‘Recursion is the repeated application of a recursive procedure or definition. A recursion occurs when a thing is defined in terms of itself or of its type. The most common application of recursion is in mathematics and computer science, where a function being defined is applied within its own definition.’
…and I know this because I copied that and I spent the better part of the summer of nineteen demystifying the subject for myself and ten year old son, Rabbit. He is my only entouragist who I exert mind control over and he is usually found stumbling over every movement I make. He’s definitely the one (“1”) I most fuss about. Together we’ve both started to talk and think like expert students of mathematics.
It was a summer of soulful delight reminiscent of the 1966 sport documentary feature ‘The Endless Summer’ of which a remake is now in the works, although it was also nothing like it.
I was taught many times, over and over again, from elementary to grad school that I couldn’t define or explain a word by using that same word. Now I’ve learned that ‘Recursion’ is an exception to that rule. Just like sexting, every mathematician is doing it.
It was near the end of Rabbit and my ‘Recursion’ dissertation that I received a PayPal request from my agent, holidaying like a ‘Pasta Fazool’ in Positano, also checking up on his request from weeks ago if it was ok for him to manage my Reputation.
The ball dropped, but not for Rabbit who was returning to e-school as a ‘Recursion’ prodigy with the devotion of young love to his newfound passion project. Impressionable he is. My devotion to anything is based on the premise that there is an infinite sized fuck-it-bucket into which my assistant is constantly on command to pick up my shit and put it.
Rabbit and I are like a collar and cuff mismatch even more so because he thinks we’re cut from the same cloth. His mother and I did our utmost to conceive him so he may be right.
I prefer to see myself in Hampton, his older sister, a surprise that came sixteen joyful summers in the Hamptons plus nine months ago. Naming her Hampton was to draw attention away from the obvious by stating it, which is also a recursion. She is frivolous like litigation, energetic like a judge and counts favors like a godfather.
Other things should be as obvious if it were not for Dean Hachamovitch, an inventor on the patent for autocorrect. He clearly owes me a summer.
Since I know I’m the smartest guy in the room, because I always tell people that, I’ll state the obvious here too, ‘Recursion’ is the iconic dragon eating its tail. It’s like mistakenly questing for meaning from a mathematical concept where the answer equates to ending where you started.
Re-tasking Rabbit seems impossible now, my grip on him feels like an air hug, its lost like an AirPod and his adoration for me is complicated like an evacuation.
And so it went.
When you are famous and you’re standing behind a closed elevator door waiting for it to land you start to anticipate what lies ahead.
Amanda is cold and curved into me with her arms inside my coat. Her head is resting on my chest and her eyes are lost. I’m in a survival mode consciousnesses trying to manifest a soft landing and escape the reality of knowing what could occur.
Preferably we’ll arrive into one of those dream like sequences where the city has been abandoned or where we’re the lone survivors of an apocalyptic happening. An urgency to get us out of this place closes in as each floor chimes on the descent.
The elevator door slides open to an anticlimactic quiet mill of people too preoccupied to recognize our presence. An ineffective sun reflects and refracts around the atrium lobby.
Amanda lifts her hand to my chest to pause my exit as she first appraises the landscape and then takes my hand and leads me to our escape with the tenacity of hope for our continued anonymity.
My glance up is caught by the eyes of a boy in a wheelchair, a smile of recognition for me on his face escaping his evidently compromised health. Amanda instantly notices the connection so she repurposes, holds a smile and pulls me toward the boy.
Amanda, “Come on Handsome, we’re doing this.”
Hamish, “It’s so good to see you.” My gift of familiarity to the boy widens his smile further and brightens what were sad eyes over grey shadows of anemia, “What’s your name?” I continue to maintain eye contact and I’m careful not to touch him and invade his weakened immune system.
I’ve visited fans in cancer hospitals enough times to know how to be delicate, ignore the obvious and provide momentary escapism.
The boy’s mother navigates into her phone and disregards Amanda in an expectation of a photo of us together. Even though I was about to suggest the same, I prefer to initiate these interactions and dislike being obliged to react. It’s much more meaningful when it’s my prerogative.
With even less delicacy, the boy’s mother enquires, “I hope you’re just visiting here?“
Amanda realizes that I may not have the words so she answers with a precarious and caring smile, ”We just visited with one of the wards.” I continue, “A pre-Thanksgiving visit. Have a happy thanksgiving and be strong little man.”
Now we’ve induced a mob of recognition. I struggle to look away from Amanda while the group waits impatiently for each a turn to take a picture with me. A firm grip of hand on my arm disengages me from an autopilot of ‘fan mode’ and when my driver reconnects me with Amanda, I realize I lost the last few minutes and have no recollection of the encounters.
A New York Police Department officer stands guarding the car our driver was forced to vacate. I “two-hand” shake the officer’s gloved hand and motion to the driver to take his seat for our fastest evacuation. I open the back passenger door, step ahead and slide in to allow Amanda an easier drop into the car. Amanda and I huddled on the cold leather are small on the wide seat of the black SUV. As the driver speeds off, I accelerate to supersonic.
I’ve projected myself into the cockpit of ‘Firefox’, my latest movie, a 2019 action/techno-thriller-heist about a futuristic hypersonic jet’s desperate race to escape Russian airspace and evade all countermeasures.
A black fighter jet with two red-starred tail fins drops from the infinity of pristine sky into a valley that is suffering the brutality of an arctic winter. Like a predator, the jet imposes a menacing presence on the cold landscape. ‘Firefox’ rolls into the wide bend of a meandering valley pulling an avalanche of snow in its wake. Through the visor of my ink-blue geometric flight helmet my concentrated eyes bounce as my altitude adjusts abruptly to an air pocket. Rocks cracking out of snow covered peaks and stripped black conifers reflect at time-travel speed. A regulator feeds me pure adrenalin. An eye-blink coincides with my activation of a thought-controlled Heads-Up-Display.
I zoom into a Southampton summer beach landscape while pulling the thrust back sharply and immediately to a float.
My Hamptons house is a presence on the beach, a glass and steel structure fronting a lap pool and grass penetrating bulging sand dunes topped with Atlantic sized surf. The house also politely backs a pebble drive broken by islands of manicured wild suffering lavender, grasses and perennials and guarded in the rear by Maple, Oak, Beech, & Partners.
The random fall of the blockout shades in my bedroom guides the morning sun onto the wall besides my bed like an old cinema reel flickering white before the countdown leader appears.
“Here comes the sun little darling” lyrics from a Nina Simone remaster now plays in a continuous loop in my head as I get up, widen the shades and conduct the solar energy.
My feet are heavy on the drop of each step descending the wooden stairs cantilevered by steel cables.
I’m in character wearing Saint Jacques white rimmed french azure blue 4D boardshorts and Wayfarer shields. A baby blue toweling robe, an ode to the onesie from ‘Goldfinger’, which I tried to remake but failed, keeps my shoulders covered in the conditioned home and camouflages baby fat, making me appear more handsome.
‘The Endless Summer’ movie originated the life-quester. It documented the inception of transcontinental travel enabling seekers to zigzag between hemispheres chasing an eternal summer and was the foundation for mainstreaming destinations like Hawaii, South Africa, Australia and Tahiti. All places I never want to visit. A cool new breed of Knights Templar dedicated and naked defined a new Holy Grail, “The Perfect Wave”.
I’ve tasked Rabbit to help me prepare for a remake over the summer. Rabbit is to be my sidekick, my unpaid intern and my muse, preparing for the role by adopting and maintaining a diet of instant noodles and rice bowls with avocado and sesame seeds.
Although hardly anyone agrees, these wave-chasers epitomize me.
It doesn’t matter what most people think when only a few hold the power. I proved to be the bankable end of unconventional wisdom, formula disruption and Hollywood corporate dysfunction. The superhero action-figure version of Hamish Westfield was in the stores before the trailer for my first movie was released. I reincarnated stories that no one cared about and I’ve played so diversified, I killed any concept of ‘type’.
Alexa is prepared for me sitting legs business-crossed at the kitchen bar drinking a green swampy froth. She is assistantly beautiful, British and proper and like Mother Nature, omnipotent over our ecosystem, turning the seasons, popping the seeds and pollinating each flower.
Alexa: “We leave at 4, The Studio asks if we can give them any notes on ‘The Endless Summer’ project, Rabbit ate breakfast already, Is there anything I can make for you?” motioning toward a cooler on the kitchen table.
Seeing the cooler, I’m theatrically frustrated.
Hamish, “She’s in the city already?”
Alexa doesn’t bother to respond.
I frisbee throw my Ray Bans off and squeeze my eyes like Henry Fonda in dry western desert as I look out to Rabbit kneeling over his surfboard outside scaped by sand dunes.
Turning away from Alexa, I’m now immersed in my Magic Leap Augmented Reality glasses. Alexa watches and waits for me while I navigate to watch business and headline news with my hands now waving like I’m in a bunny fight.
I wing my Magic Leap glasses to a long slide on the white granite and re-dock the Wayfarers.
The cooler is the result of a too simple “ask”. What I had intended to be an imposition turned out to be unimposing and then unceremoniously discarded not delivered to me. It contains ‘Russ & Daughters’ smoked salmon and bagels to the exact, precise and finicky specifications I requested Amanda yesterday.
I concede to a plate prepared and handed to me by Alexa.
I shark swim around the kitchen island finding an AirPod box, I flip it open to find 1 AirPod.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, Call Hampton.”
Hampton is diagonally out of my sight, silent behind a glass wall lying with one leg straight and another knee bent on a chaise lounge outside her bedroom. The sun shines through the triangle of her legs and reflects off a mirror disturbingly onto my face like a Death Star laser beam. My call ring is unique, Prokofiev’s ‘Peter & the Wolf’. She doesn’t accept the call.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Amanda.”
Her sweet voice, which I resent because it belies a more complicated and tenacious version of her, asks me to leave a message.
“Hey baby, you’re in the city again today? There’s a book-set, ‘The Endless Summer’, it’s numbered and autographed. I need one. It may be a little tricky to get. Please find me one. The studio is on my back for this. Please. I love you.”
A monochrome photo of a naked nymphatic Amanda running full-stride into the surf hugging a board at her side has defined Montauk for a generation. Like Hampton’s own Mona Lisa, she was both poster child for sex-on-the-beach and ‘open-source’ entry to a secret Hamptons beach clique or an innocent, exploited like a mermaid on a coffee cup. No one knows, including me, which one she is.
She was the inadvertent original influencer for the one hundred mile lateral flow of Pseuds from Manhattan to the ‘End of the World” on Long Island’s far south shore.
Her picture recently rode a re-surging wave of popularity following a New York Magazine cover story and then started appearing randomly around the county like an old west wanted poster. In one of the few instances that still remain today, like a postage stamp on a wide banner on the Montauk Highway for my new movie, a remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1982 action/techno-thriller ‘Firefox’.
By the end of our first summer we had made vows and at Thanksgiving I incredulously watched her intentional spill of red wine over her parents white table cloth. With the attention of the room, she announced, “We made a baby, we’re going to call her Hampton.”
On the diagonal, Hampton stands and throws her towel off her shoulder and it falls in perfect symmetry to the chair. She strides toward the house, her feet scooping up a pair of slides. She breezes past Rabbit, turning her head toward him, “Later kiddo”. Her head tilted toward him protects her hair from a wind gust that blows open the sheer privacy curtain at the patio door, from which a black one-piece swim-suit figure of her emerges. She continues through the kitchen, all the while typing into her phone.
As she reaches the front door, she slides her left arm through the sleeve of a hanging white dress, turns toward me, “Later Daddy, Love You Daddy”. She pirouettes glancing toward Alexa across her shoulder. They lock eyes for a mili-second while her right arm turns into the right sleeve of her wrap dress. The belt seems to tie itself.
As she steps out to the front door, a black SUV engine roars speeding up to meet her last step precisely, growling to a stop with an impression on the bluestone pebbles.
I turn to Alexa, checking whether she was observing the ballet, Hampton’s somehow choreographed entry and exit to where-ever she is going. When I look back toward Hampton, the SUV is turning out of sight.
Hamish, “WTF is with her timing?”
Alexa sticks her tongue out of the side of her mouth and she winks.
Hamish, “Now I’m at my maximum of WTFs today.”
My phone vibrates and I unholster it from my pocket like Fonda in the 1968 epic Spaghetti Western, ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’.
A PayPal message from Zev.
