a moment too late. Since you were born. After your twin sister. Or at Debby’s communion. When you get there, a moment too late. Trains, planes, ships. You missed them all. By a few moments.
Gust of wind. Angela’s tight overcoat and eyes fixed on a blade of moon.
Shy, between two buildings. Now, if it were a movie, there would be music.
Melacholic. With a long fade out. Tinged of sadness. Angela instead stayed put.
Didn’t fade out. She looks at the street and thinks. Of Debby, of what Debby is thinking.
There the man on the second floor. Seventy. Angela envies him. Wishes she were seventy!
“Good evening.” The retired tram driver smiling. “What are you doing here?”
What am I going to tell him? The truth?

“I needed an onion… I ran down… but then realized it’s late…” Smiles a bit, doesn’t know what to say….
“Come, I have an onion, actually, I have a lot of onions. She’s always buying them… You know, the cleaning lady! I don’t eat them… But how can I explain it to her… She’s from Ucraine!”
Angela climbs the steps behind him… and doesnìt even have the strenghth to thank him.