"Dobbiamo impare a determinare la nostra rotta secondo le stelle, non seguendo le luci di ogni nave che passa."
martedì 1 dicembre 2015
Prefiguration of Lalo Cura
It’s hard to
believe, but I was born in a neighborhood called Los Empalados: The
Impaled. The name glows like the moon. The name opens a way through the
dream with its horn, and man follows that path. A quaking path.
Invariably harsh. The path that leads into or out of Hell. That’s what
it all comes down to. Getting closer to Hell or farther away. Me, for
example, I’ve had people killed. I’ve given the best birthday presents.
I’ve backed projects of epic proportions. I’ve opened my eyes in the
dark. Once, I opened them by slow degrees in total darkness, and all I
saw or imagined was that name: Los Empalados, shining like the star of
I’ll tell you
everything, naturally. My father was a renegade priest. I don’t know if
he was Colombian or from some other country. But he was Latin American.
He turned up one night in Medellín, stone broke, preaching sermons in
bars and whorehouses. Some thought he was working for the secret police,
but my mother kept him from getting killed and took him to her
penthouse in the neighborhood. They lived together for four months, I’ve
been told, and then my father vanished into the Gospels. Latin America
was calling him, and he kept slipping away into the sacrificial words
until he vanished, gone without a trace. Whether he was Catholic or
Protestant is something I’ll never find out now. I know that he was
alone and that he moved among the masses, fevered and loveless, full of
passion and empty of hope.
was named Olegario when I was born, but people have always called me
Lalo. My father was known as El Cura, the priest, and that’s what my
mother wrote down under “surname” on my birth certificate. It’s my
official name. Olegario Cura. I was even baptized into the Catholic
faith. She was a dreamer, my mother. Connie Sánchez was her name, and if
you weren’t so young and innocent it would ring a bell. She was one of
the stars of the Olimpo Movie Production Company. The other two stars
were Doris Sánchez, my mother’s younger sister, and Monica Farr, née
Leticia Medina, from Valparaíso. Three good friends. The Olimpo Movie
Production Company specialized in pornography, and although the business
was more or less illegal and operated in a distinctly hostile
environment, it lasted until the mid-eighties.
guy in charge was a multitalented German, Helmut Bittrich, who worked
as the company’s manager, director, set designer, composer, publicist,
and, occasionally, thug. Sometimes he even acted, under the name
Abelardo Bello. He was a weird guy, Bittrich. No one ever saw him with
an erection. He liked to lift weights at the Health and Friendship Gym,
but he wasn’t gay. It’s just that in the movies he never fucked anyone.
Male or female. If you’re interested, you can find him playing a Peeping
Tom, a schoolteacher, a spy in a seminary—always a modest, minor role.
What he liked best was playing a doctor. A German doctor, of course,
although most of the time he didn’t even open his mouth: he was Dr.
Silence. The blue-eyed doctor hidden behind a conveniently located
had a house on the outskirts of Medellín, where the neighborhood of Los
Empalados borders the wasteland, El Gran Baldío. The cottage in the
movies. The house of solitude, which later became the house of crime,
out there on its own, among clumps of trees and blackberry bushes.
Connie used to take me. I’d stay in the yard playing with the dogs and
the geese, which the German reared there as if they were his children.
There were flowers growing wild among the weeds and the dogs’ dirt
holes. In the course of a regular morning, ten or fifteen people would
go into that house. Although the windows were shut, I could hear the
moans coming from inside. Sometimes there was laughter, too. At
lunchtime Connie and Doris would bring a folding table out into the back
yard and set it up under a tree, and the employees of the Olimpo Movie
Production Company would dive into the canned food that Bittrich heated
up on a gas burner. They ate directly from the cans or off paper plates.
Once, I went into the kitchen to help, and when I opened the cupboards
all I found were enema tubes, hundreds of enema tubes lined up as if for
a military parade. Everything in the kitchen was fake. There were no
real plates, no real knives and forks, no real pots and pans. That’s
what it’s like in the movies, Bittrich said, watching me with those blue
eyes of his. (They scared me then, but thinking of them now I just feel
sad.) The kitchen was fake. Everything in the house was fake. Who
sleeps here at night? I asked. Sometimes Uncle Helmut does, Connie
replied. Uncle Helmut stays here to look after the dogs and the geese
and get on with his work. Editing his homemade movies. Homemade, but the
business was booming: the films went out to Germany, Holland, and
Switzerland. Some copies stayed in Latin America and others were sold in
the United States, but most of them went to Europe, where Bittrich had
his main client base. Maybe that’s why he did voice-overs in German,
narrating the various scenes. Like a travel journal for sleepwalkers.
The obsession with mother’s milk was another European peculiarity. When
Connie was pregnant with me, she went on working. And Bittrich made
lacto-porn. Along the lines of Milch and Pregnant Fantasies, aimed at
men who believe or make believe that women lactate during pregnancy.
With her eight-month bulge, Connie squeezed her breasts and the milk
flowed like lava. She leaned over Pajarito Gómez or Sansón Fernández, or
both of them, and gave them a good swig. That was one of the German’s
tricks; Connie had never had milk. Or only a little bit, for two weeks,
maybe three, just enough to give me a taste. Actually, the movies were
like Pregnant Fantasies, not so much like Milch. There’s Connie, big and
blond, with me curled up inside her, laughing as she lubricates
Pajarito Gómez’s asshole with Vaseline. She already has the sure,
delicate touch of a mother. My moron of a father has left her, and there
she is, with Doris and Monica Farr, the three of them smiling on and
off, exchanging looks and subtle signals or secrets among themselves,
while Pajarito stares at my mother’s belly as if in a hypnotic trance.
The mystery of life in Latin America. Like a little bird charmed by the
gaze of a snake. The Force is with me, I thought, the first time I saw
that movie, at the age of nineteen, crying my eyes out, grinding my
teeth, holding the sides of my head, the Force is with me. All dreams
are real. I wanted to believe that when those cocks had gone as far into
my mother as they could, they came up against my eyes. I often dreamed
about that: my sealed, translucent eyes swimming in the black soup of
life. Life? No: the dealing that imitates life. My squinting eyes, like
the snake hypnotizing the little bird. You get the picture: a kid’s
silly celluloid fantasies. All fake, as Bittrich used to say. And he was
right, as he almost always was. That’s why the girls adored him. They
were glad to have the German around; they could always count on him for
friendly advice and comfort.
girls: Connie, Doris, and Monica. Three good friends lost in the mists
of time. Connie had tried to make it on Broadway. Even in the hardest
years, I don’t think she ever gave up on the possibility of happiness.
There in New York she met Monica Farr, and they shared their hardships
and hopes. They cleaned hotel rooms, sold their blood, turned tricks.
Always looking for a break, walking around the city hooked up to the
same Walkman—typical dancers, a little bit thinner and closer together
with every passing day. Chorus girls. Looking for Bob Fosse.
a party thrown by some Colombians, they met Bittrich, who was passing
through New York with a batch of his merchandise. They talked until
dawn. No sex, just music and words. They cast their dice that night on
Seventh Avenue, the Prussian artist and the Latin-American whores. That
was where it was all decided. In some of my nightmares, I see myself
resting in Limbo and then I hear, distantly at first, the sound of dice
on the pavement. I open my eyes and I scream. Something changed forever
that morning. The bond of friendship took hold like the plague. Then
Connie and Monica Farr got an acting job in Panama, where they were
thoroughly exploited. The German paid for their tickets to Medellín,
which was home to Connie and as good a place as any for Monica. Doris,
who went to meet them at the airport, took photos of them descending the
steps. Connie and Monica are wearing sunglasses and tight pants.
They’re not very tall, but they’re well proportioned. The Medellín sun
is casting long shadows across an airstrip devoid of planes, except for
one in the background, emerging from a hangar. There are no clouds in
the sky. Connie and Monica display their teeth. Drink Coca-Cola in the
taxi line and strike provocative, turbulent poses. Atmospheric and
terrestrial turbulence. Their attitude suggests that they have come
straight from New York, surrounded by mystery. Then a very young Doris
appears beside them. The three of them hugging, photographed by an
obliging stranger leaning against a taxi’s bumper, while the driver
inside looks on, so old and worn it’s hard to believe he’s real.
begin the most passionate adventures. A month later, they are already
shooting the first movie: “Hecatomb.” While the world is in turmoil, the
German shoots “Hecatomb.” A film about the turmoil of the spirit. A
saint in prison remembers nights of plenitude and fucking. Connie and
Monica do it with four guys who look like shadows. Doris walks along the
bank of a weakly flowing river accompanied by Bittrich’s largest goose.
