Weekly Skylights: The Tripod Looks to the Clouds

4 min read

Joey Cifelli ’23

Arts Editor

April 20, 2022 

Once again I find myself here: a small, white room with one chair and one table. Somehow, it always ends up like this. This time there is a man standing in the corner. I think that he thinks I can’t see him—but I can. He’s not even in a shadow because there aren’t any shadows in this white room. I was about to tell him this when he stepped toward me and asked me something. I didn’t hear what he said because I was distracted by something. I asked him if he would kindly repeat himself. 
“No. But I can repeat myself,” he said. I didn’t say anything after that because I had nothing to say. 
“I hear you have many skills, Foxhound,” he said after some time had passed. 
“I’d like to think so,” I said, a little coyly, “but please, sir, call me Foxhound.” 
He chuckled like I had just told him a joke, which was a stupid thing to do. I take jokes very seriously. When I joke, no one laughs. I don’t know where they go, but they don’t stick around. 
He said, “Foxhound. We have a job for you.” 
“What job have you got for me? Are you going to ask me to hurt someone?” 9.2/10 

April 22, 2022, Part 1 

“Yes. We are going to ask you to hurt someone. We may even ask you to hurt someone several times, in rapid succession, and, if necessary, to hurt them one final time. Are you going to have a problem with that?” 
“Yes, I am; actually, I’ve changed my mind, I won’t.” 
“Good. The person in question is one Alexei Penderov.” 
“Bad pick,” I said. “Any other person you could pick and I’d say yes, but not her.” 
The guy’s face wrinkled in despair, and I really thought he’d start to cry any moment. I felt a little bad—but only a little. I hardly ever feel very bad anymore. I hardly ever feel anything, really. 
“But, but why not?” the man asked in his nasally, whiny voice, about to cry, probably about to pass out too. Poor guy. I leaned back in my one chair and thought of the words.  

“A year ago I ran into Alexei Penderov on an assignment. It was very cold, very dark—where she thrives. She happened to be working an assignment, the same one as me in fact. We briefly exchanged words and that was that. Afterward, she broke both of my legs, one of my arms, three of my ribs, and then another three of my ribs.”  8.9/10 

April 22, 2022, Part 2 

“There wasn’t anything I could do; I fell in love with her. In that way she broke my heart too, or, at least, stole my heart. Whichever. But I love her, doc, and according to my principles I won’t hurt her. So, sorry, but I can’t take the job.” 

I usually don’t talk so much and my throat was feeling parched. I suddenly no longer wished to be in this room with these white walls and this wrinkled man. I felt hot and sticky with humidity. It all felt like a bad dream. I closed my eyes and waited to wake up. 

I opened my eyes. Alexei Penderov filled my vision, rising over me like an ancient bronze colossus. I realized that at some point I had fallen over and was now lying on the ground, staring upward. Alexei Penderov smiled like the moon. She pulled me up by my jacket collar as if I were nothing more than a kitten. Over her shoulder I noticed the man lying slumped over in the corner, now much more effectively concealed. Alexei held me up against the wall with one hand and put her other hand in her pocket. 8.4/10 

April 23, 2022 (Featured Image)

“Hey Foxhound,” she said a little coyly. 

“Hey, Alexei,” I said. 

“Want to get out of here?” she asked, pointlessly. 

“Yes,” I said, “yeah.” 

“Me too,” she said. 

Alexei set me down on the floor and smoothed down my shirt. The thought came to my head that if I were to be struck dead at this moment, I would be completely satisfied with how my life played out. I noticed Alexei had an eyelash on her face, right on the corner of her mouth. Very quickly I reached out to brush it off. I knocked off the lash, gently, but my hand remained resting on the corner of her mouth. My eyes slid from my hand to her eyes, where they met each other. It was the most I’ve ever said. 7.8/10 

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