They were starving in a luxury hotel in Madrid. They were starving to death. Below the window there was a brilliant purple geometry, a cafeteria lighted with a little bit of neon around the edges, where the young business people ate at some hour. She looked down on it, holding the several heavy curtains aside. The light was gray and water went up to the window like distant headlights. She returned to bed.

The friend left. The young business people carefully went home and then came out again. Music from cars. She hadn’t seen rain of this type for eight years; in Los Angeles it either rained or completely didn’t. In the day, probably early, she had walked among the smooth frigid pavements. A kiosk quietly held up the poster for a Bond movie. She bought thick tights at a Wolford shop and asked if she could put them on right away. The shopwoman didn’t understand what she was asking and when she tried to indicate the act of pulling on tights the shopwoman curved behind the counter and lifted a shopping bag so she went to the dressing enclave and put the tights on and left. She carried the paper shell inside which the tights had been curled until she passed a public trash can.

At night she walked out of the hotel and happened on a gourmet grocery, small and tall. Its doorway was painted red. In that respect it looked like a wooden puppet. She bought a can of capers and a baguette and slices of ham wrapped in wax and a bag of oranges and a jar of olives and two small bottles of wine. She went into the store again and said “Argento, argent,” and dug with her hand at the jar of olives until the grocer brought out a box of picnic forks. She paid for it and said Thank you and the grocer showed that the greatest thank you would be for her to leave.

At the hotel the friend was watching Blackadder on the television. Green heavy curtains. They realized they had nothing to open the wine with so they called the desk. They incised the bread with their thumbs and pressed the ham into it—the ham shrank and frilled like fabric sinking in water. When the lobbyboy arrived with a corkscrew they showed him the can of capers and he said he would come back. In the morning they watched Al Jazeera and applied almond oil to their midlengths and ends. They got the almond oil free from work. They pumped it onto their palms and met their hands over their hair at its middle and drew their hands down and repeated the process.

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