Zev is my agent. He’s Boston Irish Catholic and symptomatic of probable childhood abuse. He’s loyal like diabetes, doggedly handsome and diligent like credit. I call him Gay Donovan because he has exaggerated enthusiasm for the mundane, his optimistic like a Saudi oil prospector and he’s married to another man.
A PayPal request for $52,000 and a message.
“Re:expenses and BTW I’ll manage everything to do with your recursion.”
With some contemplation of his message I approve his payment request and re-holster my phone to my robe pocket.
I turn to look for Rabbit, he’s concentrated, waxing a long board by the pool. Thats where I go.
Rabbit drops his Sex Wax and rises looking up to me, his chin on my torso around which he wraps his arms. He’s adoring.
Rabbit, “Dad, did you know that Bruce Brown never had formal training in filmmaking. The budget for ‘The Endless Summer’ was $50,000 and it made $20 million worldwide after its release in 1966”.
Hamish, “Of course I knew that Rabbit. You said Bruce Brown, right?” Making a mental note to look him up later in my box set.
Rabbit is the perfect protagonist for a seminal surf movie. His anime features, freckled nose, sun-kissed shoulders with perfectly dosed enthusiasm, the sum of which he won’t ever comprehend nor use to play an advantage.
Amanda wanted to make another baby as much as she wanted to have another baby. Five summers after our first, we made our baby and we made sure we made our baby. Calling him Rabbit was also a recursion.
Five Thanksgivings after our first, I sat across the long festive table, catching Amanda dismiss a wine glass. She saw me catch that moment and she smiled, I smiled and she announced to the room, “We’re having a baby boy, we’re going to call him Rabbit.”
From the kitchen inside through the shear privacy curtain, Rabbit’s attention to detail had appeared amateurish, like a ten year old race car driver over revving second gear, cutting the edges and missing a throttle down.
His back to the sun and face to the wind, he waxed the board like a baby draws with crayons. His hair blown back like seventies ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and his shoulders burning from the sun which cut through him diagonally from across the dunes and into the open space of the house.
Hamish, “Rabbit, facing the low sun over the waves with the wind at your back will give you a front combed forward hairstyle of the time appropriate sixties and your face will stand out from the shade. By the way, this offshore wind stirs up the waves to their maximum potential and that is where your attention should be focused. Surfing priorities require a chilled attention to board wax detail almost one hundred percent less than your effort.”
Rabbit, “Face to the sun, wind to my back, stoked for the waves today. I’m psyched but also chilled?”
I contemplate his simplistic eloquence and his lingo for a moment and then confirm, “Tick, Tick, Tick” with corresponding “tick mark” hand gestures.
Rabbit is appropriately enthused by my corrective measures which now continue to include directing him on the minute detail of a one arm board hug to ambling down from the sand dune to the shore line so he can recon the surf and map its break points.
I follow five feet behind Rabbit, for the perfect aperture and distance to ensure for his portrait view against a grainy backdrop. He turns to me and smiles when he readjusts the board hug as it slowly slips from his fingers.
Following my directions, his amble turns more determined as he pushes off on his board under breaking foam and then breaching through the glassy crest.
I sit on the slope of sand falling steeply into the shoreline, sweat falling to my eyes paints a filter of pink sky, yellow sun, orange sand and a dark silhouette of Rabbit sitting on his board. “A Hamish Westfield Production” banner scrolls up from beneath the water.
As I clear my eyes, the Atlantic blue in high definition is an even more impressive shot. In the foreground Rabbit is paddling and aiming down the transparent front of an oversized ripple. He stands to ride and I turn back to the house, the perfect point to enjoy our achievement and before any chance of seeing him fall.
I nudge my robe from my shoulders and it falls from my straightened arms as I slump into the pool, lying like a dead grandfather in the water. Moments later I awake standing chest high in the water and searching for the pocket of my robe. I take the phone out the pocket swiping the drip from its glass on the robe and thumbing open PayPal to read Zev’s message “…your recursion.”
A teenage girl awkwardly climbs over a fence from her backyard, a forest of Maple, Beach and Oak onto a tarmac parking in the disorganized alley behind a bake shop. As she walks toward the entrance with duck feet elegance, she notices the Montauk Girl’s poster pinned to a community notice board. She carefully unpins the poster, swaddles and places it into her tote bag.
She quickens her waddle when she sees Hampton already seated with two other similarly precocious girls. She bunches herself with the other two girls, upsetting the balance of the table, the three of them facing Hampton. She covertly takes the poster out the tote using it to tap Hampton’s knee. Hampton takes the poster with her left hand and crosses it on the chair behind her and lifts her right hand to the left wing of her cat-like sunglasses to disarm herself for as brief a moment as is needed to make eye contact, tilt her head in act of genuity and thank her awkward friend for the delivery.
Hampton’s backdrop is a flower bed, vines and the quaint signage of the bake shop. Her straight black hair with manicured bangs, red velvet mouth, white dress with wide open collar covers a high-neck black swimsuit, the type an Olympic swimmer would wear. Her resort bag is embroidered with “Amanda Westfield”. She is a stellar opposite to her three friends with graphic tees, basketball shorts and well worn sandals, their backdrop being a busy pathway of fat crying children in one lane anticipating and in another being dragged away from an oasis of chocolate cake.
Hampton convened their sit-down with a group message half an hour before. She commands them with a patience that will instantly expire when she has concluded their business.
The trio are clear on Hampton’s ‘ask’. Hampton will surgically cut into their collective price.
“Weekday access for Montauk Beach Club expires before sunset each day. That’s week and day only. Valid until August Thirty”.
Hampton’s patience is limit up and she’s barely able to sit through the torturous and anticipated seconds of the girls feigning serious consideration of the offer before bursting with unison into excited acceptance which is also intended to signify their win over Hampton.
Hampton’s plate is clean except for a fork through the middle of the last bite of a black cake with white frosting. She stands, taking the rolled poster in her hand gesturing it like a magic wand to her friend. As she strides toward the sidewalk, she sings quietly to herself, purposely allowing the girls to hear “They should have asked for VIP”.
At some point over the next weeks the girls become self-aware, without admitting it to each other, that they have been corralled into a corner of the Hamptons that most avoid. Furthermore, unlike the beach, the beach club has rules, August 30 is days before Labor day and sunset in the Hamptons is sacrament.
The hostess holds up a check which Hampton simply ticks while evacuating to the sidewalk where a black SUV makes a hard stop.
Alexa walks out to the pool. A cloud slides across the sky shading her from the afternoon heat. A breeze washes through the space onto the beach and curls a wave which Rabbit threads.
Alexa, “Hamish, let’s go.”
My hair, wet from the pool, is washed back and a contrast to how I staged Rabbit. An ink-navy suit with an open neck shirt transforms me into the epitome of a movie star. This version of me also helps to mask my eccentricities which I have spent years of privilege cultivating.
Rabbit is eating from a bowl next to the pool, his back to the helicopter which is splashing water and blowing my hair even firmer back. He’s disinterested or oblivious to the air thrust and the enormity of the wild noisy machine on a usual tranquil beach, until I put one foot on the stair and in synchronization I look toward him, he turns to look at me, we wave to each other and we return to our process.
Alexa is right behind me, waiting for me to sit then crowning me with a pair of headphones and tightening my seat belt before she chooses a seat facing me.
Alexa’s sticks her tongue out of the side of her mouth and she winks.
I’m unmoved looking at Alexa and lost in serious consideration for the pathology of her tongue-wink thing, which merely acts to clear my thoughts like a zen-master mind trick.
“Amanda will meet us there?” I ask and before Alexa can answer my phone vibrates with a PayPal request. Hampton Westfield Requests $400. I confirm the payment on the way to reading Zev’s message again. “… your recursion.”
The helicopter ejects us from the cross section of the house to looking up over the horizon and then bulls a line directly to Manhattan with the trees merging underneath us like a neon green race track. Before we shot off, I watched Rabbit eating from his bowl and Hampton’s black car chess move down the drive to our house.
Although most people find it comic, the skyscraper sized banner of my steel faced Time Square ‘Firefox’ movie poster epitomizes me.
Alexa sherps me over the red carpet, directly to my first press.
“Hamish, congratulations on your third Clint Eastwood remake, following the mega success of ‘Every Which Way but Loose’ and ‘Any Which Way You Can’.”
I’m at my best on the red carpet, an eloquent and handsome Hollywood player.
Alexa believes that I’m equally aware of my eccentricities and unaware of their sometimes ludicrous extent.
I monologue how an unlikely common-man hero and his chimpanzee sidekick was a genius pairing that was certain to engage and connect universally with audiences. I explain that I did not intend to follow that with a remake of another Clint Eastwood film but that I independently developed the ‘Firefox’ story myself before the studio became concerned with a possible copyright infringement and decided to call it a reboot.
To my next interview, I story how I initially intended to remake ‘Top Gun’, the 1986 action drama film but Tom Cruise and I had conflicted as to who would play ‘Maverick’. After Tom refused to act the part of ‘Goose’, which I had re-imagined specifically for him in the redo, I decided to develop ‘Firefox’, a story of a lone fighter pilot.
A wave of disinterest pauses me. Turning to Alexa, with an unbroken pose, I’m at pains to ask her if Amanda is going to be here.
Alexa squeezes my hand and whispers to me, “Just one more interview, we don’t have to stay for the show.”
I loop my arm with Alexa’s and tow her with me. I see both friendly fire and an easy target. A talk show intern. This one is the President of Inappropriate, “currently having a break” and has a hyper-speed metabolism.
Hamish, “Watch I’ll turn him around himself.”
Intern calls out, “Hamish, good to see you, great job on Firefox”.
Hamish, “How do you know? This is the premiere and by the way, it’s Mr Westfield.”
Intern is suitably turned. I disarm him with a smile, a thank you pose of two hands slowly clapped together and a reach to his shoulder. Positive body language 101. Now, I’m sincere “Tell your boss to PayPal me sometime.”
With the least amount of lip movement Alexa tells me that we can fly.
I’m tranced. As my head rests against the window of the helicopter I’m staring out from the side of my eyes to the darkness of the Long Island forest broken by the lights of houses with driveways of cars and pool-side parties.
In the reflection I see Alexa’s lips moving but I don’t hear her words.
As we land, my eyes open from an almost conscious sleep. The type of sleep where you’re still directing your dreams. A sleep induced by the hypnotic turn and chop of the helicopter blades.
Walking back to the house I leave Alexa behind feeling unappreciated. The white shear curtains of the patio door are billowing erratically from the wind. Hampton is a shadow against a halo of light from her bedroom, standing by the window and guarding my return. She claps her hands and we lose her to the night.
In the carry of wind I recognize Amanda’s perfume. I turn to see Alexa following steps behind me. I stick my tongue out of the side of my mouth and wink. She smiles with a warmth that envelopes us both.
An anime version of me running across a city square morphs into a fantastical Japanese dragon. The Ryū catches up to its own tail which it bites as paparazzi chained behind the sides of the square start to flash.
I open my eyes from the dream as Amanda shades a moon beam illuminating the bed on her way to join me.
She floats into bed, curls up to me and wraps my arm around her body, shaping herself to my most comfortable contour, moderating my temperature, feeding me oxygen and nurturing my body mass.
She whispers, “I kiss you, I love, you, I’m so proud of you, I told you how sorry I am that I wouldn’t be able to be there for you.”
Amanda and I are standing in the stillness of a cobbled sea of stones on a wide street in SoHo, New York. Store front windows reflect us against a sharp sky. Arctic white clouds perpetually stream from window to window like a ticker tape to two vanishing points up the linear plane of the street.
Amanda is wrapped in a cashmere cardigan tied into her waist. Each time we kiss another one of her appears. There is now a scattering of Amanda’s around us, each lucid, polite and smiling to each other.
Amanda turns my cheek away from looking around at them to looking into her and then she snaps her fingers and they all disappear. When I try to kiss her again, her hand lifts to my chest to pause me. Her eyes tell me not to do that trick again.
As I am thinking that I’ll decide which trick I’ll do, her arms reach around my neck, she tilts her head and she pulls me to her kiss.
I woke left thinking how her tricks are so much better than mine.
Waking to the beautiful light of the morning is disappointing knowing that Amanda is already up and has opened the sun-block curtains on her way out.
My feet are heavier on the drop of each step descending. I’m wearing an ‘Orlebar Brown Moonraker’ board short, an inspiration for a script I’ve been thinking about, a baby blue robe and my Wayfarers.
