Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mother directs me to a rooftop to find Reloj. He's been running the bulls up there, actually a calf in deplorable condition, as if it had actually been through the corrida. I am utterly aghast and wonder if the little critter can be saved, and through quick and easy remedies, he is.

The roof is like in movie tenements such as West Side Story, but actually it's more like the system of gables where I'm working, a small farming community in the North Central Coast of California. (My dreams are often cobbled together out of what I know like happens in high school prop departments.) I am leaving for the weekend but decide the calf is all right up here grazing on the roof if I come back and feed it every day.

I drive to a bar to meet old Bonham character Heavy Johnson, who is turned murderous from the jolly old fatboy he was by beer and a dearth of outlets for testosterone testing. Heavy casually dangles a knife, staggers to menace another table. I slip out - virility stretching like a balloon makes me nervous. Heavy stumbles dramatically to radiate drunkeness so he won't be responsible in the morning.

Back at the gabled office building (actually an old vets hall of the type like Mexican aduanas) I meet some anonymous folks in an auto out front. An elderly shy withered chicana has to go to the bathroom. She is small and gaunt with gray in her hair and deep lines in her face. Okay. I guess I'm the bathroom guide. But - where?

There's a conference out front between some raucous wouldbe attendees to a musical soiree and the mustachioed Don Frito, the baron of this hacienda. They are actually looking for a place to stay, these lurking silent stoic campesinos, and the Don tells them there's no room in the gabled inn.

`We can go across the street to Mt Charlie's,' says one of them, but Don Frito tells them that's an old myth, as Mt Charlie is no part of his establishment so will not take his turnaways.

Around the side of the building a shy withered one takes matters into her own hands. She bends to release a slide-arm mechanism on what I take to be a fire door and she pumps it open, strides without hesitation down the steps into what is obviously a private bedroom to another door.

The one who had the idea about Mt Charlie's steps just as deliberately to a pay phone near the fire door. Everybody seems to know their parts but me.

I move to reassure the one at the phone, who hands the receiver to me. At the same time, the chicana sweeps out of the bathroom and turns to step briskly, adjusting her skirts still with a swish, to the front door.

I am aware at around this time somehow that the calf is missing.




1 comment:

s&m said...

The old woman is so shy, yet does something so bold.

Who is your calf? Who, or what, are you nursing back to health? And how does an old woman doing something dramatic in order to get rid of her waste relate to your calf going missing?

I'm very intrigued by this one.