I have created a new website in Wordpress: arisingworlds.com
I'm going to revisit and most likely rewrite the sections that I already posted here in Blogger, so if you have not read my posts in Blogger it would be better if you read them in arisingworlds.com because there you will find the updated versions.
Once I repost all the sections that I published here I will start posting new material in arisingworlds.com but not here.
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Monday, August 10, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Dr. Pomme, without opening his jacket, slid his hand under it and inside the inner pocket. He pulled out a hand-sized picture, unbent a corner, contemplated it for a while. For for too long, in Walters’ opinion, as if trying to spot some hidden information, elucidate some mystery in that image that he had overlooked until then. In an overly dramatic fashion, Dr. Pomme shook the picture in the air, and then he gave it to Walters.
“That’s Camila, my daughter,” Dr. Pomme said. Walters could see the blonde hair, the white dress with a tall and lacy neck, the golden necklace and the blue-cross pendant over the chest, the grey and blurred background without any discernible details, the humorless expression, no doubt a spoiled character, all full of herself. Nothing of interest to him. He could have scrunched that picture and thrown it away, and waited to receive a more interesting one. But he kept looking at it, pretending to care.
“Camila,” Walters told himself aloud. He wouldn’t remember the features or any of the details from that picture in an hour, but he might remember the name. Camila. Camila, he repeated, silently. No way, though, the name slipped out from his mind every time he tried to squeeze it in there, he would irremediably forget that name. He knew that he should be getting his notebook out and writing down the name, scribbling a couple of notes, but sometimes it was better, more liberating, to completely forget about some particular things.
“Yes, Camila,” Dr. Pomme said and he started to walk towards the canal. Jameson first, and then Walters, followed Dr. Pomme.
The courtyard ended by the canal without any barrier or interruption, the slabs paving the courtyard simply transitioned into a smooth border, one foot over the water. As he got closer to the border, Walters saw that the packed reeds covered the farther half of the canal surface. Tall, seeded and exuberant against the pink wall, decreasingly shorter and more feeble towards the center of the canal, where large masses of brown algae seemed to grow from below, as if stretching out with predatory tentacles to kill and consume the debilitated stalks, secreting slimy bubbles that surfaced and accumulated in large patches and gave the whole canal an impression of rotting from the inside out. The hectic movement of the tadpoles and similarly sized fish, if you looked at them long enough, would however make you realize that life was plethoric under the water, and that those creatures slithered through the algal habitat very willingly, feeding on the surrounding structures while procuring themselves with protection from the large fish roaming the canals, the catfish, the bass, the pike, those ones with the yellow stripes Walters couldn’t remember the name of.
"Do you see over there?" Dr. Pomme asked, pointing to the center of the canal.
"What, that piece of cloth?" Walters said. It was a bundle of white lace, most of it lying on a bed of reddish algae, one end immersed in the water. Despite being completely soaked, the fabric retained a pure and pearly white. It was easy sometimes to forget how clean the water was in some canals, when reeds, algae, the occasional piece of trash, and some amount of shade combined to create an impression of utter filth, of floating and sticky mud. Just an impression, an unfounded apprehensiveness. Mainly a preconception originated from the fear, especially from the local inhabitants, about all the unknown creatures that could loom from the bottom, with all their defecations, oozing and diseasing.
"Yes," Dr. Pomme said, "it's one of Camila's shawls."
"OK," Walters said in a quiet voice. There must be something of relevance about that wet bundle, he thought. Something beyond a shawl that belonged to a woman depicted in a picture. He just had to wait, in a second Dr. Pomme would explain the importance of the shawl, of him being there. Maybe Dr. Pomme would even illuminate him, as if he knew Walters in all sorts of detail, being able to explain the intricate reasons why he felt displaced from a position of purpose, of security; Walters could only hope. He entertained the idea, for a moment, of being summoned across the city to jump into that canal just to retrieve that shawl. Not really against it. In fact, he wouldn’t have minded that at all, especially if paid for it, to hear the words “Just go and fetch me that shawl, will you?” He would diligently do so, handle the shawl to Dr. Pomme, be shown the door, disappear into the city with some greens in his pocket, a ghost that once again everyone would ignore. Nothing wrong with that.
