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Circle games

A girl with straw hair and sullen lips, dressed in hippy headband and second-hand clothes sits at a hand-painted reception desk. She thinks of herself as Unpredictable, not beautiful and a bit dangerous, because that’s what David said.

The desk is multi-coloured and covered in clouds and Ferris wheels and butterfly designs. She is the desk’s painter. The firm is an LA management firm. Her manager, Indira, pays her to sit on reception while she gets her songs together.

Indira says a perception of beauty doesn’t mean a talent for creativity and that she needs to fall in love many times over. She works from 8am to 4pm then drives home. She is unsafe at any speed. She is a poet and a dreamer and poets and dreamers shouldn’t drive cars. She meets her friends in the Canyon, smokes some weed, listens to the new Airplane album and eats brown rice and Pacific prawns. At 10pm she hustles over to David’s to hang out, talk about stuff and turn on.

David says she seeks familiarity, social repetition with friends of long standing.

She says she’s going to make a lot of money, then she’s going to quit this crazy scene.

She says she is on a lonely road and she is travelling. Looking for something …

She says she was sitting in a park in Paris and thought Paris was old and cold and settled in its ways and she missed California.

He says she likes adventure, but not risk. He says that’s why she always comes back.

He says she needs reassurance that her world and the people in it are intact, though at times she screams inside to get away.

David says her manager is part of the starmaker machinery behind the popular song.

She thinks David is highbrow and high minded, but not snobbish. She tells David he needs to feel wanted needed and indispensable. David says we are all control freaks so that doesn’t single him or anyone else out. David says she is loyal but mischievous, careful but tempted by the cakes in the shop window, driven but often driven to despair of how and why she is driven. He says all this defines her. It doesn’t make her happy. Only a fool is happy, and she is not a fool.

Around 3am, a friend swings by in a campervan. They head up to Observatory Ridge and watch the sunup. He drops her home. She takes a bath with candles and drinks a triple cappuccino with mocha and pops a French Blue, swings into her car and is back at her desk by 8am with a song in her head. Her name is Joni.

Indira wanders in. She stands on the other side of the room and looks at her for a long time.

Joni says the wind is in from Africa. Last night I couldn’t sleep.

Indira says that’s not true and don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes do that.