For the Gentlemen

This is an image post. Inspiration for this sketch came from this image.

Everything proceeds by signals and signs – hats, handkerchiefs, bandages; angles, degrees, subtlety. The Gentlemen do not know each other ahead of time, never see each other again. Their religion is silence and misdirection.

They pass each other on the stairs and fall into step, as if accidentally. The crowd pushes them together against the railing; one lights a cigarette, one idly watches the sun reflecting off the cliffs. Recognition is never confident, always perilous; their city breeds mistrust.

(At night: knives, poisons, ropes, falls. The balconies are famously feared, famously braved. The Gentlemen run riot, mad with revelry. They die by the hundreds and are ignored.)

In bathrooms they are most daring. They tape messages to toilet tanks, under counters. They write in wax on mirrors. The white hush of running water whispers with their rusty, unused voices.

They are loyal, each to his single cause, and because they are loyal they are dangerous. Their keep their loyalties private. They form uneasy partnerships, alliances which dissolve as quickly as they form. They trace strange currents, erratic orbits, and trust in a plan that no one knows.