On the patio outside I see Hampton sitting cross-legged with her right leg in front, her right foot on the outside of her left thigh with the right knee up and right sole flat on the floor. Her left foot is to the outside of her right buttock with the outside of the left foot on the floor. A ‘don’t-try-this-at-home pose’.
Her upper body has broken pose to look at her phone. I imagine her tracking a package but in reality its probably something more frivolous.
Rabbit is by the pool, his hair blown forward over his face from a fierce morning wind that also rips up the ocean like a sliced cabbage salad.
I turn to look at Hampton and her hair is untouched by any forces of nature except a gravitational force equal to one sixth of ours.
Back to Rabbit and I notice a temporary pastel colored surfboard tattoo on his shoulder. My eyes re-filter into a pink sky, yellow sun, orange backdrop and then quickly refocus to the package on the kitchen table.
‘The Endless Summer 50th Anniversary Numbered Book & Box Set’ signed by Bruce Brown is a black box with the iconic illustration of a pink sky, yellow sun, orange beach with silhouette of surfers balancing their boards on their heads. I realize that I’ll have to re-instruct Rabbit on his one arm board hug which due to the size of the board he had struggled to maintain anyway.
My AirPod box is resting on the box-set symmetrically placed near the top right corner at equal distances to each side of the square.
I flip it open and find 1 AirPod.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Hampton.”
She is now deep in a sacred pose and doesn’t answer my call although I feel her eyes glance toward the silent ring of the phone next to her.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Amanda.”
Before the voice mail prompt becomes effective, I miss the mark. The initial syllables of my message are edited from the final cut of the recording, “…I guess you’re in the city today, I need a ‘White and Black James Perse Grateful Dead’ surfboard. It’s important, please, they could have one in the Greenwich Village Store, it’s twenty two hundred dollars, actually its for Rabbit. Please can you try pick it up for me. Thanks, love you baby.”
The surfboard is not meant to be a complicated ‘get’. It’s more like a passive aggressive move to punish Amanda’s time and exact her attention toward me and away from whatever takes her from us.
Hampton emerges through the shades. She’s wearing black yoga pants with a white lightening bolt on one calf, a simple yoga sports bra with an embroidered pastel surfboard pin and a silver Tiffany’s wrist cuff. I remember presenting the jewelry to her mother when it was an extravagance. I’m thinking that Amanda gave it to Hampton more recently in return for a red thread that she had tied to her wrist.
I imagine that the surfboard pin came packaged with Rabbit’s temporary tattoo. I wonder which one of them ordered it and I’m comforted by the vision of the siblings sharing the pieces.
Hampton walks silently as her ballet wrap flats mold to the wood floor.
“Hi Daddy, Love you Daddy, Bye Daddy”, turning to meet my eye and then holding a kiss pout long enough for me to respond at which point she activates a lip smack and then refaces toward the exit. I realize that Hampton is either static or exiting.
Confused that she could be going anywhere dressed as a Neo-Yogi, she pauses by the front door standing eclipsed by a skirt ready to be lifted to her waist.
She blacks out her phone, bends her knees and pulls up her skirt which turns out to be a long shear ballet wrap. She steps out to the doorstep to meet a black car like the arc of an astronautical drawing of the shortest line between the Earth and a moon landing.
Alexa was there to watch Hampton’s flyby and I look at her to try illicit a ‘tongue-out-mouth-wink’ pose. Alexa smiles causing me to smile too but feeling that it’s probably too obvious, I turn looking out-toward Rabbit, also partly to prevent a moment, a synchronization of emotion between Alexa and me.
Outside, Rabbit hugs my waist. I pat his head like a lord accepting favor.
I sit Rabbit down for a quiet discussion toward an artistic freedom that I’m trying to develop for him.
Hamish, “Rabbit, I want you to pause by the shoreline and rest the surfboard on your head with your right arm holding the side of the board and let your left arm hang to the extent that your pectoral muscles have been worked up by years of paddling out to the break”, positioning him and patting his torso to coincide with how I want his muscles flexed.
Rabbit, “Ok daddy. I can dig that. How about, you know, my surfing?”
Hamish, “I can dig that. I like that dialogue. We’ll eventually use pros for the surfing shots so just have fun for now. Nothing too fancy or too athletic. Remember, just arriving on this beach and riding a wave is your win over the establishment. Your holy grail. Competitiveness, aggression and sponsorship came later.”
Rabbit, “Man and the wave not man versus the wave?”
Rabbit causes me into a contemplation of his words. Moments later unable to find an exit from the confusion of how I will use his concept, his artistic fuel, I break out with a strong affectionate grab of his body telling him “Yeah right!”
As Rabbit reaches the beach, the scene goes awry as a pack of beach-rats fan around him. Rabbit is a magnet. The picture corrects itself as a life-guard approaches him sending them scattering away. Another Poster-Child local, this one in a full-body red swimsuit, war sign sun lotion under her eyes and striped down her nose. She kneels in front of Rabbit and pushes his front-forward blown hair back and kisses his cheek like an obsessed mother.
With a deep look into his eyes she holds his shoulders at arms length, “Let’s surf Dude.”
Rabbit and her scream into a surf that is choppy and incongruous with the harmony of land, sea and sky portrait I’m painting.
A PayPal request from Hampton for $2500 buzzes me which I approve urgently on the way to reading Zev’s message again. “… your recursion.”
I turn to look up to the house, zooming onto a wide window that intermediates my office from the beach as I consider more important matters then Rabbit’s off script improvisation with Poster-Child.
Hampton’s car arrives at the gate to Longhouse Reserve sculpture garden while her two friends are running around each other in a game of over-age ‘tag’. The girls pull themselves together in expectation of Hampton’s arrival. Girl 1 twists her hand to touch her friend’s hand and quietly declares, “no tag backs”. Girl 2 frustrates into a smiling scoff.
The black car curves into the drive and immediately charges away re-aligning itself three ‘clicks’ from both a car in front and a car behind it in the road. The girl’s turn to each other causes them to miss Hampton already just a few feet away with the illusion of her arriving by teleportation.
Hampton eases them down from their anticipation with a stretched out, ”Hi”.
Girl 1,” Hey you, I think it’s closed.” Girls 2 interrupts her, “The sign on the gate says the hours are 1pm to 5pm.”
Hampton delivering her surprise version smile, “It’s not closed for members. You are now members”. Hampton uses an effortless plural ‘you’ to speak to both girls. Now in a more ambivalent manner, she adds, “It also extends to your families.”
Girl 2 “Thanks! I was here once before. It’s such a fun place.” Trying to figure out whether she is suspicious of Hampton, she continues, “For what do we owe this surprise?”
Hampton knows the questions before they come. Her answer catches the end of her friends words, “I felt like being here today and I wanted some company, so really, you’re doing me the favor.”
The Girls’ short moment of realizing that they are in Hampton’s favor for once or at least in a momentary state of “bone fides’, reverses quickly.
Hampton, “Plus haven’t you ever heard of ‘pay-it-forward’. Overpay your accounts. Don’t be in debt?”
The Girls are turned into a circular thought of whether there is a ‘quid pro quo’ hanging over them or not.
Hampton, “Come on girls, let’s stroll.”
Hampton leads the girls around not intending for them to see everything on their first visit.
She steps ahead of them into an all-white chessboard with all-white chess pieces as the girls shy from its reflective heat.
Hampton’s phone chimes with an inward email causing her to call it a day, “Hey, listen, I’m teaching yoga on the beach tomorrow. My first lesson. A walk-up thing. I need to do some preparation. I’m going to go now, ok?”, opening her arms to walk both girls in for a three-way hug she whispers, “no tag backs”, pats each of them on their bums and sprints away. From a distance down the garden, she turns and calls out, “I guess I’ll see you when I see you.”
Girl 1 “Let’s surprise her at the yoga-beach thing tomorrow?” Girl 2, possibly being the more astute one, catches her friend’s last word, “I’m not sure we’re going to surprise her.”
My desk lies perpendicular to the window so that I can look both out to the dunes and into the house through to the lavender islands on the drive. It is wide enough for two workstations, one on either side. My side allows me to look up at a family portrait, the bottom frame of which is aligned horizontally to the top of my twenty seven inch ‘iMac Pro’. The opposite workstation looks up to a thin wall console behind me with one award on each level. In total there are five awards. A black surfboard, a most prized anniversary gift from Amanda, exposes three sharp thruster fins as it stands against the corner of the room behind the door.
Along the extent of the window from each wall is a bamboo wood planter, a trough, half stacked with newspapers and magazines.
A sofa runs parallel to my desk like a T-Rex T-bone against the window. Large Ottomans are an obstacle and an ink-navy wood panelling backs a television. Framed photos fill the opposite wallpaper. Faux Grizzly Bear type fur rugs warm the wood floor.
I awake the monitor by gearing the mouse forward and it opens to a news portal’s headline, “Hamish Westfield…”. As I type ‘Recursion’ into the address bar the screen whitens and goes into hold position disappearing the unread headline like a ‘format drive’ command written by a hacker geek.
Google displays: Recursion (adjective: recursive) occurs when a thing is defined in terms of itself or of its type. Recursion is used in a variety of disciplines ranging from linguistics to logic.
I imagine an astronaut stumped by a flashing light.
Alexa sits on the chair opposite me dropping a stack on the desk. She flips open her paper thin aluminum ‘MacBook Air’ and corrects the screen angle by curling her fingers over the top. Her pastel pink painted nails match her lips, earrings, belt and shoes.
Alexa, “Package 1”, smiling at Hamish.
Package 1 is code for Big Box-Office & bad press. Package 2 is code for a weak Box-Office but award worthy reviews. Package 3 is a slayed dragon and represents significant Box-Office and critical acclaim.
Slowly Alexa lectures me that ‘Firefox’ is on a trajectory for multi-hundreds of millions of dollars in the global box office and she quickens her mouth to say that the press think that I’m insane.
Although mortified, I’m slow and precise, “Why do you think that ‘they’ think I’m insane?”
Alexa knows exactly which newspaper fold to pull from the middle like a ‘Jenga’ move that leaves the rest of the tower of paper in place. Correcting the orientation for herself, she turns it to face me.
The New York Times Arts section clearly asks if Hamish Westfield is sane.
Hamish, “The fuck-it-bucket”.
Alexa spins the paper with the fold facing forward to ensure for the least drag on its flight into the trough.
Alexa, “Still, you could read it sometime. It’s more good than bad. They’re still in awe of you, adore you, everyone does.” She stands up carrying the remaining tower, walks toward the trough and waits for my approval.
She drops her load allowing them to fall neatly, folded and stacked into the trough.
Alexa reaches over to the console behind me picking up an award trophy which being British she’s conditioned to rugby pass into the fuck-it-bucket. I stop her, “No, not that one”.
Alexa sticks her tongue out of the side of her mouth and winks. “You have that call now,” she sings.
I send Zev a $5000 PayPal payment with a message. “Cruise, now??”
Zev instantly accepts the payment with a responding “Thank you. He’s annoyed with you. You left him hanging on ‘Top Gun’. He’s going to discuss the ‘Rain Man’ remake but he has no intention to do it. He has signed to make a live action version of ‘Monsters Inc’. He is currently casting Sully. This is why you pay me.”
I send Zev another $5000 PayPal payment with a simple command. “Get me Sully”.
Zev declines payment “You just said my S&M safe word. We’re not going forward on this one, it’s a point of return, it will not happen. I actually tried.”
Feeling dirty, curious & motivated I motion Alexa toward my Magic Leap glasses, telling her that I’m going to get ‘Sully’ now.
As I snow patrol the Magic Leap Handsets, Alexa pulls the glasses over my head fumbling the action as she maneuvers around our physical proximity.
In Augmented Reality, I stretch my arms to an almost out-of-reach ominous red button signifying a point of no return. As I manage to swat it down on my farthest stretch, I’m pulled into a lobby of play options that appear in the open air above the sofa.
I push a red telephone box icon and the lobby is displaced with a simple red Augmented Reality rotary telephone sitting in front of me on my desk. A hotline.
The telephone starts to bounce like a long boat over a short wave, undulating side to side. A stream of comic font “Ring Ring” floats silently from the telephone into the air like soap bubbles.
I answer the call after watching ten or twenty “Ring Ring” mesmerizingly float into the air and pop at an elevation.
Tom Cruise is sitting in front of me. I move my head so that he’s transposed over Alexa, her body and his face like a minotaur on virgin body. I smile and Tom smiles too. Immediately suspicious that we think alike, I move him back into open space hoping he returns the same courtesy.
His face transforms from a smile into an effusion of serious congratulatory praise for Firefox’s success. His Package 1 rendition to me.
Tom, “Fuck the critics. The fans love you. The studio loves you. You did a great job. You know what? Fuck Clint Eastwood too. Passing the buck is overdue.”
Hamish, “Thanks Tom.”
I don’t waste time telling him that I’m excited to move forward with him on remaking Rain Man, the 1988 comedy-drama.
A smiling & stressed Tom stops me to say that he’s not willing to play the part of the autistic older brother.
I argue that I am the epitome of the cool but troubled younger brother and even Dustin Hoffman agreed with me saying that way back, Tom did not win any awards for his turn and that I may.
Feeling that I may have overplayed my hand and pushed Tom too far, a rush of adrenaline flushes me.
Almost at a breakpoint, Tom changes directions as he appears to have been slapped on his shoulder, alleviating me from seconds of high stake tension. With concentrated calm Tom tells me that he thinks we should relook ‘Ocean’s 11', the 1960 heist film.
The conversation moves into an augmented reality tennis court.
Hamish serves, “I like that idea because I’m the epitome of Danny Ocean and Frank Sinatra once told me that.”
Tom is drawn in, “No, no, no Hamish, I’m the epitome of Danny Ocean and George Clooney once told me that.”
Smash back, Hamish, “Have you even met George Clooney?”
Easy return, Tom, “No. I haven’t”
I miss with a forehand swoosh of the racket about a foot higher than the ball’s bounce, “Yeah, me neither”, hoping it doesn’t look like I intended to throw the point.
Tom jog-walks to the net now ready to throw me a favor after his tennis match win. “I’m doing a live action remake of ‘Monsters Inc’, the 2001 computer-animated comedy film. The part of Sully is available.”
From across the net, Hamish, “Done.”
We cross rackets.
I end the call with a right arm to left wing of the glasses, winging them inadvertently into the face of the monitor on my desk.
Across the world somewhere, at the end of a long board-room table, sidelined by sycophants, a chimpanzee tea party of office suits are anticipating Tom’s announcement like petting zoo goats. Tom takes his glasses off. He’s solemn. He looks to his right where moments before his agent had slapped him into a calm response to Hamish’s provocations and onto whom Hamish had been transposed.
Tom jumps onto the table and reminiscent of Jerry Maguire, the 1996 romantic comedy-drama sports film roars, “I just beat Hamish Westfield at tennis and he is going to be ‘Sully’!”
The room erupts like a collegiate football away game final moment opposing team quarterback smack down and turnover.
In quiet Southampton, Alexa is spending moments contemplating me as James P. “Sulley” Sullivan, a huge furry blue ogre with horns, a tail and purple spots. Even though he excels at scaring children, he is a gentle giant by nature.
Although she doesn’t say it, she thinks Sully is the epitome of me.
I relook at the recursive ‘Recursion’ definition, a meaningless spill from an ill-programmed Google spider, trying to define Zev’s original want.
Out the window, I see Rabbit walking up to the house from the beach. Holding his surfboard on his head is a physical strain against the moody wind. I reach over the fuck-it-bucket and knock on the window for his attention.
Rabbit looks up to see my figure silently banging on the window with Magic Leap hand-sets.
I wave him over to join me in my office.
Minutes later Rabbit flops onto the sofa careful not to spill a bowl of instant noodles.
Appraising him, his tired eyes come across as sad but an overriding confidence balances him to a middle ground. I’ll hug him later.
I explain to Rabbit that a person in my position always needs to be the cleverest person in the room and that more than appearances it must be substantive, explaining this means ‘real’. I explain that both paparazzi and mainstream press are always ready to jump on anything misspoke or something that does not appear curated perfectly to the image of the person they expect of us.
Rabbit is lost in my words and my intent but continues to listen attentively to my declaration that I have been working on some new idea, its called ‘Recursion’. I want him to research this subject and give me his opinion from the innocent viewpoint of a ten year old boy. I explain to him that we are two parts of the same whole, like matching collars and cuffs, cut from the same cloth, he must compliment my vision with his simplistic eloquence like our work together on ‘The Endless Summer’.
Hamish, “We’re going to spend eighty percent of our time doing ‘The Endless Summer’ and twenty percent of our time on the new thing according to the Pareto principal.”
The proposal floats way over Rabbit’s pay-grade asking me if I’m going to be a “tech mogul” now.
Hamish, “No, it’s not like that”, pausing before deciding tactically to speak in Rabbit’s language.
I conclude, “A Titan.”
Rabbit, ‘Ok daddy”
Rabbit seems re-tasked, incrementally wiser from this conversation, beyond my expectation for it and resolved like an old argument. He’s going to give me a different perspective from his fresh eyes.
I sit with him on the sofa and fold his small body into mine. Moments later he is asleep, like the proverbial cat nap after a long day’s surf with his beautiful Poster-Child surf buddy nourishing the intricate formulation of his young personality.
In my bed, my eyes open to see Amanda standing by the window, her naked body carves a cursive letter against the ink mid-night sky behind her. She sees me wake and whispers that she’s cold. She floats into bed pulling my arms around herself as she backs up into me like a little spoon. She evaporates the heaviness of my deep sleep, fills my breath with her perfume and curls my fingers around her hand.
I feel myself falling down the stairs with an even heavier drop of my step and then realize I’m hearing Amanda’s heels echo through the glass and steel house. The black-outs opened just slightly like a vertical landing strip on an interstellar Battlestar lit up against the darkness of space.
I realize that the only dreams I had were of Amanda and I in bed. I fell asleep to that dream and I woke up for it.
Amanda closes the front door, crunches through the pebbles and the driveway gate trains open. Opening her car door and its electric drive are the additional silent functions of the equation which equals “Amanda has left”.
Alexa is positioning herself for a selfie with the newly delivered surfboard like an unstable Teepee that allows the Grateful Dead Head with lightening bolt to feature in the mirrored pose.
Hamish “Here let me” I take her phone, swipe the camera into Portrait mode and snap her. Although she’s shy, I feel I saved her from a more embarrassing dance of not letting the board slip away from her on the floor before she can picture her cuteness.
Alexa, “I love it, it’s beautiful, it’s art.” Her British theatrics presenting like Object Sexuality.
Hamish, “It was meant for Rabbit, his board hold stance is not working. The Dead Head is more imposing than how it appeared online. Although its both culturally and time appropriate, the skull contrasts with how I want to portray Rabbit and therefore it’s a miss. You and it are cute together.”
Alexa doses me a ‘caffeine’ hit as she sticks her tongue out of the side of her mouth and winks.
I Hamish, “I want you to have it.”
Alexa, “Can I give you my rendition of Package 3?”
Hamish, “You can owe me.” I feel like shying away from further connection.
Alexa informs me, “The studio is so excited to see what we do with ‘The Endless Summer’,” ending the sentence with steadily more excitement than she managed to contain at the more composed start. I realize that is the epitome of Alexa or maybe it’s a British thing, now I’m unsure.
I pick up my AirPod box. This time my thumb is held just long enough for me to mentally materialize both AirPods like an illusionists before I flip the lid. There is 1 AirPod in the box.
Hamish, “Where’s my other AirPod?”
Alexa, “Find My App?”
Alexa has obviously assumed a chill-day as she’s less attentive to my needs.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Hampton.”
Hampton is out of my sight in the dunes, camouflaged by the wild grasses. She’s circling two girls like an Orca around a pod of seals.
She stops circling. The seals twisting to watch her are now dizzy. Hampton listens to my ring and deliberately declines the call. She turns her back to them and lifts her arm in the universal sign to ‘hold’ and her friends recompose, duplicating each other with knowing hand gestures, lifted eyebrows and pursed mouths.
Hampton’s hold pattern hand turns into the universal sign for ‘follow me’, curving her fingers to a wave. As she walks up the steep of the dune I see her long sleeve bikini-cut spring wetsuit figure directly in my line of sight.
I’ve just left a message for Amanda again, a much more punishing ‘get’ and now I’m captivated by Hampton and ready to watch her ballet.
The two girls stumble following Hampton at her conveyor belt pace and trying not to miss any of the recipe of instructions that she is now politely singing to them.
Hampton is deft at swapping rigidity with charming deference. Her charm is also calculated, making one think she has deferred when she has actually driven one right into it.
Tom Cruise and I were both left thinking of that same principal yesterday, circular fashion like a dragon eating its tail as to which one of us was manipulated into giving each other what we both wanted, when what we both wanted was what each wanted to give to the other.
The girls catch up to Hampton at the edge of the pool and they gather into a ‘huddle’. Seconds later Hampton detaches from them, bends her elbow onto her crossed arm and opens her hand, palm up, motioning toward the house. The girls are slow to take the cue and another few seconds later when it finally arrives, they turn and run off. Hampton transforms from Orca into an attack submarine and shoots four precise torpedoes at the girls. “Walk” “Do” “Not” “Run”.
The girls run is snapped back to a fast walk. They squeeze face-to-face through the patio door which with less effort can be slid open to the extent of the open face of the house, almost the beam of an aircraft carrier.
The nervous girls stand looking at Alexa and me. A hidden secret written all over their faces. One has braces and the other should have braces. I’ve watched them grow up. Their parents are well familiar and Hampton has held them just at the periphery of her interest, occasionally letting them in for good behavior.
Hamish, “Girls, tell us your secrets.”
They are over exasperated by my sly request, gushing that they have no secrets and also absolutely no secrets.
This time more playful, Hamish, “Girls, everyone has secrets, right?”
Nervous-Girls do a giggle shuffle pose to the front door while singing a “Bye, Bye, Thank You, See you.” song to the end.
For the next minutes they uncomfortably obsess over a phone as they track the arrival of their Uber. Hundreds of yards before it’s expected they accelerate their exit and preempt the arrival by darting out of sight to meet the car on the street.
Awkward-Girl duck walks dragging her electric scooter over our pebbled drive. Seventeenth century stones whine out modern electronics like a buzzsaw.
Before she can cross the stony expanse, a Fedex truck rolls in front of her causing her to take a rounder drag toward our entrance. By the time she is parking her scooter at the door, the delivery man is waiting there patiently, having seen Alexa and I watch his walk-up through the glass frontage.
Alexa is unmoved, confirming her chill-mode, as she sits making hashtag amendments to her Instagram surfboard story.
The initiative of opening the tollgate to the morning traffic is mine. The Fedex driver’s face molds from hot and inconvenienced to thirsty puppy dog. I tend to cause this, especially to unsuspecting deliverers.
“Sir, I have a package for a Mr Rabbit. It does not need a signature but I didn’t want to just leave it here.” Realizing he’s missed an easy opportunity for an autograph and afraid his disappointment may be too apparent, he recovers, “Sir I saw ‘Firefox’, you were great, I loved it and I’m so sorry.”
I’m in character, curated to the image of the person he hopes I am and always required to remain polite even when boundaries are stepped over such his alluding to my bad press, plus Alexa and I dumped all of that into the fuck-it-bucket.
Anyway, I’m smiling inside at him thinking “Mr Rabbit” is a code I use to mask my celebrity in these exact situations and I make a mental note to borrow the moniker at a later date.
I command Alexa with some authority, breaking her chill-day focus on monitoring the engagement rate of her Instagram so that she looks to me.
I then silently motion the universal code for “come here” which requires at least four fingers curled and uncurled in at least two repetitions. One repetition is impolite. With just my index finger I point to the man’s rounded flap pocket-stop where I see his phone and I direct the same finger to Alexa, a universal sign for “give that to her.”
Hamish, “Let’s take a picture together”.
Fedex-Man skips backs to his truck checking whether the picture of Hamish Westfield and him on his phone really happened. I walk Awkward-Girl toward the patio door with my right hand gently guiding her right shoulder. My position strategically allows me to look into her tote bag which has two rolled up posters, curiously being carried to Hampton.
She leaves me at the patio door, no more informed about their origin story and jogs to Hampton, rising up into suspended air and crashing down like someone’s flipping a gravity switch on and off.
I watch her catching her breath before Princess Hampton and then with some ceremony pull the posters out and present them to her. Hampton opens her arms walking Awkward-Girl in for a hug that seems interestingly sincere. I realize that in the transactional economy of Hampton’s fifteen year old social system, there are some simple ‘gives’ as well as the more utilized Favor Exchange of which Hampton is the chief executive.
