Earlier this year, I began putting together a series of short stories about sex and love and debauchery and travel that I essentially plan to publish. It’s an on-going process that I’m either too busy for or not motivated enough to work on. However, I promised myself I would have all the stories completed (at least a rough draft of each) by end of year. I’ve spent the whole day trying to think of what to blog about, trying to push myself to type anything out, when I remembered that promise and finally opened up the word document that contains more than 50 pages of memories and almost-memories and heavily-fictionalized life. I worked on Virgin Territory a little (a piece I posted about once on here before) and today I was working on another piece, with the working title of “Pochomil y no Poneloya” (I need to come up with something better). Since I’ve been trying to work more on my travel stories, I figured I’d share en excerpt from this one today. Advice is much appreciated!
“The maldito mosquitoes are making a full feast of my body, I can’t stand it anymore! We need to get out of here!”
My cousin Gaby was lying on the bed with her head and arms dangling over one of the corners. I was sitting Indian style on the small cot next to her, scratching away at a million pink welts. It was my third time visiting Managua and I still wasn’t getting used to being lunchmeat for the swarm of flying parasites that followed me around incessantly. We could hear my Tia’s novellas loud and clear in our room, just like she could probably hear our conversation. The walls at my Tia’s house were incomplete; they prevented you from seeing into the next room but except for the outside walls, they didn’t connect directly with the tin roof, so privacy was exceptionally hard to find. I’d never seen anything like it. Nicaragua was full of homes with disconnected walls like this. I walked over to the white, electric fan in the corner of the room and let the artificial wind hit my face.
“What about Poneloya or Pochomil? They’re both about the same distance and I bet I could get Javier to take us!”
The prospect of a beach night got me to jump away from the fan and I began digging through my bags for a bathing suit while Gaby called her boyfriend. Javier worked the bar at a joint called Samantha’s, two blocks from Gaby’s place. I’d met him a few times and he seemed like a decent sort of guy, the kind that was always up for good times and rarely had a frown on his face. He was older than Gaby by almost a decade, which had alarmed her mother when they first began dating when she was 17, but he had stuck around for a few years and now that she was 20, her mother had begun to hope he’d end up making her his wife.
“Alright, we’re all set! It’s gonna be me, you, Javier, and Yader. You remember Yader, right?”
I nodded. Yader also worked at Samantha’s. He’d bought me drinks a few times over the past week in hopes of getting to know me better, and he already knew to bring extra lime for my vodka sodas, so I guess it was working. His shaved head made him look kind of gruff until you noticed he also had these really great dimples and then you realized he was just a big puppy dog. I liked him just fine.
Gaby tossed my blue triangle top and it landed at my feet. The night was looking up.
Javier honked the horn of his 91 Corolla twice and we scurried out of the apartment, happy to be free from our skeeter-ridden prison. Gaby took the passenger seat, leaving Yader and me in the back.
“Hola, mi Chinita,” he greeted me as I closed the door behind me.
We picked up two 12-packs of Tona at the last gas station before leaving town. Javier had already brought a bottle of Flor de Cana he swiped from the bar for good measure. The car’s a/c was broken so we kept the windows down and the sounds and smells of Managua wafted through the car at 88 km/h. We drove past seedy bars full of under aged girls and hungry souls kneeling inside of destitute churches and dust-covered children asking for Cordobas; past all the old drunk men sitting in the middle of the road looking for a way out of town or just plain out. We passed the skeletons of mangy dogs, small bodega’s run from people’s living rooms, large women cooking Fritanga on the street corners, and occasionally, we had to stop for emaciated horses and mustachioed street vendors on their way home from a day of yelling out “TORTILLA!” “CAJETA!” “CUAJADA!”
Soon, we were going up the sides of mountains and into the clouds, quite literally. We stopped on the side of the road to take turns pissing and you could feel the dew sticking to your skin as the billows drifted past. It was much colder in the mountains than in the mugginess of the country’s capital and I was glad to finally feel the need for a jacket again. We jumped back in to the car and drove further into the night.
Our hands greedily reached into the cardboard box for cans of beer. Click, pick-shaw. Glug and more glug. The sky was black and the road was black and the clouds were grey and turning black. Click, pick-shaw. The stars so numerous, endless like the bubbles from my can of beer, tickling my nose, keeping me intrigued. They shone down bright, and then the sky was an endless piece of black construction paper punctured a million times over by a sharp No. 2 pencil. And the glow of the stars wasn’t so many tiny sparkles so much as they were all part of one gigantic light, a luminosity hidden behind the curtain that keeps the planet from falling apart. And the further into the night we went, the brighter that light seemed to want to shine. Like it wanted to burn up the sky and take over.
It wasn’t even half way into the drive and I was already drunk.