“It was there this morning. There was also a little of blood right there,” Dr. Pomme said, indicating with his hand the area on the canal border that was the closest to the shawl. The blood was already gone. "How much was 'a little,' anyway?" Walters thought. Blood. Blood. He repeated the word several times in his mind and it sounded like cotton. Blood. Funny how lately he kept envisioning this image in which blood flowed generously, as if reaching out to complete a frame and transmute the background into velvety red. It was inside a cabin but he somehow knew that, outside, immersed in a weakening storm, the hull, which had recently been painted with a dull black, advanced slowly, and that in the bridge, behind the wheel, the four golden ducados nailed into the wood shined like tropical butterflies. In the cabin. His own blood on his hands, trickling down his wrists, blood that emanated from an arm or his torso, flowing like mountain brooks running into each other. He would place his hands over his forehead again and he felt the warmth, the pounding. He tried not to look at the body on the floor. There was nothing to do, he just had to wait until the waters would settle down again, if ever. He could go upstairs and jump over the gunwale and let the ocean clean him, cure him, allow him to forget. But he accepted that he deserved the blow, and the last thing he could offer to his assailant right then was to bleed, sit down in the cabin and suffer the certainty that most things would never be the same again.
"I would want you to look into the canal," Dr. Pomme said and he immediately frowned. Even Walters could see that Dr. Pomme was harshly disappointed with the delivery of that request. He must have rehearsed that line several times in his head before summoning it, but regardless of whether he had worded it as intended or he had improvised on the last second, he was clearly unpleased with the result. He had intended to say and express something else altogether. His words lacked any sense of urgency, there wasn’t any spark of love in his voice, and he must have felt that the moral distance that separated him from this idiot in ridiculous clothes had shrunk very unpleasantly.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
The dead body flew into the air in an expected parabola and landed on the top of the pile. An impactful meter of cadavers thrown in and piled without any respect. Somewhere underground, somewhere under Memphis. The two men waited a few seconds to make sure that that last body stayed on top of the pile. Blood was still pouring from the bullet holes on the chest and the neck, oozing down the arm, slowly reaching the dangling fingertips, falling on the white dress that covered another body. To some, that pile would be a match that would ignite the rivers underneath, a fire that would catch up across Memphis and blackened the sky, all the canals would burn as if they only carried oil, and in hours of purification a new Memphis would be born.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
FlashFlood: 'The Beach at Night' by Javier delBarco-Trillo: I’m just a boy, that’s the simple truth. Most nights I wander on the beach and I am the only one. I kneel by an overturned boat. I dig by its side...
at 4:49 AM
Friday, June 26, 2015
The sun was still high in the sky, unbothered by clouds and heating up the air, every second, every breath that Walters took. The three men were now in the center of the courtyard, where it seemed to Walters that the sun was the most intense. Running his hand through his hair didn't wipe away the accumulated heat on his scalp. At least, they were standing on an area of the courtyard that had been watered recently. A cool embrace climbed from the ground and licked his hands any time he was able to leave his arms at ease. It was unlikely that it had rained, they must have watered, Walters told himself again. Quite a lot. But if they had done it to cool down the courtyard, why were there several dry sections here and there?
In a depression in the slab of paving stone next to his right foot, a puddle remained. There were bubbles of soap. Cleaning the courtyard, then, not just hosing it down. Walters put his sole over the bubbles, held his foot in that position for a while, and then pressed down slowly, the soapy water extending beyond the depression, rewetting dry sections of the slab.
"What is it that we're doing here again?" Walters asked. The old servant seemed surprised by the voice of the stranger, and clearly annoyed by the question, but Jameson replied in an accommodating, almost friendly intonation: "Dr. Pomme will be here shortly."
Walters dropped his equipment bag between two small puddles. The old servant threw another disgusted look at Walters, who this time was too busy looking around to notice. After counting the number of small windows on the pink wall, there was the counting of the number of bricks between the bottom of a window and the tallest of the reeds. There was also a large puddle at the end of the courtyard by the canal and several sparrows were taking baths, shaking their bodies, flying away.
The sound of a door opening behind Walters. Jameson and the old servant turned immediately to face the stairs. Walters turned his torso but not his legs, and then his neck even further, and saw the voluminous Dr. Pomme in a white suit, dealing with the stairs one step at a time, with his body slightly sideways, his right hip leading his way. After conquering his descent, Dr. Pomme stopped to pull down his jacket and to arrange his tie. Without moving, he looked at the group of three in the middle of the courtyard. He then tried to portray a smile but gave up almost immediately.
