The Transcriptionist

She scans the front page, reads about Greek sailors who have been detained as witnesses of “environmental crimes.” The men are living in a hotel near Kennedy Airport, and every afternoon they pack their single duffel bags and sit in the parking lot waiting for the shipping company to pay that day’s hotel bill so they can check back in. This is the only time they venture outside, because their passports have been taken and they are, as one sailor says, “100 percent illegal.”

They spend their days watching television and waiting and eating food from the vending machines.
“The hard part is not knowing when we can leave,” one man says. “It is a little like living at sea. But only the bad parts. The hotel is like a ship but we are not moving. We are living at sea without the sea. We cannot leave. We must wait.” They have been in the hotel for four months.

. . . She looks to her left: the newspaper blurs before her, the letters appear as if under a microscope, little parasites floating on the pulpy page. The news cycle now has no recovery time, we are bombarded with so much news that it has lost its meaning and people look for signposts that they touch like rosaries to order their world, repetition without affect.It did not take long for news of war to be added to the rosary, touched but not felt.

The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland

the transcriptionist



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