My body feels the emptiness of a morning spent reacting and I need to find my Rabbit to re-energize.
The ‘kid-cave’ is my favorite room in the house. Rabbit is sitting on the edge of a spherical ‘Ball Chair’ with an Indigo crush of velvet inside and riveted aluminum cladding on the exterior. His feet rotate him on the chair’s axis three-sixty-degrees around a scattering of papers. He appears to be scrapbooking. His chosen method is unorthodox to the task I set but I feel he’s done an effective ‘AD’ job of setting up the scene, composing himself, choosing and placing his props and ensuring for continuity. I decide to watch his version play out.
As I approach to inspect further he looks up at the box I’m carrying, the delivery for Mr Rabbit and he stops my progress.
Rabbit, “Daddy can you open the box for me please.”
Thinking I had done enough reacting today, I open the box looking at him and considering whether I should turn the table of authority away from him, like a Lazy Susan on a Chinese dinner table.
The book, ‘The Mayan Ouroboros: The Cosmic Cycles Come Full Circle.’
It gushes mystery, intrigue and a heroic quest for enlightenment. Minutes ago I was doubting Rabbit’s approach and I now I was holding a book with the perfect title. The title of this book will paint a picture of countless hours of research and intelligent consideration for the ‘Recursion’ project.
Rabbit had been biding his time, playing by himself and with my expectations while he was silently maneuvering his starting offense into position.
I smell its newness and feel its clean smooth Matte covering. Turning the book to look at each angle, with a cursory scan of its book-cover, I mentally register its patterned illustration. There was no possibility, however, that my subconscious missed its clarity or its significance.
As I turn the book around in my hands, I see the illustration on the cover emerge quite clearly as a dragon eating its tail.
How did the tail eating dragon arrive with such unsubtle coincidence over the last days? What do I really know about ‘Recursion’? Why did Zev send me that message?
Outside Rabbit’s window, I see Hampton in a standing prayer pose hold. Awkward-Girl turns her phone’s screen toward Hampton and she breaks pose and points her full arm east along Meadow Lane. Awkward-Girl turns and sprints up to the house. This time there is no snap-back as Hampton allows her to run, streaming a line to and through the house to her scooter.
I catch Hampton’s eye and her face transforms into a smile. Her hands in prayer position then open toward me and she blows me a two handed fairy dust air kiss.
Hamish, “What the fuck is she up to?”
Rabbit, “What the fuck what?” he asks sweetly.
Turning to Rabbit, I literally put my foot and stare down on him which is as effective as I need my authority over him. Nodding my head to him, I point the book at him in a playful warning and I back out of his room.
Rabbit is watching me carry the book away. He does not yet have the envelope of confidence that he’s hoping will arrive any day now as a Hampton hand-me-down. He’s trying to calculate whether I’m going to dig into the substance of the book or use it as another prop.
As I cross paths with Alexa, a PayPal request from Hampton for $4600 disturbs a wink-tongue pose. The size of the payment causing me to think that everyone here is having too much fun today. Alexa’s frivolity washes over me as annoying. As I approve the payment, I dismiss a new PayPal message from Zev and I walk into my office and close the door.
I have an open door policy for my home office except when my home office door is closed.
The first thing I do is throw my annoyance at Alexa into the fuck-it-bucket which is replaced with regret for not properly enjoying her cute British mannerisms.
The next thing I do is call her, “Hey Siri, Call Alexa.”
Alexa, “Hi Hamish, do you want me to come to your office?”
Hamish, “Hi, no. I just called to ask you if you can please arrange transport to the city for around eleven tomorrow morning.”
Alexa, “OK, I’ll call Southampton heliport and arrange a pickup for you, do you need me to come? Is there anything else you need me to arrange. Any particular plans, meetings?”
Hamish, “No, just me, I’m going alone. Just a car please too and I suppose 34th street heliport can work.”
My choice of words “I suppose…can work” are meant as subterfuge to confuse her from any certainty of where I’ll actually be going. The 34th street Heliport is blocks away from Fotografiska. It would be too obvious to infer that’s where I may go since Amanda is a member of their Advisory Board.
I envision my secret plan rapid-style in a flash. I see the precise details of my arriving and then I turn to focus in on the book which I’ve placed in front of me on the desk.
Amanda sleeping in our bed disturbs the covers like a convex meniscus. Seeing her in our bed rushes me to a second base slide of my arm under her pillow and into a big spoon. I whisper to her “Where have you been?”
Amanda, “I’m here now, close your eyes, I love you.”
Fotografiska is a centre for contemporary photography that originated in Sweden and expanded into a majestic neo-renaissance former church mission in Chelsea. Its restoration created ornate terra-cotta construction over bare bones of cast-iron steel which was just plain American ingenuity. The building is a fusion of Swedish modern European progression with Amanda’s confusing influence.
My car pulls up to Fotografiska, makes a hard stop at the curb and I eject onto the steps. Rather than early summer it feels like early spring, where the sun touches you but the air is cool. I’m reminded how Manhattan is always fast and infuriating and the noise happens even when I’m not here to experience it.
Felix Da Houskat’s recording of “Sinnerman” plays in a continuous loop in my head.
Moments before and blocks away, flying over the East River and arcing down to the heliport, the Magic Kingdom appeared more like living body. Ferries chugged on an algorithm of artificial intelligence drawn shipping lanes like a circulatory system. Similarly, airplanes painted an asymmetrical web across the sky connecting cirrus clouds like a brain’s neural network.
Fotografiska in neither white-boxed nor a museum. In the entrance exhibit, Amanda is both influence and definition like innovation and apple pie. I am even reminded back to my office which Amanda designed. Dark walls and focused lighting provide one with the feeling they are visiting a friend with an impressive photography collection. The ground floor salon also features a triptych version of my black surfboard called, “Triple Gidget”. Montauk-Girl, the rest of Michael Dweck’s Mermaids and the surfers that chase them in the waves are the feature exhibit.
My push of the door to Amanda’s office thunders through the passage chamber as it hits resistance. The door is locked.
A security guard turns the corner into the passage and makes large unimpressed steps toward me. Now a few feet away after the uncomfortable brief moment it took him to arrive he commands, “No one is in the management offices today and no one is supposed to be here. Can I help you?”
He is oblivious, disinterested or uncaring for my celebrity, my familiarity to the board and my connection to Montauk girl.
I turn to look him in the eye and return his indifference to me with a kind courtesy and then I vacate. As I walk away, I swipe my hand, scooping up the entire building into the small of my hand.
The “Where you gonna run to” lyrics of Felix’s ‘Sinnerman’ re-loop.
Verōnika, the patron saint of photography is upstairs. That’s where I go.
Verōnika’s ceiling reaches infinitely. Wide apertures of windows allow flattering light to run through the grand European style dining room.
I walk through the bar and past the hostess who looks up and through me. She then nods her head down ignoring me as if I were a ghost as she returns to prodding into a tablet with her index fingers.
The dining room reminds me of the paradox that is New York City: so many people jammed up against each other creates obstacles for us to meaningfully connect. Two-by-two close seating construction is the perfect example. For the very purpose of commerce, everyone is seated too intimately next to a stranger and in opposing-party style to their guest.
As I walk the aisle between the tables I feel like a Dark Knight in a Battlestar commanding an array of minions seated at their controls. Angry that I don’t see Amanda, I pull out a light saber and swipe it through the legs of the low sitting dining chairs as I make large strides through the room and out again.
In a moment of quiet meditation I realize that I might need some ‘intel’ as the mission nears probability of fail.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Amanda.”
Reaching her voicemail, her sweet voice sings, “ Hi, if you leave a message I’ll promise to call you back a long, long time before never.” The slowed expression on “long, long time” reading like a fairytale provides comfort to everyone but me.
The “Run to the rock” lyrics of Felix’s ‘Sinnerman’ loop in my head.
The Clocktower is where I’ll go. As I step out to the street, my driver’s eyes meet mine and he rapidly lifts his index finger to a circle above his head, a tactical hand gesture for ‘Rally Point’.
I reciprocate with a tactical ‘Hold” of open fist held at head height, my steps now syncopating with the clap of Felix’s ‘Sinnerman’.
My decision to walk the open streets just two diagonal blocks away has been emboldened by a politeness, indifference or even an irrelevance for my celebrity that I’ve experienced on today’s mission to find Amanda. I am not interested in battling out which one it is.
The Clocktower is a similar renaissance revival skyscraper, this one made more modern and streamlined by the removal of most its ornamentation. The Michelin starred Clocktower restaurant is on the second floor of the connected former MetLife office building.
Inside the lobby, I appraise the options. An elevator bank or an almost hidden spiral staircase. I don’t have the patience for slow mechanics and for losing control with the lazy protocol of the elevator. The staircase is where I go.
“Don’t you see I need you, rock?” Lyrics from Felix’s ‘Sinnerman’ loop in my head.
I don’t lose breath or senses as I take a step, another, two full steps, three, five and then repeat that sequence as I spiral in leaps up to the second floor.
Wood-panels and framed pictures of New York’s desired and discarded cover every measurement of the restaurant’s three dining rooms. An additional room with a purple felt billiards table causes the space to play out like a private members club.
As I reach the hostess she looks up to me and into my eyes. Her long brown hair folded to the side falls to partially cover her green eyes. She is an elegant butterfly with a welcoming smile. There are few occasions where I count on my celebrity and at the table of a host is one of them. As I greet her and she responds, I realize we’re in different dimensions. She is looking into my eyes and talking into an AirPod hidden under the fall of her hair. With absolute disconnect she then looks down into a note pad and confirms a reservation while carefully noting details into a book.
I’m left hanging, one hand at the end of stretched, suffering arm and sharp grains of granite cutting into my finger tips, that style.
I feel this happens too often now and I hear Felix scream “Good Lord, Lord.”
In my parallel dimension, through the bar over the billiard table and into an adjoining dining room on a green velvet chair I see Amanda.
Amanda’s head jerks into a surprised smile that’s seems poorly acted. Do I ever surprise her? She is all knowing. She smiles and scoffs a laugh, “Oh, we’re doing this, handsome?” Her face is enlightened.
As I drop on the bench next to her she glances up at a motionless and emotionless waiter, personal attendant, almost butler standing elegantly off to her side. Amanda tilts her head toward me in a gesture for him to bring me a plate of whatever she’s having. He seems to get the message.
While looking at me, her wide open polar neck cashmeres sweater hides her mouth but when she looks up to the attendant, her red smile appears.
When I realize my plate is now empty and push it away, I feel like I had not taken a bite. The act of eating and conversing with Amanda is lost time and I have no recollection of any of it. Truthfully, I hadn’t taken my eyes off her and she seemed to become prettier while I was doing it.
Amanda leads our exit and she simply ticks a check held out for her on a silver plate by her attendant. She kisses me on the side of the mouth and steps alone into a discreetly lit black marble elevator alcove.
Amanda, “I guess I’ll see you where I usually see you,” as she puts two hands together on an angle by the side of her head, which I infer to mean, ‘in bed’.
As her silhouette floats into the elevator, I can still feel the bite of her kiss. I take out my phone and take a picture which turns out to be a blur of indigo cut with sharp shards of reflections from the discreet LED lights.
Hostess, “Mr Westfield! It’s good to see you. Are you joining us today?”
I turn to see that beautiful young snowflake hostess, now smiling and engaged has somehow made it back into my co-presence from ‘dimension millennial’ or wherever she was.
Hamish, “No. Thank you. I’m actually just leaving”.
I chase off after Amanda into an opening elevator door and past a group of people who turn with recognition for me and whisper my name to each other.
As I walk through the lobby, heads turn toward me and the doorman breaks into a smile as he steps aside to open the door. I point at him and wink which widens his smile even further.
As I step outside I see Amanda in the middle of the cobbled street.
Amanda, “Are you ok, Handsome?”
Amanda, “I’m going to try connect with an important man for a surprise for you. Ok?” Amanda’s arms reach around my neck, she tilts her head and she pulls me to her kiss and then she skips off.
A few skips away, she turns, grins and laughs, “You know what they say! Watch your back, Jack,” and she points behind me.
I turn around and see a group of people fanning around behind me.
“So I run to the Lord
Please hide me, Lord” Lyrics from Felix’s ‘Sinnerman’ loop.
I quickly lift my index finger to a circle above my head.