As Dr. Pomme approached them, Walters noticed the ripples in the fabric, and how the oversized upper body was as delicately as possible encased in the resplendent summer suit. Walters could imagine Dr. Pomme eating popcorn shrimp from a bucket. He wouldn't mind sharing the bucket, dipping the shrimp in the hot sauce, consuming the gentle flesh, and then a gulp of cold beer.
"Dr. Pomme, this is Mr. Walters" Jameson said, and Walters shook the extended hand of Dr. Pomme, spotty and significantly larger than his.
Dr. Pomme nodded. "I'm glad you were able to come in such a short notice," he said.
"You're welcome," Walters said. Probably that was the wrong thing to say, he thought.
"I really appreciate you coming here."
This time Walters simply smiled, and glanced at Jameson, whose face was expressionless, distant.
A few seconds in which Dr. Pomme looked at Walters without saying anything, and Walters tapped his back pocket. He felt the notebook. If he were by himself, he would pull the notebook out and reread the last written pages. If he were by himself, and safe, he would be sitting in his balcony, the glass of bourbon on the arm of the chair, nobody around, at most just voices of people in the distance, impossible to understand their meanings, just sounds, speckles in the fabric of the city.
"Could you please make sure that everything is sorted out for this evening?” Dr. Pomme asked the old servant, who nodded and departed towards the building, not at all insulted by the obvious dismissal, relieved, ready to attend to more important tasks.
“Should I go too? Maybe you want to speak to Dr. Walters in private?” Jameson asked. Dr. Pomme shook his head, said ‘no’ a few times while tapping Jameson’s shoulder.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
From the basement level, a labyrinth that contained the kitchen and the other service rooms, a flight of stairs ascended directly to a columned lobby. Only a few worn steps separated the plain and bare walls, and the cheap, functional furniture of downstairs from the extravagance and elegant details of that lobby. Walters first noticed the surrounding, suffocating light entering from the large expansions of glass on the ceiling and the four walls, then the touches of green throughout, and the sparkles, finally once again that feeling of uneasiness creeping up his back, his neck, and then exploding in his head, that uneasiness that kept coming and leaving through him, only a few seconds at a time, a scurrying creature entering him, heating him, but then sliding away.
The old servant and Jameson, shoulder to shoulder, crossed the lobby without titillation, almost speeding up their pace, their hard soles hitting the marbled floor with a martial rhythm. Walters was impressed by those large panelled windows inviting the sun without restrain, shining on the oriental vases around the walls, the metallic fixtures, and a trophy cabinet filled with silver and gold. At one extreme of the lobby an elongated tapestry hung from the wall, and Walters had only three seconds to inspect it before he followed the two men into a corridor. There were birds flying around a naked woman, a cross formed by roses, and a blue eye on the top, all of it in darken, fading colors. “Why an eye?” Walters thought, the lobby already behind, now following Jameson and the old servant along the corridor, where a long succession of portraits were meticulously aligned on one wall, all of those white men in dark clothes, over dark backgrounds, looking through the oversized windows on the other side of the corridor, sheets of glass from floor to ceiling, only partly covered by thick, red-satin curtains. That uneasiness again, but soon gone when Walters remembered “Why an eye?” He was convinced he used to know.
“He will meet us in the courtyard in a few minutes,” the old servant said to Jameson as they kept walking. The movement of the old servant, with his head protruding strangely forward and his body swinging sideways around his waist, reminded Walters of a pelican. Somewhere on a beach. Wobbly most of the time, magnificent when standing on one of the poles in the deck over the beach, looking at the horizon, its feet large and elastic. The traces of bourbon on the sides of his tongue. Long feathers sticking out from the neck of the pelican. A thunderous sky, but beautiful clouds. Her hair escaping from under and over the pineapple bandana. The pelican, maybe its name was "Roundy," on the center of the deck among all of them sitting on folding chairs and holding full glasses of bourbon, its eyes prospecting its audience, and that woman threw a piece of raw fish into the air and before the piece started its descent it disappeared and the pelican shook its head and danced on the spot, glancing at those humans, their hands, which one of them would contain the next morsel, usually the woman.
