Monday, February 4, 2013
You don't see it at first, in the shop of glinting surfaces.
You must go deeper into the store, among the mirrors and monstrances, under the riot of chandeliers, and even then you may miss it, distracted by multiplying reflections.
Oh, there it is. It may even stop your breath. What is the monkey doing here? It now has your full attention.
You remember the many times the appearance of a monkey has signaled: Watch out for monkey business. Of the time, in a fish restaurant on a lonely cove on the coast of Anatolia, you saw a monkey scampering across empty tables, and it heralded strange business indeed.
You are thinking of monkey business now because of an eerie and exciting dream. You are going to an assignation in a hotel that looks like a ship, down by the South Street Seaport in New York. You enter this place by walking a gangplank. You are greeted by a strange young woman in semi-Goth attire, her eyes black-ringed with mascara, her eyelashes spiking. Her eyes aren't normal. They look like beads. To your right is a marmoset in livery, with similar makeup and beads for eyes. The girl tells you the dressy monkey has been "fluttered"; they wanted him that way.
There is nothing ordinary about this hotel. A door from the lobby opens into an auto body shop. The door on the far side opens into a courtyard where a dozen women in long dark dresses and hats are working at old-fashioned sewing machines. Are they making clothes for a period ball, or a funeral?
You decide you'll avoid the assignation someone arranged for you, in this House of the Fluttered Marmoset. You make your excuses and leave, and wake knowing you made the right decision when you recognized that monkey sign.
I took the photos in a store in the Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt, the celebrated Paris Flea Market, in December. The dream was from last week, in Hawaii, and preceded some strange and shocking events.