Looking out through our bedroom window, I watch Amanda playfully chasing Rabbit down the dunes to the beach and toward a red morning sky. Her arms stretched out up and behind her holding a beach blanket like a Supergirl cape. She traps Rabbit by throwing the blanket over him and as he turns to face her, they fall together under the domed tent.
I am certain Amanda and Rabbit are tracing the ghosts of ancient Montaukett mothers and children in similar playful dance or cocooning from the changing seasons on the same beach generations ago.
My first summer here was a rapid transformation of everything I knew and thought for myself. I remember my own history on this beach and visualize my ghost stepping onto the rise of the sand dunes on an early fall morning.
The beach was a sequence shot of an expedition of surfers in a circular motion of paddling out past the hard break, sitting on their boards actively watching for the next set and silent riders against a crash of waves.
Spring tide occurs after a full moon when there is the largest difference between high and low water. The tide literally “springs forward” and a few times a year, such as in fall, it creates Valhalla type surf conditions. In Montauk the occurrence separates the Pseuds on land from the surfers at sea.
From above the sand dunes there is no similar synchronicity as the explosion of the waves takes seconds to arrive after each break. I stepped over the rise and I could make out Amanda’s silhouette against the grey morning. She was straddling her board looking out for an acceleration of rising crest that signals the next wave set. She saw me, dived forward on to her board and paddled back to the beach all the while ensuring that she steered clear of someone else’s ride.
Amanda was guarded that morning and sat next to me staring to the horizon. I had not taken my eyes off her since I had arrived on the beach. She patted droplets of water off her eyelids, pulled the wetsuit zip tag down from her neck and then used the towel to comfort her exposed chest.
I realized that even though under her wetsuit she’s the naked and fearless Montauk poster girl, she is also fragile.
“So you’re leaving to be a movie super-hero?” Amanda’s voice was brave, composed and fighting against a vulnerability caused by the coincidence of the end of the summer and my leaving.
I was elated and motivated by her vulnerability while also still coming to grips with my new reality, “Yeah, It’s surreal! I’m going to Los Angeles tomorrow. Six weeks of super-hero training, rehearsing and some publicity and then a six month shoot in Tokyo and London.“
I smiled, although nervousness started to develop, “So, the thing is, you’re my rider.”
Amanda paused her vulnerability as she sensed I was riding a different emotional wavelength to hers and she stood, “I’m your ‘Rider’? What is that?”
I breathed in the moment, I knew I had this and explained with cryptic knowing, “My new agent stroke lawyer. He’s like a South Boston fixer guy, but it turns out he is also a ‘romantic’. He got me a ‘Rider’. You’re it. It’s in my contract, you’re coming with me.”
Amanda was bewildered and scoffed, “I’m coming with you?”
Hamish, “Well now you have to. It’s contractual, I could get fired.”
I turned and kneeled to her stand, “Amanda, I love you. Will you please marry me? Just come with me wherever I go?”
A normal brain has two hundred billions neurons and they fire two hundred times a second to one thousand connected neurons. Amanda’s brain transacts at twice that speed.
Amanda fired back, negotiation style, “Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you but we do this now, simply. We each make a vow to each other and then it’s done, I’m your full-time rider.”
She paused and reiterated, “Ok?”
My motivation was in tact, “Let’s Go!”
Amanda dropped to her knees to meet me and moved her hand up my face to push my hair back, “I promise to love you forever and back.”
Hamish, “Thanks, I’ll take that, I want that.”
Her gentle hand in my hair started to curl into a firmer grip, a prompt.
Hamish, “I promise you an endless summer, baby.”
Amanda smiled, “A promise made is a debt unpaid. Now take me home and let’s make like rabbits.”
A few days later, in industrial Los Angeles, Amanda sat at the periphery of a production play-set. Her skinny legs in ink-blue fitted jeans crossed to form a nest for a sketch-book on her lap. Her tanned calves snuck out of the top of her black high heeled ankle boots. She wore a crisp white v-neck tee shirt and a black Chanel tweed jacket with a white surfboard pin on the lapel. I kept turning to look at her. I had not been able to take my eyes off her for the last few days and I especially loved this version. Her makeup was cover girl style, a continental divide away from Montauk girl.
There was perfect synchronicity between my taking quick glances at her while she was head down sketching and when I looked away, she looking to me to note some detail.
When I wasn’t turning to Amanda, I was standing in form while a photographer crept around me. With every carefully deliberate snap, a dead silence was interrupted by the camera’s mechanics and a chime of a photo appearing on a panel of monitors where an art director posed up-close examining each consecutive picture in rapid fashion. Three graphic artists sketched from the monitors, each their own rendition of my caricature as an action figure.
Amanda sketched the sequence of the graphic artists on high stools standing over the art director examining each photo as it flashed on to the monitor, taken by the photographer stepping around me while I stood in the middle of the white studio loft.
I return from my memory to standing over the brick and mortar reality we painted over this landscape and to the realization that while transformation seems to occur at evolutionary pace, in reality it’s at sixty frames per second. We all grow up too fast. With Amanda and Rabbit huddled in conclave on the beach I go to find Hampton.
This morning’s energy is enhanced by the appearance of my impossible ‘get’. I’m impressed, ‘The Yosemite Longboard’ skate deck was limited edition and out-of-stock. The punishment to Amanda’s time and attention must have been significant. She could just as easily not tried or even failed with zero impunity. Knowing Amanda is huddled with Rabbit on the beach this morning shames me for the small mindedness of the games I played over the last days.
On the other hand, I had built up excitement for surprising Rabbit and the skateboard seemed the perfect substitute for the ill-matched Dead Head surfboard. The effort and means we put into finding the skate deck will have an easy payoff in the unadulterated excitement Rabbit will have when he gets it.
I imagine his excitement anime style. Screaming wide-open-mouthed child. He pushes away on the immaculate paving that runs the extent of our property along the break of the wild grass. His glide an illusion created by the perpetual scroll of the sand dune, beach, ocean & sky backdrop behind him. His hair blows backward with the rapid interchanging of two different overlays. His pastel surfboard tattooed shoulder turned toward me. Poster-Child, this time wearing a racing crash helmet and ballet tutu, zigzags her board behind him.
I then zoom eight times in to a half clam shell on the path. It’s in concave position.
Stop video. Forward frame.
Frame 1: The wheel touches the shell pushing it down into the paving and locking it against any further frictionless slide.
Frame 2: The momentum of Rabbit’s body continues while the wheel and deck are wedged into position of Frame 1.
Forward End Frame, Rabbit falls into a bend of broken arm.
Stop video. Delete all.
I make a hand gun gesture to the skateboard and shoot it. It was dead anyway, lying upside down with its wheels facing up. I grasp my fingers around the wheel axel and swing it up so it does not scratch and I carry it that way back to my office.
I was meaning to swing it into the fuck-it-bucket but on entering my office I have another idea and instead I wheel it under my feet as I sit.
‘The Mayan Ouroboros: The Cosmic Cycles Come Full Circle’ is face down and barely alive leaning heavily against a short wing of pages I turned last night before going to bed. ‘The New York Time Art’ section is folded underneath.
Looking out the window now I see my beautiful Rabbit walking up from the beach alone.
Minutes later Rabbit flops onto the sofa careful not to drop his rice bowl.
Rabbit “Daddy, why is the dragon eating its tail?
Hamish, “Rabbit, Don’t look too much for substance in this. The substance is in your decision to look for it. The tail eating dragon is a symbol for recursion and you’ll understand what ‘Recursion’ is when you see it.”
I’m unsure whether anything I said has connected with Rabbit, so I give him more. “Its a simple metaphor for our life’s path not being a straight line or even a zigzag. We always end up where we started in the natural ever present circle of life…along a fixed time line.”
Rabbit, “A metaphor is just like saying something in a different way?”
Rabbit, “Chasing its tail is better than biting its tail.”
Rabbit is yet again simplistic and precise in his response and it causes me to become lost in consideration until I recompose, “The Endless Summer makes all of this unnecessary.”
Rabbit, “You want us to only work on ‘The Endless Summer’ together? You’re not going to read the book?”
Hamish, “No, I didn’t mean that.”
I decide to swing the subject table to share my creative thought of us standing over ground that ancient people once walked. I tell him about how I saw his mother and him ghosted by Montaukett as they played on the beach that morning, as if we are transposed over them like an augmented reality.
Rabbit seems considerate toward that idea for a moment and then adds “She was with me, so I didn’t feel like surfing today.”
Rabbit is malleable in my hands as I face him toward me, forehead to forehead, eskimo style. Our connection wakes his happiest and most safe being. I whisper in his ear which shocks his torso into a bend, widens his smile and forces him to correct our forehead pose. I knew it would. Whispers can trigger an autonomous sensory response. The ’meltdown’ is my favorite weapon on Rabbit. An unnamed mystery tingle to most, we are its experts. This time I surprised him and he’s now more guarded to further attack. Its a few moments before I complete uploading my energy to him and I release him with a smile.
Rabbit pushes his spoon backwards into the bowl rejecting the last few bites. He stands up, points to his bowl as to signal he’s ‘done” and carries it out to the kitchen.
I pick up my AirPod box, flip it open with annoyance of knowing. I take the 1 AirPod and place it into my ear.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Hampton.”
From behind the wall I hear the choral repetition of ‘Peter and the Wolf’ until the algorithm fades it to a voicemail.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Amanda.”
I’m in disbelief reaching her voicemail again but also optimistic that she actually is not too far and has just not answered the phone. The other night she told me, “I’m here now” and I had taken that to mean that she is going to be here.
Hamish, “Hi, did you go somewhere? I am in my office, the door was, is open. Anyway, the skateboard is a present for Tom Cruise. I want to thank him for ‘Sully’. I wanted to talk to you about it. Where are you? I want it put it into his hands and not lost with one of his handlers, can you help me with this?”
Hampton walks into my office. Positions herself into a hands-on-hips pose and with some bewilderment watches my foot-rest skateboard swing from side to side. She points at the skateboard and I preempt her, “It’s a present for someone. An industry thing. I tried to call you, where were you?”
Hampton, “Daddy, I missed picking up your call and I decided to come in to see you myself.” Her eyes fixated at the skateboard. “A present for someone? I love it! You don’t want it? You don’t want to give it to Rabbit? I’ll have it!”
I realize I’ve become over suspicious of Hampton. I’m trying to figure out which way she is trying to turn me even-though she’s at my door after I just called her. As she stands hands-to-hip, her bangs folding over to the precise lift of her eye lashes which frame the arctic white of her moon grey eyes, I’m assessing her body language for a ‘tell’.
Hamish, “Tom Cruise did me a solid, I think the skate deck is his kind of thing, it will be a thoughtful gesture, your mother will make sure it’s put into his hands, from all of us.”
Hampton, “Yes, be sure to let him know that it came from all of us!”
Hampton cartoon exists as her leg crosses her open legged pose slowly and her body flashes out the frame of my door.
Hamish, “WTF!” as I’m left trying to calculate how far into my own tail she has me biting.
Doses of Hampton often leave me needing a counter dose of Rabbit. Subconsciously, it was some sort of angst that screamed at me when he left my office earlier that caused me to find him.
Walking through the house I find him lying on the sofa cradled by Alexa. I’ve never seen their affection before. I’m comforted by it and I feel some disloyalty to Amanda.
Hamish, ‘Rabbit let’s go to your room.”
Rabbit follows me to his room and I hold the door as he crosses me into it. Alexa moves in to join us and as I turn to close the door and reject her advance, she forces me to pause.
Alexa carefully and caringly asks, “Hamish, you read the New York Times story?”
Hamish, “I take the biggest risks. I reincarnate movies no one cares about. I now have studios searching the bottom of the barrel for projects that make no sense. Sure, I get some if it. I don’t get the ‘Firefox’ metaphor and I don’t care about any of it, especially the armchair psychoanalysis. Tell Zev we’ll keep doing projects for me and we’ll own the studio not the press. Alexa,” nodding my head toward Rabbit, “let’s only deal with business when I’m not with him.”
I resume my process and close the door behind me.
Rabbit’s step into the room turns to a jump as he notices a Lego box nesting on the indigo crush inside his swivel chair. He wide open-mouth screams, “Thanks Dad!” as he slides in to hug it.
‘Firefox’ rolls into the wide bend of a meandering valley. Rocks crackling out of snow covered peaks and stripped black conifers reflect at time-travel speed off my ink-blue geometric head gear. Through the visor my concentrated eyes bounce as I hit an air pocket. A blink signals my activation of a thought-controlled Heads-Up-Display.
