Yesterday I intended to go to my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood, a nice Paraguayan place that closes at 2 AM. Police were standing outside the restaurant, smiling at one another in front a plastic billboard that said something like “Conscripcion Policia” I thought this was a field day during which Buenos Aires cops seek new recruits, hand out pamphlets and tell them what it is like to work for the police force, that the bribes from drug dealers and pimps of transvestites in Constitucion are not that handsome, that it is really about Service, which explains why there is a translation of a few lines by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore in one of his odes to service–hopefully Tagore in whichever world he inhabits now is ignorant of his being quoted on tiles of the little garden plaza inside the station on San Juan avenue. A small electric model waterfall trickles underneath the Tagore quote.
I immediately interpreted it as a bad omen, negative energy, evil fuku that a throng of flics stood there recruiting and promoting their profession. There was a black bag underneath the sign saying something like “conscripcion” Perhaps they had not unpacked all the parts of the stands and equipment they could assemble, maybe their was some sound-equipment, so they could play tracks of New Age music or Tibetan chants to announce the police as being unpoisoned by desire and craving for 1000 peso handouts from the various paco-negotiators and punteros so they could better send their sons and daughters to school and to creative writing workshops (taller literario, most of Buenos Aires social life occurs through intolerable workshops on any number of amateurisms from tai chi to landscape painting to Transcendental Meditation, usually for a price beginning at 500 pesos a month, the right wing Mayor of Buenos Aires, Macri, in his war with the Progressive government shut down and privatized any public spaces of gathering, and the paranoia and mistrust and dirtiness of the streets precludes people from wanting to socialize with each other–but it has to happen somewhere, being a Latin city with only several surprising resemblances to Northern European society )
I entered the restaurant, bad omen two: the Paraguayan waittress who I am in love with on an entirely eros-physiological chakra-level is not there, she’s on winter vacation ( it snowed yesterday, lucky it was my first day at the Tigre delta where people go sunning by the river, never naked, an old failed ayahuasca hippies sell twisted ratanwood furniture made in Indonesia and China ) Instead the kind of fat one with her black hair in pigtails, her eyelids painted fiery purple and short shorts waits with the big round plat at her crotch like a fan, like the round disc that represents the sun worn over heads of animal-faced Egyptian undergods. The younger waitress Melina comes to me to ask what I want to drink.
Finally I understood, understanding blooming little flower in my entripado guts and entrails full of shame: “Esa bolsa contiene un cuerpo humano? Is there a human body in that bag?”
Como murio? How did he die?
Solo, de un golpe. Alone, he died suddenly, struck, fell on the street, like that.
Two old women who go to the tango Odalisco next door at night in search of their husbands now sat over their soda water perplexed, horrified by the shadows and the shape in black plastic, they have green pearl necklaces.
Maybe it was the suddenness of snow in Buenos Aires yesterday. Maybe he was excited to see the buttocks of that woman who walks down the street in front of my house, singing opera lightly to herself, only to notice when she turns her head that she still has a man’s, or a male animal’s crude face, travesti unable yet to afford her sex change in full but someday she will after enough hard sweat-thigh honest-to-undergod work on Constitucion road, maybe it was a tiny little hidden god of thunder, who was angry he did not receive the required offerings for answering past prayers for sexual urges met.
This time I did not stay for the usual plate of mid-afternoon kidneys. It occurred to me that there is a release of bad energies when a man dies and the souls fly out on their fragile insect wings and fins. It is not metaphysical, rather it is pure as-yet-uncharted biology, bio-epiphany: when a little fighter honey bee stings your hand, he releases his stinger, which disembowels him like a Japanese highly-literate executive; the poison is released with the sudden death, a smear of poisonous residues of what was pent up in a shouting, angry and frustrated Portenos intolerant body, the little cloud-puff and liquid invisible spills, growing stain. Perhaps I was marked as a child by Venezuelan Radio Caracas TV we got on Aruba, scare news bulletins about La Mancha Voraz, the big chemical stain of discoloration that once threatened to eat much of the colors of Caracas, the inefficiency of the government to deal with the deadly Mancha stain of pestilence was of course in the years mounting up before the Bolivarian revoluz.
A Death in my Favorite Restaurant’s Window by Arturo Desimone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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