The night is unusually starry. At dawn, Doris comes across Pajarito
Gómez and they start making love in the back part of Bittrich’s house.
There is a great fluttering of geese. Connie and Monica at a window,
clapping. The lobster-red cock of the saint shines with semen. The End.
The credits appear over the image of a sleeping policeman. Bittrich’s
sense of humor. His movies amused drug lords and businessmen. The
ordinary guys—the gunmen and the messengers—didn’t understand them;
they’d have been happy to blow the German away.
movie: “Kundalini.” A rancher’s wake. While the mourners weep and drink
coffee with aguardiente, Connie enters a dark room full of farming
implements. Two guys—one disguised as a bull and one as a condor—jump
out of an enormous wardrobe. They proceed to force Connie’s front and
rear entries. Connie’s lips curve into the shape of a letter. Monica and
Doris feel each other up in the kitchen. Then paddocks full of cattle
and a man approaching with difficulty, pushing his way through the cows.
It’s Pajarito Gómez. He never arrives: the following scene shows him
stretched out in the mud, among cowpats and hooves. Monica and Doris rim
each other on a big white bed. The dead rancher opens his eyes. He sits
up and climbs out of his coffin, to the horror and amazement of his
family and friends. Covered by the bull and the condor, Connie
pronounces the word “kundalini.” The cows escape from the paddocks, and
the credits appear over the abandoned, gradually darkening body of
movie: “Impluvium.” Two beggars drag sacks along a dirt road. They
reach the back yard of Bittrich’s house. There they find Monica Farr,
naked, and chained in an upright position. The beggars empty the sacks:
an abundant collection of sexual instruments made of steel and leather.
The beggars put on masks with phallic protuberances, and, kneeling down,
one in front of Monica, one behind, they penetrate her, moving their
heads in a way that is, to say the least, ambiguous. It’s hard to tell
whether they’re excited or whether the masks are suffocating them. Lying
on an army cot, Pajarito Gómez smokes a cigarette. On another cot, the
conscript Sansón Fernández is jerking off. The camera pans slowly over
Monica’s face: she is crying. The beggars depart, dragging their sacks
down a miserable, unpaved street. Still chained, Monica shuts her eyes
and seems to fall asleep. She dreams of the masks, the latex noses, the
pair of old carcasses who could barely hold a breath of air and yet were
so enthusiastic in the performance of their task. Supernatural
carcasses emptied of all the essentials. Then Monica gets dressed, walks
through the center of Medellín, and is invited to an orgy, where she
meets Connie and Doris; they kiss one another and smile, and talk about
what they’ve been doing. Pajarito Gómez, half dressed in fatigues, has
fallen asleep. When the orgy is over, before it gets dark, the owner of
the house wants to show them his most prized possession. The girls
follow their host to a garden covered with a metal and glass canopy. The
man’s bejewelled finger indicates something at the far end. The girls
examine a concrete swimming pool in the shape of a coffin. When they
lean over the edge, they see their faces reflected in the water. Then
dusk falls, and the beggars come to an area where big cargo ships are
docked. The music, performed by a band of kettledrummers, gets louder,
more sinister and ominous, until the storm finally breaks.
adored sound effects like that. Thunder in the mountains, the sizzle of
lightning, splintering trees, rain against windowpanes. He collected
them on high-quality tapes. He said this was to make his movies
atmospheric, but in fact it was just because he liked the effects. The
full range of sounds that rain makes in a forest. The rhythmic or random
sibilance of the wind and the sea. Sounds to make you feel alone,
sounds to make your hair stand on end. His great treasure was the roar
of a hurricane. I heard it as a kid. The actors were drinking coffee
under a tree, and Bittrich, away from the others, looking pasty, the way
he did when he’d been working too hard, was toying with an enormous
German tape player. Now you’re going to hear the hurricane from inside,
he said. At first I couldn’t hear anything. I think I was expecting a
God Almighty, earsplitting racket, so I was disappointed when all I
could hear was a kind of intermittent whirling. An intermittent ripping.