I zoom into a Southampton Fall beach landscape.
“All the leaves are brown. And the sky is grey,” lyrics from Freischwimmer’s ‘California Dreamin’ remix play in a continuous loop in my head.
My shoes on the edge of Rabbit’s desk and knees bent pushes the wheel of the chair against the edge of a rug, holding me from a slide. The room’s three sided glass front gives me an immersive ride into the autumn weather from the viewpoint of my flight-seat.
The wind stirs the wild grass into hundreds of random twists in a disorganized swirl up the beach. Clouds, white, grey and black criss cross a weak sun. A low tide leaves the beach open, naked and wounded, scarred with sea shell punctures and sea weed lacerations.
My eye’s conductive interpretation of the cold outside fights against the defense of the houses’s internal climate control, my autumn sweater and weeks old beard.
Rabbit is lying on his rug behind me. His legs bent up and his shins rest on each other like pirate crossbones. His head rests on his arm extended in front of him while his other arm slides a constructed App-controlled Lego Batmobile from side-to-side. On his farthest reach the wheels scrunch, wrinkle and rupture the edges of the papers cut from the final edit of his scrapbook project.
The crusts from sourdough bread sit on a plate that sits on a tray that is decoupaged with a beach blanket pattern.
I navigate through my phone. PayPal requests from Hampton. PayPal payments to Zev amongst others. Read iMessages from Alexa and red calls to Hampton. A voice mail from Amanda.
I push my right hand into my pants pockets, flip open my AirPod box and pinch the 1 AirPod into my palm. As I pull my clenched hand from the pocket, the box spills out to the rug.
My arm crosses my neck as I insert the AirPod into my left ear.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Hampton”. I cancel the call as it rings and before she has a chance to answer or decline it.
Hamish, “Hey Siri, call Amanda”. I don’t resent the voicemail anymore, “Hey baby, I’m going to stay up waiting until you get home tonight. Just come home and bring yourself.”
Hampton opens the bedroom door, surprising me to a fright. She walks towards me with clenched hands at her sides. The neural regulation of her arm and leg movement suspended by a more nervous energy which is completely drawn to her screaming eyes.
She lifts her right fist up and slams an AirPod on the table in front of me.
Hampton’s composed voice does not sync with her tensed shaking body.
Hampton’s body is quivering, “Daddy, I don’t need this anymore”, holding out my ‘lost’ AirPod for me to take out of her unfolding bruising cupped hand. Her finger tips changing color from squeezed white back into flowing capillary red.
Hampton’s stunned me and I’m nowhere near a conscious impulse to extend my hand out to take the AirPod from her. I have never seen her at Max Q.
She swipes her hand back and slams the AirPod down on the table again.
Hampton is increasingly reaching a breaking point, “Just come home and bring yourself? I cannot do this one. I cannot bring ‘her’ to you. We all lost her. Do you think”, pausing as her voice breaks, “Do you think I can get you anything you want?”
Each sentence mirrors the increasing reach of her emotional break point.
She lifts her fist up again. I draw a line from the rise of her hand to the horizontal of the desk and then calculate the time it takes her to slam the AirPod on the table in front of me again. Distance over time equals speed. Hampton weighs one hundred and four pounds. Momentum equals velocity times mass. It’s at danger point. A force strong enough to break the bones of a less formidable fifteen year old girl.
Hampton’s composure breaks further, “Daddy, did you know that I can get you anything you want? Do you know that I do get you everything you want? Do you know that I cannot ‘just bring mom back home to us’?”
Hampton has now pulled me into a superhero consciousness, the type a parent uses to slow time and speed reflexes when a child is in danger.
Hampton is un-relenting so I hold her arm to prevent her from slamming it down again. She continues, “Daddy, you need to come back to us now, I am bringing you to us here and now.”
Life-guard scatters the beach-rats. Her face camouflaged by war sign sun lotion. This Poster-Child is Montauk Girl. Amanda kneeling in front of Rabbit on the beach pushes his hair back, kisses his cheek like an obsessed mother, looks deep into his eyes and says, “Let’s surf dude”. I rewind the shot, Montauk Girl steps back out and the beach-rats step back in. In replay, Rabbit pushes through the beach-rats and runs alone into the surf.
I turn to Rabbit. We’re all in our New York City apartment with sky high windows and the ever-present mass of city attacking. Alexa is holding Rabbit in a superhero protect pose. Her left arm is reaching around him to hold his head and her right arm is cupping his left cheek. Alexa’s forehead is on Rabbit’s right temple and her mouth is on his ear ready to whisper to him if she needs.
Hampton, Rabbit and Alexa suspended, like the clock in a time lapse ticking toward the next shot waiting for me to react.
My first words, “The posters”.
“I have a hundred of them. I had them taken down from everywhere,” Hampton’s confusion of emotions causing her to smile and choke up at her achievement, the responsibility she assumed and my apparent awakening.
Hampton smiles through her tears, “I even sent a friend to chase down a Fedex truck on her electric scooter to get one.”
Awkward-Girl drags around the Fedex truck on our pebbled drive. The Fedex man says, “and I’’m so sorry.” Hampton is in standing prayer pose. Her arm stretches out pointing east. Awkward-Girl darts off.
Hampton adds, “Someone really important gave me that skateboard and you made me just throw that kind gesture away. Do you know how hard it was to get that skateboard. Do you know how much explaining I had to do in the end?”
Nervous-Girl one is sitting waiting in anticipation while her mother is on the phone. Nervous-Girl two is on the phone circling her manicured Southampton lawn. Her father in a glass skyscraper corner office motions to his assistant. A shirtless man with fighting karate pants stands in the shadows of his concrete Malibu home. With his back to us, he looks out the open rectangle frame of the modern structure to the infinity of the Pacific Ocean. He takes a skateboard from a shelf, leaving a gap in an otherwise full console along the concrete wall and hands it to a uniformed driver waiting for it elegantly at his side.
Hampton’s echo “… be sure to him let him know that it came from all of us!”
Karate-Man stands in a shadow with his hands at his side. He is in disbelief as a uniformed man holds out the skateboard for him to take back.
Tom Cruise steps off the table and stands in an eye-focus-and-gaze pose. Like a zen-master he quietens the hysterics of the eruption of noise and jumping-chest-bumps around him. In a circular mediation, like a dragon eating its tail, he thinks how we both gave each other what we both wanted and what we both wanted was what we had given to each other.
Hampton wipes her eyes with one long drag of her left arm across her face. The AirPod is still clenched in her right hand. She’s more composed now so I let go and she drops the AirPod on the table.
I watch Hampton pirouette into a white dress and then I rewind the shot. In replay the dress is Amanda’s, hanging returned from cleaning. Hampton unpacks it, slides each arm in to each sleeve and then ties the belt deliberately.
I turn back to Rabbit still cradled by Alexa. He’s holding a scrapbook with a tail eating dragon sticker on the cover and titled “Recursion, A Rabbit Westfield Production.”
Rabbit’s echo, “She was with me, so I didn’t feel like surfing today.”
Amanda kneels down on the beach in front of Rabbit. A beach blanket wrapped around her and held together by her pale clenched fist. Her left hand rises up from underneath to Rabbit’s face. She pushes his hair back. Rabbit lifts his arm up to her face. His fingers curl around her hairless head. His mother tells him, “I wish I could surf with you today.”
In our bed, Amanda whispers to me, “I’m so proud of you, I told you how sorry I am that I wouldn’t be able to be there for you.”
Amanda and I are small on the wide seat of a black SUV. “Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center” fades away through the back window. Amanda sobs to me, “Did I ever tell you how proud I am of you. I am so sorry that I won’t be able to be there for you.”
I’m kneeling down in front of Rabbit, pushing his hair back and I kiss his cheek trying to draw his pain away. We’re on the floor of my bedroom at our beach house. Alexa is standing at the window looking out to the ocean. She turns to look at Rabbit and is instantly burned by him and must look away. A nurse is busying herself on the side. Hampton is lying on the bed sideways next to Amanda. Hampton is stroking Amanda’s emaciated face. Amanda is dying in Hampton’s arms.
Hampton pushes ‘decline’ on my incoming call in a repetitive montage. One, two, three, four times and then she inserts my AirPod, trapping me into intercepting my ‘gets’ to her mother’s voicemail.
I navigate my phone to Amanda’s voicemail time-stamped six months ago. I push ‘play’ to listen and her voice streams into my left ear.
Amanda sits in a crossed-leg pose on her bed in a room that is a white haze of mid-morning sun radiating through the shear white privacy curtains. She is a confusion of an innocent and an influencer, her eyes are smart and her smile is content.
On the television, Bruce Brown narrates the setting sun end to ‘The Endless Summer”.
She pauses the end, picks up her AirPod box, flips it open and finds 1 AirPod.
Amanda squints into a wondering of why there is only one AirPod.
Amanda, “Hey Siri, call Handsome.”
Hamish’s voicemail is his eccentric version of business formal and causes Amanda to smile every time.
Hamish’s voicemail, “You’ve reached me, I don’t listen to messages so please send me a PayPal instead.”
Amanda scoffs a laugh every time she hears it.
Amanda, “Hey you. So you have to do this one thing for me. When I’m gone and you’re the miserable shadow of the man you used to be, I want you to take your broken heart and your damaged soul and throw it all into making an ‘Endless Summer’ movie for me”, she laughs and then becomes more commanding, “You owe me this anyway. I love you forever and back. Just get back and bring yourself.”
Amanda cancels her call and her content smile continues for seconds before she’s reminded back to her present. She squeezes her fingers through a push of her hair to an anguished grip.
Hamish sighs, “A promise made is a debt unpaid.“
With the time elapse clock still running, my words are a further riddle to Hampton as she continues to try decode my state of being.
“It was bleedin’, all on that day’” lyrics from Felix Da Houscat’s Sinnerman replay in my head.
In my parallel dimension, through the bar over the billiard table and into an adjoining dining room on a green velvet chair I don’t see Amanda.
I pick up Hampton’s AirPod and with a swipe of my arm throw it at the wall.
In the silence of the room I whisper, “She wasn’t even forty.”
I look at Zev’s PayPal request with the message, “I’ll manage everything that has to do with your recursion.”
And then I look at the message I dismissed. “*reputation, not recursion. ducking autocorrect :-)”
I see the fuck-it-bucket and I remember Alexa dropping everything into it, neatly stacked, efficiently discarded, ‘stopped-lossed’. I feel lighter as the heaviness, the fucking dragon, the anger and all the unanswered calls to Amanda’s voice mail, fall out from my arms and into the fuck-it-bucket.
Rabbit, Hampton and Alexa still suspended and waiting for me to speak again. I turn to Rabbit, “The Endless Summer?”
Rabbit hands me his scrapbook. Instead of a tail eating dragon, the cover is my surfboard. My most treasured gift, ‘Motherboard’, is an ink black surfboard with a monochrome photograph of Amanda naked swimming into the darkness away from us, her arms to her side and her legs in a gentle kick with mermaid elegance.
Alexa touches my hand and moves her fingers up the bulge of arm to my shoulder, her pastel pink nails scraping and caressing my skin brings me physically back in to the present. Her perfume, or is it Amanda’s, the confusion causes a tear.
Alexa, “The studio loves it. An instant classic. They cannot wait to make it.”
Rabbit is on the sofa at the Hamptons house cradled by Alexa.
Rabbit, “My dad told me that he saw my mother and I on the beach this morning ghosted by Montaukett. He also told me that my fresh eyes always give him a simple and eloquent perspective. I must do something that’s real so I started to make a scrapbook to show and tell our story. I can bring him back to us.”
Alexa and Rabbit quieten as I close in on them and call Rabbit to come with me to his room, the Lego Batmobile waiting for him.
Hampton and I sit down to page through the scrapbook.
Alexa guides Rabbit away, “I’m going to ready Rabbit for bed. Take your time and then come lie with us for a bit”.
Hampton turns the cover page to a picture of her sitting between her mother’s legs on the ‘Nest’ in Longhouse Reserve. Her throat clogs, tears stream down her face and she shields her eye’s into the cuff of my shoulder.
Amanda, “This chair, made of half dollar coins, is supposed to show us how ‘money makes the world go round’. These coins have been released of that burden so we can sit here and similarly find refuge from that material world. Pay-it-forward, over pay your accounts, don’t be in debt and your worlds will always be in ‘Karma’. I love you forever and back and I know you were born with this absolute.”
Alexa leads Rabbit down the lit corridor to his darkened room shaded with a night light. Alexa pulls his shirt over his head and Rabbit brushes at a temporary tail eating dragon tattoo that is slowly peeling away, its tail separated from its mouth. The dragon chasing its tail not biting it.
Rabbit recalls me saying, “The Endless Summer makes all of this unnecessary anyway.”
Rabbit looks up to Alexa, “My father used the metaphor of the eternal summer to keep my mother alive, rejecting the ancient wisdom of the circle of life and the change of seasons represented by the tail eating dragon. My father is the brave new breed of Templar Knight, he stood before the dragon and showed it a new way.”
Rabbit imagines me dropping ‘Firefox’ from pristine sky into the suffering cold valley and then to the escape of an arctic sea whiteout.
Alexa’s skin chills. She looks at me and Hampton on the sofa. She considers the arc of our mourning and wonders how much is intended and how much is coincidence. How much coincidence can be explained or rationalized and how much is just too much for us to comprehend.
Their charm can be calculated, making us think they have deferred when they are actually navigating us right into it.
Hampton turns the last page of the scrapbook to its title, “Sixteen Summers in the Hamptons”. She’s looks to our east window, lost in a gaze towards the ‘End of the World’.
I look up from the scrapbook.
Mother Nature is watching us, she sticks her tongue out of the side of her mouth and she winks.
Part 7 Hampton’s Point of View: A day in NYC. To be read while listening to “All of the Lights” by Kanye West
I take my father’s AirPod out and toss it in the air.
As it lands in the palm of my hand, “All of the Lights” lyrics of Kanye West’s “All of The Lights” explode in my head.
I was still just counting out the moves on his most recent ‘get’, transmitted to me at yoga-beach this morning. Now this!
In a new interception, in a silent house after the sun has set, I just heard my father ask Alexa to arrange a chopper pick-up.
“I suppose…can work,” fools no one as to where he’s headed: Unprotected Forward Position.
Kanye’s “All of the lights” horns trumpet for the ominousness.
He’s going to Fotografiska. He is going to walk into my mother’s office, see her cleared desk, watch the office re-live her loss and then their sympathy will bleed them all out, group style.
I draw a line in the air with my finger tracing the azimuth from Southampton to Fotografiska and explode my hand on the landing. He’s a lone child soldier with a nuclear grenade walking straight into ‘Charlie’. In other words, ‘He is going Downtown’.
Rhianna sings to Kanye, “Turn up the lights in here baby.”
I’ll have to figure out E=MC² and at the same time get ahead of this one.
In the quiet of the beach and the cooperating ripple of Atlantic this morning, I hear a whisper of Kanye crying, “Something wrong. I hold my head.”
I always feel like that and I quieten that noise out for now.
I’m sitting in sacred prayer pose, in quiet meditation, defying factors of gravity and the super-saturated salty mist of morning causing everyone to sweat but me, that style? Not quite, my hands are like that because I am literally trying to hold my world together.
The turn-out to my walk-up yoga exceeded impractical. The class is stretched further than I intend to carry my voice. I break from a ‘fire element’ pose to walk through the ranks. With healing hands I gently trace corrective molds to the yogi’s stances. When I see the collective start to crack from the struggle of the hold, I skip back to my position and move to ‘relaxed child’ on my knees, torso bent and arms stretched out on the ground.
Like a vast robot army, the beach synchronizes, exhaling to my subserving flow. A sea bird rogues around us, looking curiously into our ritual and when its eyes meet mine, it shyly looks down. Now I’ve exhausted my interest and I stand up, turn to yoga-company and bow down to them from the waist.
My evacuation is swift and I respond to a steady stream of “Namaste’s” with each their own corresponding “Ditto’s”. My girls now following me at pace to our privacy in the dunes between the wild grasses below my house.
Moments later, I hear the words, “it’s limited edition and out-of-stock”. I curl my hand, asking the girls to catch up and follow me. There’s new business and I need to negotiate them into it. Let me be honest, this one is: Exponentially More Complicated, or more simply put, ‘E=MC²’.
Getting ahead means getting to Manhattan before him.
Kanye’s “Fast cars, shooting stars” lyrics beat in my head.
I’m meditating while sitting small in the wide seat of the black SUV. The driver’s foot at the edge of my thought control. As I hear “shooting star”, the car bumps air over a rise and as traction re-takes, the driver floors it onto the Williamsburg bridge.
A police officer sees a flash of black mass out the corner of his eye and before he’s able to discern it, he’s already doubting it.
New York City on the approach under the bridge appears like a chessboard in 3 dimensions and in perpetual play. In this game, everyone is either a King or a Queen. In the 4th, my finger scrolls left on time and when I’m running up the steps to Fotografiska, his car is just pulling up.
I folded my bangs above my forehead and clipped them in. I replaced my usual cat-eye’s with rose colored pilot sunglasses and I’m wearing a black-satin short sleeved long jumpsuit. I’m using a perfume I never wore before. My lips are dry, broken and unkept, partly from being nervous recently. The perfect disguise.
I’m carrying just my phone with Bluetooth turned “Off’ and his AirPod which I synched to his phone before I left Southampton this morning.
The lobby to Fotografiska is my mother’s power and her precision like the change she stimulated and the constant she gave us. When I see her mermaid picture, I throw a golden javelin through it. I hate how people took ownership of her when she died. She was our apple and everyone is now biting into that pie.
I run through the hallway breathlessly. My Vibram rubber soled rugged suede ankle boots squeak in an alpha rhythm on the polished floor. When I reach the door to the management offices, I proverbially burst in.
I was not mentally prepared for it, at all. The entire office, all my mother’s friends turn toward me. I cave in to my knees and into my tears. It’s overwhelming. Exactly as I imagined my father, they all do re-live her loss in front of my eyes, cluster bomb style.
Office Manager, ”Hampton! Why are you here, baby, are you ok? What’s wrong?”
Another two of her friends collect me off the floor. I reconstitute.
Hampton, “My father is coming here, now. We cannot let him in. We need to close this door. Lock it and call security and have him turned away. Unceremoniously. Just have him turned away from here. Please. Help me. You see, he is still dealing with our loss.” I can’t stop my voice from breaking as I say “loss” .
The office is stunned frozen and unable to react.
I command them to action, “Now. Unceremoniously. Call security. Please. Help me lock this door.”
I push the door closed, slide a latch across and then stand with my back against the wood, my legs bent and the rubber of my shoes holding against the slip of floor.
Office Manager, ”Security? Hamish Westfield is making his way to the management office now. Please turn him away. We’re not here today and no one is supposed to be here. Absolute professionalism. This means no recognition, no autographs, no selfies, just make him leave. Thank you. Now!”
His push of the door jars me. His hand against the door and my body backed up against it. A one hundred year old piece of reconditioned wood between us. I’m scared he’ll feel my beating heart disseminate in waves through the fragile solid state that separates us. I close my eyes and breathe regularly.
We hear security turning him away, expeditiously and on-point. I sense his frustration play out in the quiet courtesy he returns to the guard and then I imagine him scooping up the entire island into the palm of his hand.
“Something wrong, I hold my head”, this time a warning from Kanye plays in my head.
I ask, “Where can he be going now?”
Office Manager, “Verōnika, Upstairs?”
She doesn’t hesitate, picking up the phone and then finding the host, “Hamish Westfield is on his way to the restaurant. He’s looking for someone. Let him go. He will go in and out. You are not to speak to him unless he speaks to you and then you know nothing. OK? Confirm!”
She puts the phone down and looks to me with questioning hand gestures, widened eyes and a frowning mouth.
I turn to them in standing prayer position, tears falling as I look at her cleared desk and then I recompose. I do a deep bow, karate style and leave.
“I’m on my way, headed up the stairs” lyrics from Kanye shout in my head.
Verōnika was a saint of some sorts and its also where my mother found her solace, sitting alone working before the restaurant became the hectic lunch it is now.
By the time I reach upstairs, he is walking an aisle of Verōnika. I realize his anger and suspect he’ll kick the legs of the chairs out from underneath the diners as he walks through the room.
I watch him take out his phone and I quickly wear his AirPod. When I hear my mother’s voicemail, I take out the AirPod and then hide in the stairwell where I can follow him discreetly.
Kanye repeats, “Fast car, shooting star.”
My father’s driver is where I’ll go and now I’ll get in front of this.
As my father rides the elevator, my steps downstairs turn to leaps and then a final jump of eight, landing with a rubberized squeak.
The city is fire and ice compared to the frantic efficiency of my state. As I walk up to the driver he looks at my approach with guarded curiosity until I take off my sunglasses.
Hampton, “Hi Sonny.”
Sonny, “Miss Hampton. I did not recognize you. I did not know you were meeting us here today.”
Hampton, “Sonny, I am not here and you never saw me. I need you to wrangle my father in and get him home.”
Sonny, “Miss Hampton. I cannot do that. Why do you want that?”
In a charming fifteen year old cannot say “no” to deferring type of way, “Sonny, we’re arranging a surprise for him today. We don’t want to ruin the surprise, do we? Try to help us out. Pull him in and take him home, please?”
Sonny looks around uncomfortably until his eyes give up, “You’re not here? Then you better get out of sight, I see him. I’ll signal him to go.”
Sonny rapidly lifts his index finger to a circle above his head, roping him in to the ‘Rally Point’. My father’s response is tactically proficient, signaling the open fist of his hand, ‘hold’ style. He then appears to step-off again across the diagonal of the street.
Sonny looks to me with a scrunched up shoulder for, “What now? As he points toward him, I read his mind, “There’s Hamish Westfield walking off alone into the unconscionable streets of Manhattan.”
On that inclination he’s obviously headed to the New York EDITION hotel in the former MetLife Clocktower building. The restaurant most recently played out as my mother’s private members club. Framed pictures of her and my father are part of a curation of photo’s of Manhattan’s most esteemed and exploited plastered everywhere. Even I am featured in the belly of her stomach in a picture of them together at a photo shoot.
Hampton, “Sunny in the inside. Let’s go! Follow from some distance and please keep us in sight. I have a plan.”
“Copy that,” Sonny’s warrior past manifests as firm and fast.
The Clocktower is a kick away standing over Madison Square Park. My father seems to be marching in-tune to some esoteric beat in his head. Inside the lobby he takes a momentary stand and then runs towards a spiral staircase.
“Extra bright, I want y’all to see this.” Lyrics from Kanye’s “All of the lights,” play in my head.
Positioning myself between the elevator and the spiral staircase, I lift my phone and in my loudest New York voice to Siri, “I just saw Hamish Westfield at the EDITION hotel. He just ran up the stairs to the Clocktower restaurant. Hamish Westfield is here. Right now. In front of me!”
Heads turn toward me from throughout the lobby. Time pauses and then the lounging leopards return, apparently unfazed, to pushing into their phones and sipping from paper coffee cups while staring into oblivion.
I am confident however that energy has been transferred, their processes are repurposed. One-by-one, the not-so-sly foxes start to crawl their way casually to the elevator and to the spiral staircase.
I am left smiling and thinking how curiosity is the biggest killer of cats.
It is just a few frames forward before I see my father return, this time falling out of the elevator. As he pushes through the lobby, he evaporates the call of the room. He even winks at the doorman on his way out. Celebrities have a complicated affection for their fame, battled out as relevance versus anonymity.
My father walks into the middle of the decrepit city street, flashed by a swarm around him.
Kanye’s “I’m heading home, I’m almost there” lyrics plays triumphantly as Hamish Westfield quickly raises his index finger to a circle above the rest.
And me? I fall back into a fade away watching Sonny arrive and listening to Alanis Morissette‘s upbeat “We’re never gonna survive, unless we get a little crazy” with my father’s AirPod in my head.
“Origin is the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.”
… except I lived most of 2019 in the inescapable absolute of recursion, like a dragon eating its tail, starting where I ended and finishing where I began.
It was a year of soul-destroying loss reminiscent to nothing we were willing to accept, although it was also everything that caused us to shift.
My mother became my muse and my father our mission.
Rabbit and I now have a neural connection to each other, my baby brother & my sidekick. I’m a badge on his arm and he’s the eternity around my wrist. He is the brave little dragon, he stood in the infinity drop and said “This is the end.”
Hampton & Rabbit Recur … coming soon.
Hampton & Rabbit Copyrighted 2019