Last night on earth, it felt like, and the threshold was dressed in grapevines and parched skies.
I tapped my pen against the dusty pages of a blank notebook. Pressed my back against the wooden chair and pretended to scratch away a couplet of imaginary words. Temporarily distracted by a chorus of laughter, eyes forward.
I didn’t know most of them, but the percentages weren’t bad, and the night lights played tricks on us all. Waves from the pool sent flashback ripples on the collection of teenagers, drinking, smoking. Singing in dissonant Spanish lyrics.
I gave myself a few seconds with Sonia. Her black hair spilled over dark features, angular nose, skinny legs crossed, cat napping in her lap. She must have felt the weight of my thoughts, explicit details of that one night staring out her window.
She looked up, eyes the texture of a lunar eclipse. Teeth red with wine, lips one or two years gone, so recent I could taste it on my tongue through the curtains of her smile.
Shirt a tattered taste of royal blue, hanging loosely down one shoulder.
I said it out loud, in a language she didn’t know, words the entire world had been forced to memorize. “I love you.”
It was lost under the blare of a boombox playing Los Prisionros.
Her read on my mouth remained a mystery, and all I know is she laughed.
And coincidence urged everyone to do the same under cool, desert landscapes as someone cannon balled into the pool.
One single chord rising above the rest.
Standing, rather that sitting. Perched at a nearby table, wine stain on a shirt some seven or so days worn after disappearing for a full week. Off to the coast. Didn’t tell a soul, and the rest of us were left to second guess if we would ever see him again.
Only in the abstract.
Blondie was forever. Gale force winds, stars and constellations in a cartographer’s map.
“Lucky!” he called out. Washed it down with the final dregs of a Ballentine pint. Spanish luster radiating with blue eyes, dirty blond tangles reaching down towards skinny shoulder blades. “You drunk, mad, fucking poet. You’re going to blind the Gods for the rest of us and realize the world!”
I raised my bottle of Gato Negro.
He laughed and collapsed into the arms of a redhead, kissed her so deep, I had to imagine the truth was buried deep within her thighs.
Everyone was waiting.
I wasn’t sure for what. Couldn’t figure the occasion.
I was seven hours shy of a 747 heading back past the equator.
Cheers ruptured the fabric of our universe.
I sent my eyes to the source. Saw Daniel Bustos and his lady emerging from the house after what looked like an intensely satisfying fuck session.
He blew kisses.
She jumped into the pool.
All those after sex fluids emulsifying.
I caught Blondie clapping, desperately clinging to another bottle.
Daniel took a chair beside me.
His hair cut short, halting perfectly before a pair of black opals.
“You need an idea, Lucky?” he asked.
For once, I welcomed the offer. Lit a cigarette and nodded.
“So it’s about a nun,” he said. Took a hit from my bottle and continued. “She loses her faith in the church, of course, they all do. But behind closed doors, she masturbates profusely with a crucifix.”
“So far, so good.”
“Finally, she gets caught by the mother superior –”
“ – Mother superior jumped a gun –” Blondie interrupted as he soared past us. On the way to tickle the interest of another group. Another collection of people so in love with the way he lit the skies.
I made mental note to sit him down and tell him I felt as much, before Daniel kept on with his story.
“ – So the mother superior sends her on a pilgrimage to a neighboring mission, several many miles south. And on the way she meets a man with one arm, and a three foot tall undertaker selling tomatoes on the road.”
I took a pull of wine. Waited.
He did the same.
“And?” I asked.
He laughed. High off fumes and the pleasures of sex. “That’s your problem, Lucky!”
Somehow, everyone had been listening to us, and their amusement cut through my ears.
I thought about diving into the pool, but something told me I would need to save that act for my dying years. But before some future date made its way into the present, Blondie swooped in. Whispered something into Daniel’s ear. He nodded. The pair took off.
Left me with Sonia’s eyes some five miles away from me.
I drank my wine, let myself feel imaginary.
Drank some more. Tried to avoid her eyes, memories of losing my virginity, no matter what I would tell the young man by the name of James Joyce, some several years later, down underground, a tale of sunrise spectacular.
They sky was turning a memorable copy of familiarity when they returned.
Carrying several copies of the daily press, fresh off the tumbler with last night’s ink.
The wait was over.
I broke my code, asked Sonia what was going on.
She told me what was what. Down in the alternate hemisphere that was Santiago, there was a test. Like the SATs only rather than have the results mailed, they were published in the daily paper. Every. Last. One, she said. Future laid bare for all to see.
“That’s fucking madness,” I told her.
And she responded by keeping to herself, uninterested in what the future held.
I watched as everyone else swarmed, picked up their newspaper leases and signed their names to a real daybreak. People hugged each other in random clusters, some grinning, some crying. Hopes dashed and dancing beneath strands of a cotton candy sky.
Blondie sat himself next to me.
I wondered where Daniel had gone, who had seen his exit.
“How did you do?” I asked him.
He grinned. “I’m going to be a historian,” he told me. Snatched my bottle of red and drank deep. Wiped his lips on his forearm. “Going to tell this county’s miserable story to the entire world, whether they’re willing to listen or not.”
“I love you.”
The words were devoured by the sad sobs of a girl in a pumpkin-colored shirt, smearing her tears along ink and paint. Typeset bundled in her fists, dry newspaper pressed to her face, secondary headline warning of waning exports.
Blondie rose, floated across the backyard.
Because he knew it would all be all right.
We bottlenecked our way out of the sanctuary.
It was morning now, well and true.
Decorating the peculiars of my own particular moment.
We all hugged each other, said our goodbyes.
I caught ahold of Blondie’s hand, somewhere in the tangle of limbs and temporary farewells, because,
“We’ll all be seeing each other soon,” Blondie told me, bringing me in close.
He smelled like shit. Cheap red, and the rotten brine of oysters and shellfish.
I breathed him in.
“Who knows where we’ll be when we see each other again,” he said.
I took the cigarette out of his mouth, just to be the worst person I could. “Who knows?”
And before I could tell him all there was to feel, he was off.
Down the road apiece.
He put his wild hair into a ponytail and turned the corner, same time as a tabby cat popped right back around, darted through the hole of a chainlink fence. I turned to ask Sonia if she had seen it too. Just to make sure I wasn’t going mad, only four hours before my flight.
She was long gone. A familiar sight, out of sight.
A random girl reached into my existence and kissed me.
I murmured something into her neck, and then she was gone.
So I turned my back to them and made my way up the street. Escorted by graffiti and stray dogs. Watching the sun rise over mountains caked in eternal snow. I lit a cigarette. A slow shuffle leading me towards another suitcase, another unbecoming ticket to the rest of the world.
“Things are looking up for all of them,” I said.
A passing man dressed in a grey jump suit heard me.
Figured me for a tourist.
“En esa direccion,” he said, pointing down the street.
“Gracias,” I replied.
Left the surprise of my perfect diction to leave his ears ringing
as I wandered.
Asking myself where Blondie would be the next time I saw him.
or for fucking free in digital
so long and thanks for all the pish.