Like a propeller made of meat. Then I heard voices; it wasn’t the
hurricane, of course, but the pilots of a plane flying in its eye. Hard
voices talking in Spanish and English. Bittrich was smiling as he
listened. Then I heard the hurricane again, and this time I really heard
it. Emptiness. A vertical bridge and emptiness, emptiness, emptiness.
I’ll never forget the smile on Bittrich’s face. It was as if he were
weeping. Is that all? I asked, not wanting to admit that I’d had enough.
That’s all, Bittrich said, fascinated by the silently turning reels.
Then he stopped the tape player, closed it up very carefully, went
inside with the others, and got back to work.
movie: “Ferryman.” From the ruins, you might guess it’s about life in
Latin America after the Third World War. The girls wander through
garbage dumps, along deserted paths. Then there’s a broad, gently
flowing river. Pajarito Gómez and two other guys play cards by the light
of a candle. The girls come to an inn where the men are carrying guns.
They make love with them all, one after the other. They look out from
the bushes at the river and a few pieces of wood tied clumsily together.
Pajarito Gómez is the ferryman—at least, that’s what everyone calls
him—but he doesn’t budge from the table. He holds the best cards. The
villains remark on how well he’s playing. What a good player the
ferryman is. What good luck the ferryman has. Gradually, the supplies
begin to run short. The cook and the kitchen hand torture Doris,
penetrating her with the handles of enormous butcher knives. Hunger
reigns over the inn: some stay in bed, others wander through the bushes
looking for food. While the men fall ill one by one, the girls scribble
in their diaries as if possessed. Desperate pictograms. Images of the
river superimposed on images of a never-ending orgy. The end is
predictable. The men dress the women up as chickens, make them do their
tricks, and then proceed to eat them at a feather-strewn banquet. The
bones of Connie, Monica, and Doris lie on the inn’s patio. Pajarito
Gómez plays another hand of poker. He wears his luck like a
close-fitting glove. The camera is behind him, and the viewer can see
the cards he’s holding. They are blank. The credits appear over the
corpses of all the actors. Three seconds before the end of the film, the
river changes color, turning jet black. That one was especially deep,
Doris used to say. It illustrates the sad fate of artists in the porn
industry: first we’re ruthlessly exploited, then we’re devoured by
seems to have made “Ferryman” to compete with the cannibal-porn videos
that were starting to cause a stir at the time. But it isn’t hard to see
that the film’s real center is Pajarito Gómez sitting in the gambling
den. Pajarito Gómez, who could generate a kind of inner vibration that
burned his image into the viewer’s eyes. A great actor wasted by life,
our life—yours and mine, my friends. But the movies Bittrich made live
on, unsullied. And so does Pajarito Gómez, holding those dusty cards,
with his dirty hands and his dirty neck, his eternally half-closed
eyelids, vibrating on and on. Pajarito Gómez, an emblematic figure in
the pornography of the nineteen-eighties. He wasn’t particularly well
endowed or muscular, he didn’t appeal to the target audience for that
kind of movie. He looked like Walter Abel. He had no experience when
Bittrich dragged him out of the gutter and put him in front of a camera:
it came so naturally it’s hard to believe. Pajarito had this continuous
vibration, and watching him, sooner or later, depending on your powers
of resistance, you’d be transfixed by the energy emanating from that
scrap of a man, who looked so feeble. So unprepossessing, so
undernourished. So strangely triumphant. The preëminent porn actor in
Bittrich’s Colombian cycle. The best when it came to playing dead and
the best when it came to playing vacant. He was also the only member of
the German’s cast who survived. By 1999, Pajarito Gómez was the only one
still alive; the rest had been killed or had succumbed to disease.
Sansón Fernández died of AIDS.
