Jul 29, 2009

"AN HONEST-TO-GOD MAN if ever there was one, General Diego Carvajal, and a lover of literature and the arts, although as he said himself, he didn't learn to read until he was eighteen years old. The life he led, boys! I said. If I started to tell you about him I could keep going all night and we would need more tequila, it would take a whole carton of Los Suicidas mezcal for me to be able to give you some idea of that black hole in the Mexican firmament. The blazing black hole! Jet-black, they said. Jet-black, that's right, boys, I said, jet-black. And one of them said I'll go right now and buy another bottle of tequila. And I said off you go, and drawing energy from the past I got up and hauled myself (like lightning, or the idea of lighting) along the dark hallways of my apartment to the kitchen and I opened all the cupboards in search of an unlikely bottle of Los Suicidas, although I knew very well there weren't any left, muttering and cursing, rummaging among the cans of soup that my sons bring me every so often, among the useless junk, finally accepting the bitter truth, up to my ears in ghosts, and I chose some little things to stave off hunger: a few packages of peanuts, a can of chipotle chilies, a package of crackers, and I brought them back at the speed of a World War I cruiser, a cruiser lost in the mists of some river delta, I don't know, lost, anyway, since the truth is that my steps didn't lead to the living room but to my bedroom. For goodness's sake, Amadeo, I said to myself, you must be drunker than you thought, lost in the fog, with only a little paper lantern hanging from my forward guns, but I didn't panic and I found the way, step by step, tinkling my little bell, ship on the river, warship lost at the mouth of the river of history, an the honest ruth is that by then I was walking as if I were doing the heel-toe step, whether it's still something anyone does I don't know, I hope not, touching the heel of th left foot to the toe of the right and then the heel of the right foot to the toe of the left, a ridiculous step but one that had its day, don't ask me when, probably while Miguel Aleman was president, I danced at some point, we've all done foolish things, and then I heard the door slam and then voices and I said to myself Amadeo stop being an ass and make your way towards the voices, part the mists of this river with your rust-eaten prow and return to your friends, and that's what i did, and I made it to the front room, my arms overflowing with snaks, and the boys were in the front room, sitting there waiting for me, and one of them had brought two bottles of tequila. Ah, what a relief to come into the light, even when it's a shadowy half-light, what a relief to come where it's clear."

-- Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives