A call from the Head Office
Why was she here? Inta didn't know. When the head office had sent her to the biannual convention, they had offered no explanation, and had given no brief as to her endeavours. She turned to look out the window, and observed, with some surprise, that the moon was still up. Inta slid her feet into the slippers provided by Hotel Rio Grande do Sul, sauntered over to the desk next to the window, and contemplated the imprint she had found the night before, "hlor u fang axaxaxas mlo", and the scribble beneath, "upward, behind the onstreaming it mooned."
She picked up the paper and twisted it around between her fingers, when she came across a scribble on the flip side of the sheet as well. It looked like a poem:
Yellow moon, yellow moon peeping through my window
Movie director, wheelchaired, observing murder
Keep it cool, keep it real (for real)
Stay where you are, moon
Be a moon, moon
She jolted to the sound of the phone ringing.
"Hello, madam. Felix at the reception speaking. There's a call for you from the Head Office."
"Put it through," she said.
There was a crackling sound in her ear, a pause, and a deep, muscular voice, as if from far away, sighing as it uttered each word emphatically.
"Inta," it said. "You must make an appointment with the Master of the Mansion."
"You will receive further instructions." Dial tone. Felix: "I guess whoever it was hung up."
Inta put the receiver down, a felt as if she was falling. She was nineteen years old and she was falling from a skyscraper, passing windows where single mothers changed their babies' diapers, where whole families had their breakfasts, where old couples stared at her, pointing at her, because she was naked, her arms tied together behind her back, still falling, falling, young men inviting her to stay awhile, falling and falling, now gagged, her speech incomprehensible even to her own ears.
"Funny," she thought. "I'm falling from the skyscraper and I'm perfectly calm, as if for every floor I pass I get older."
Inta observed her image in a fractured window. Her face look wrinkled, her hair short, and her arms bruised. She had to get out, but first she had to get to the bottom.
A knock on the door.
"Are you all right in there? Madam? Are you all right?"
Inta opened the door.
"Oh, it's you Felix. Just had a nightmare."
Felix slipped her a note.
"You received this message this morning. Can I get you anything? Would you like some breakfast brought up to your room?"
"Thank you, Felix, that would be lovely."
She unfolded the note. It read: "Who told you it was all right to love me? Certainly not me. Midnight. By the town hall." Signed Mundt.