Praxíteles Barrionuevo died in the Hole of Bogotá. Ernesto San Román
was stabbed to death in the Areanea sauna in Medellín. Alvarito Fuentes
died of AIDS in the Cartago jail. All of them young guys
with supersized cocks. Frank Moreno, shot to death in Panama. Oscar
Guillermo Montes, shot to death in Puerto Berrío. David Salazar, known
as the Anteater, shot to death in Palmira. Victims of vendettas or
fortuitous brawls. Evelio Latapia, hanged in a hotel room in Popayán.
Carlos José Santelices, stabbed by strangers in an alley in Maracaibo.
Reinaldo Hermosilla, last seen in El Progreso, Honduras. Dionisio
Aurelio Pérez, shot to death in a bar in Mexico City. Maximiliano Moret,
drowned in the Marañón River. Ten-to-twelve-inch cocks, sometimes so
long they couldn’t get them up. Young mestizos, blacks, whites,
Indians—sons of Latin America, whose only assets were a pair of balls
and a member tanned by exposure to the elements or, by some weird freak
of nature, miraculously pink.
sadness of the phallus was something that Bittrich understood better
than anyone. I mean the sadness of those monumental members against the
backdrop of this vast and desolate continent. For example, Oscar
Guillermo Montes in a scene from a movie I’ve forgotten the rest of:
he’s naked from the waist down, his penis hangs flaccid and dripping.
Behind the actor, a landscape unfolds: mountains, ravines, rivers,
forests, towering clouds, a city, perhaps a volcano, a desert. Oscar
Guillermo Montes perched on a high ridge, an icy breeze playing with a
lock of his hair. That’s all. It’s like a poem by Tablada, isn’t it? But
you’ve never heard of Tablada. Neither had Bittrich, and it doesn’t
matter, really, it’s all there in that image—I must have the tape around
somewhere—the loneliness I was talking about. Impossible geography,
impossible anatomy. What was Bittrich aiming for with that sequence? Was
he trying to justify amnesia, our amnesia? Or to portray Oscar
Guillermo Montes’s weary eyes? Or did he just want to show us an
uncircumcised penis dripping in the continent’s immensity? Or to give an
impression of useless grandeur: handsome young men without shame,
marked for sacrifice, fated to disappear into the immensity of chaos?
only one who always got away was the amateur Pajarito Gómez, whose
endowment extended, after plenty of work, to a maximum length of seven
inches. The German flirted with death—what the hell did he care about
death?—he flirted with solitude and with black holes, but he never tried
anything with Pajarito. Elusive and uncontrollable, Pajarito came into
the camera’s scope as if he had just happened to be passing by and
stopped for a look. Then he began to vibrate, full on, and the viewers,
whether they were solitary jerk-off artists or businessmen who used the
videos to liven up the décor, barely intending to glance at the screen,
were transfixed by that scrawny creature’s moods. Pajarito Gómez
emanated prostatic fluid! That was something different, something that
far exceeded the German’s lucubrations. And Bittrich knew it, so when
Pajarito appeared in a scene there were usually no additional effects,
no music or sounds of any kind, nothing to distract the viewer from what
really mattered—the hieratic Pajarito Gómez, sucked or sucking, fucking
or fucked, but always vibrating, as if unawares. The German’s
protectors were deeply suspicious of that talent; they’d have preferred
to see Pajarito working in the central market unloading trucks,
ruthlessly exploited until the day he disappeared. They wouldn’t have
been able to explain what it was that they didn’t like about him; they
just had a vague sense that he was a guy who could attract bad luck and
make people feel ill at ease.
when I remember my childhood, I wonder how Bittrich must have felt
about his protectors. He respected the drug lords; after all, they put
up the money, and, like all good Europeans, he respected money, a
reference point in the midst of chaos. But the corrupt police and Army
officers—what would he have thought of them, Bittrich, a German, who
read history books in his spare time? They must have seemed so
ludicrous; he must have had such a good laugh at them, at night, after
those unruly meetings. Monkeys in S.S. uniforms, that’s what they were.