At the end of the corridor there were four pairs of French doors, flowers and leafy motifs carved on the glass panels. The old servant opened one of the doors and waited until Jameson and Walters went through it. Outdoors again, a few stoned stairs led to a ridiculously monumental, square courtyard, the centerpiece for social events. Two sides of the courtyard were walled by the two wings of the main building. A third side was lined with arches overlaid with ivy beyond which there was a geometrical garden. The fourth side, opposite to the stairs that the three men were now descending, was delimited in all its length by a canal. Another mansion, built with pink stone, stood at the other side of that canal. Several generations of reeds had populated the far side of the canal and covered the first two meters of the pink wall, as if the canal were trying to escape its confinement and climb to the top of the building and over the city.
Friday, June 5, 2015
The only maid working in the kitchen at that time had stopped slicing potatoes to stuff some pulled pork and some shreds of cabbage in a hardened piece of bread, and placed the improvised food in front of Walters, without a plate, directly on the table still wet with the sticky juice of recently sliced potatoes. Crumbs scattered around him every time that Walters managed to put his mouth around the chunk of bread and take a bite. Large bites filling up his mouth. The maid came back with a glass of milk, which he also consumed as if devouring was the only line of action, nothing in the immediate future beyond that. After swallowing his last mouthful, he let out a pleasant sigh, all of a sudden he experienced a very positive feeling of hope. This feeling dissipated soon, but gradually, without him noticing.
"Have you seen any blue boxes?" he asked, turning on his chair and facing the maid, who was standing at the back of the kitchen, pretending to dry a porcelain jar with her apron, looking at him with the intensity born from fear.
"No," she said. "What are they?" She added, glancing at the door that Jameson had closed on his way out some minutes ago.
"Well, you know, blue foxes," Walters said. "They run around town, and they disappear, like dreams after you wake up, I guess, and they have blue eyes for the most part, you see."
She shook her head and, in a habitual but thoughtless motion, found her pendant with her fingers, the blue cross of the methodists, and caressed the borders, her thumb rubbing in circular motions the pentagonal relief in the center of the cross. She knew somehow that this strange man was not a methodist. He didn't even look like a baptist, this man, which she thought was even worse than being in the presence of a baptist. A Southerner, but not from here, not from Memphis, an outsider, he couldn't possibly understand the tension in Memphis, the fear of some, although her priest kept saying that these were the days that would be remembered, the days in which a purer Memphis would raise from the filth of yore, from the lies of our enemies; finally, our own shadows had been wrapped over our shoulders for too long. She liked the sound of "would raise," like birds hiding in the reeds suddenly exploding and flying into the air. Raising. Raising, raising.
"Can I have some more milk, please?" Walters asked, holding up his empty glass.
While she was pouring the milk, Walters noticed that the maid was looking at his neck. It itched, his neck, but he was not going to scratch it again, at some point he had to stop, relax, have a deep breath and just focus on the surroundings, on the drops of milk on the sides of the glass, the color of her eyes, brown, the garlic braid hanging from a hook, only seven bulbs left... Three, four, five, six, seven, the regular pattern of the bricks, and the window over the sink, overlooking a small yard, if the window were smaller and round it would be like a porthole, with tiny fish swimming on the other side, silvery, vivacious, he trapped under the rubble, his right leg possibly smashed, the motion of his arms limited to his hands and wrists, his face right in front of the porthole, almost forced to look at those silvery fish, waiting for some other creature to sail by behind that round piece of glass, waiting until his air would run out and he would die, but then such creature appeared, first a cloud coming out from the darkness, wavering, then the two masses of hair stepping forward, framing a disgusted face, the eyes behind the diving mask full of resolution.
"You ain't from Memphis, right?" the maid asked.
He was going to answer that no, not really, not yet in any case, but the door was opened with a sonorous snap and Jameson came into the kitchen followed by an old servant in an impeccable suit.
“Dr. Pomme is waiting, are you ready?" Jameson asked.
Walters nodded and stood up. He was still very unsure about why he was there, but he followed Jameson and the old servant, grabbing an apple from a basket by the door in his way out, leaving the kitchen and entering into the entrails of a blue fox, he thought.