Alone in his house, surrounded by his videos and his amazing sounds, he
must have laughed and laughed. And they were the ones who wanted to get
rid of Pajarito, those monkeys, with their sixth sense. Those pathetic,
odious monkeys thought they could tell him, a German director in
permanent exile, whom he should and shouldn’t be hiring. Imagine
Bittrich after one of those meetings, in the dark house in Los
Empalados, after everyone else has gone, drinking rum and smoking
Mexican Delicados in the biggest room, the one he uses as his study and
bedroom. On the table there are paper cups with dregs of whiskey in
them. Two or three videotapes sit on top of the TV, the latest from the
Olimpo Movie Production Company. Diaries and torn-out pages covered with
figures: salaries, bribes, bonuses. Pocket money. And the words of the
police commissioner, the Air Force lieutenant, and the colonel from
military intelligence still floating in the air: We don’t want that jinx
anywhere near the company. When people see him in our films, their
stomachs turn. It’s bad taste to have that slug fucking the girls. And
Bittrich let them speak, he observed them silently, and then he did what
he liked. After all, they were only porn videos; it’s not as if there
were serious profits at stake.
Gómez. A quiet and reserved sort of guy, but for some mysterious reason
the girls were especially fond of him. In the course of their
professional duties, they all got to lay him, and it left them with a
curious feeling, hard to say just what it was, but they were all ready
to do it again. I guess being with Pajarito was like being nowhere.
Doris ended up even living with him for a while, but it didn’t work out.
Doris and Pajarito: for six months they went back and forth between the
Hotel Aurora, which is where he lived, and the apartment on Avenida de
los Libertadores where she lived. It was too good to last—you know how
it is: singular spirits can bear only so much love, so much perfection
stumbled on by chance. Maybe if Doris hadn’t been such a bombshell, and
if she’d been mute, and if Pajarito had never vibrated . . . Things
finally fell apart during the shooting of “Cocaine,” one of Bittrich’s
worst movies. But they stayed friends until the end.
years later, when they were all dead, I tracked down Pajarito. He was
living in a tiny one-room apartment, on a street that led down to the
sea, in Buenaventura. He was working as a waiter in a restaurant owned
by a retired policeman—Octopus Ink, the place was called—ideal for
someone who wanted to lie low. He went from home to work and back again,
with a brief stop each day at a video store, where he’d usually rent a
couple of movies. Walt Disney and old Colombian, Mexican, or Venezuelan
films. Every day, like clockwork. From his walkup to Octopus Ink, and
then, after dark, back to the apartment, with two videotapes under his
arm. He never brought back food, only movies. He rented them on the way
there or on the way back, it varied, but always from the same store, a
little shack, nine feet by nine, open eighteen hours a day.
went looking for him on a whim, just because I felt like it. I went
looking and I found him in 1999. It was easy; it took less than a week.
Pajarito was forty-nine then, but he looked at least ten years older. He
wasn’t surprised to find me sitting on his bed when he got home. I told
him who I was, reminded him of the movies he’d made with my mother and
my aunt. Pajarito took a chair and as he sat down the videos fell out
from under his arm. You’ve come to kill me, Lalito, he said. He’d rented
films with Ignacio López Tarso and Matt Dillon, two of his favorite
I reminded him of the old
lacto-porn days. We both smiled. I saw your prick, I said. It was
transparent, like a worm. My eyes were open, you know, watching your
glass eye. Pajarito nodded, then sniffed. You always were a clever kid,
he said, before you were born, too, I guess, with your eyes open
already, why not. I saw you—that’s what matters, I said. You were pink
at the start in there, then you turned transparent and you got one hell
of a shock, Pajarito. Back then you weren’t afraid—you moved so fast
that only little creatures and fetuses could see you moving. Only
cockroaches, nits, lice, and fetuses. Pajarito was looking at the floor.
I heard him whisper, Et cetera, et cetera. Then he said, I never liked
that sort of movie, one or two is O.K., but it’s criminal to make so
many. I’m a fairly normal person, really. I was genuinely fond of Doris,
I was always a friend to your mother, when you were little I never did
you any harm. Do you remember? I didn’t run the business, I never
betrayed anyone or killed anyone. I did a bit of dealing, a few
robberies—we all did—but, as you can see, it didn’t set me up for
retirement. Then he picked the videos up off the floor, put the one with
Ignacio López Tarso in the VCR, and as the soundless images succeeded
one another on the screen, he began to cry. Don’t cry, Pajarito, I said.
It’s not worth it. His days of vibrating were over. Or maybe he was
still vibrating a little, and as I sat there on the bed I was scavenging
those remnants of energy with the ravenous hunger of a shipwrecked
sailor. It’s hard to vibrate in such a small apartment, with the smell
of chicken soup permeating every cranny. It’s hard to pick up a
vibration when your eyes are fixed on a dumbly gesticulating Ignacio
López Tarso. López Tarso’s eyes in black-and-white: how could so much
innocence and malice be mixed together? A good actor, I remarked, just
to say something. One of our founding fathers, Pajarito said in
agreement. He was right. Then he whispered, Et cetera, et cetera. That
lousy fucking Pajarito.
sat there in silence for a long time: López Tarso went gliding through
the movie’s plot like a fish inside a whale; the images of Connie,
Doris, and Monica lit up for a few seconds in my head, and Pajarito’s
vibration became imperceptible. I haven’t come to rub you out, I said to
him in the end. Back then, when I was young, I had trouble using the
word “kill.” I never killed: I took people out, blew them away, put them
to sleep, I topped, stiffed, or wasted them, sent them to meet their
maker, made them bite the dust, I iced them, snuffed them, did them in. I
smoked people. But I didn’t smoke Pajarito. I just wanted to see him
and chat for a while. To feel his beat and remember my past. Thanks,
Lalito, he said, and then he got up and filled a washbasin with water
from a pitcher. With exact, artistic, resigned movements, he washed his
hands and his face.
When I was a
kid, that’s what they all called me, Connie, Monica, Doris, Bittrich,
Pajarito, Sansón Fernández: they called me Lalito. Lalito Cura playing
with the dogs and the geese in the garden of the house of crime, which
for me was the house of boredom and sometimes the house of dismay and
happiness. These days there’s no time to get bored, happiness has
vanished somewhere in the world, and all that’s left is dismay.
Perpetual dismay, composed of corpses and ordinary people, like
Pajarito, who was thanking me. I never intended to kill you, I said.
I’ve kept all your movies. I don’t watch them very often, I admit, only
on special occasions, but I’ve looked after them. I’m a collector of
your cinematic past, I said. Pajarito sat down again. He had stopped
vibrating: he was watching the López Tarso movie out of the corner of
his eye, and his stillness suggested a mineral patience. According to
the clock radio beside the bed, it was two in the morning. The night
before, I had dreamed of finding Pajarito: I was fucking him and
shouting unintelligible words in his ear, something about a buried
treasure. Or about an underground city. Or about a dead person wrapped
in paper that was resistant to rot and to the passage of time. But now I
didn’t even lay my hand on his shoulder. I’ll leave you some money,
Pajarito, so you can live without having to work. I’ll buy you whatever
you like. I’ll take you to a quiet place where you can spend all your
time watching your favorite actors. There was no one like you in Los
Empalados, I said. Ignacio López Tarso and Pajarito Gómez looked at me:
stonelike patience. The pair of them gone crazily dumb. Their eyes full
of humanity and fear and fetuses lost in the immensity of memory.
Fetuses and other tiny wide-eyed creatures. For a moment, my friends, I
felt that the whole apartment was starting to vibrate. Then I stood up
very carefully and left. ♦
"Cerchiamo regole, forme, canoni, ma non cogliamo mai il reale funzionamento del mondo. La vera forma di tutto ciò che è fuori di noi, come di tutto ciò che è dentro di noi, è per gli uomini un eterno mistero. L'incapacità di risolvere questo mistero ci terrorizza, ci costringe ad oscillare tra la ricerca di un'armonia impossibile e l'abbandono al caos. Ma, quando ci accorgiamo del divario che c'è tra noi e il mondo, tra noi e noi, tra noi e Dio, allora scopriamo che possiamo ancora provare stupore, che possiamo gettare uno sguardo intorno a noi, come se fossimo davvero capaci di vedere per la prima volta."