Thursday, May 17, 2007:

looking for logic in the chambers of the human heart

Randy Hobbs -- Slowly But Surely
Roosevelt Sykes -- Yes Lawd
Funkadelic -- Maggot Brain [alt mix]
He was alone in the lobby of his hotel in Isla Mujeres, watching Hitchcock's La Ventana Indiscreta and misreading Jeffries' misgivings for disregard, zoning out looking through Lisa's face to the blue and red and green rectangles. Jorge banged on the glass by the door, smiling sleepily, holding his left crutch, his right crutch leaned against his side.
"Jorge," he said. "¿Qué pasa?"
"Nada, man."
"¿Qué tal?"
"Bien, ¿y tú?"
"Bien bien." Jorge lifted himself in off the sidewalk. "What you doing?"
"Nothing. Nothing. Just watching this movie."
"Yeah?" He came around the TV to took a look. "Válgame Dios."
"Yeah." Jorge turned and hopped backwards twice, then sat down and rested his crutches beside him.
They sat there staring at the screen, red and green and blue rectangles brightening and fading away, brightening and fading away: in the commercials, in the break-in, in the theft, in the climax, in the credits.
"Buena película," Jorge said, halfway through an infomercial.
"You flying, man?"
"No, I don't smoke. You?"
"I am ... so flying, man."
"That's cool."
"Shoooooo," Jorge said. "So flying."
Flashes of light, electrons hitting the screen, red-blue-green.
"Do you smoke?" Jorge said.
"No, I don't smoke." I'm staring at a light source, Nick thought. It's furniture and it's a light source and people stare at it. And I do too.
"No smoke?"
"No, gracias."
"So flying."
"Hm...." The tick of the clock on the wall. Somewhere down the street, far off, someone telling Carlos he didn't know anything, ni una putísima cosa, coño. Cars coming by, whoosh.
"Shoo," Jorge said.
"Buena onda, tú."
"Sí. ¿No fumas?"
"No, no fumo. Let's go."
"Where? To where we go?"
"I want a beer."
"Cerveza. Lager. Dos Equis. Vámanos."
"Muy bien. Buena onda," he said, pushing himself off the sofa and grabbing his crutches. "¿Listo?"
"Claro. Ko'ox."
"Ko'ox," he said, laughing. "¡Vámonos!"

"Buena película," Jorge said in the bar.
"Muy buena." He knocked back the last of the beer and sat staring at the table: mahogany under a dark varnish, the reflection of the ceiling fan broken by the ring from the bottle, the bottle now cool and slick in his hand as he spun it around and stopped it, spun it again.
"Buena película."
The breeze wafted in from the beach carrying that unmistakable saltwater smell, waves pounding the surf, people chatting a few doors down, Jorge and Nick and the mesero alone in the bar.
"Aren't you hungry?"
"¿No tienes hambre?"
"Mucha hambre."
"Well, order something then."
"¿No vas a pedir?"
"¡Camarero!" Jorge said. The waiter came over to take their order. He was wearing stiff leather shoes with faded blue jeans and a tan guayabera. "Dos tamales," Jorge said, and something else Nick didn't catch. The guayabera never caught on stateside, did it? he thought. There was a couple outside, looking in, speaking softly in a Scottish accent. Of course, kilts didn't either.
"¿Algo más?" the waiter said.
"Otra cerveza," Nick said.
"Dos más," Jorge said.
The waiter nodded and left. Nick spun the bottle, let it go, stopped it. Jorge contemplated the table. Nick looked out at the street. The couple had left.
"What are we doing here?" he said.
"No, in general."
"Por lo general."
"No, la gente por lo general."
"Eating, too. Sometimes eating."
"No," Nick said.
"Buena onda," Jorge said.
"¿Qué hacemos aquí? ¿Cómo gente?"
"Vinimos a beber."
He sighed. A beer opened behind him, then another. The door in the counter opened, swung back and forth, came to a stop. The waiter set down a plate of chips, a dish of guacamole, and two more beers.
[Midnite Blues Party @ amazon, and @ emusic]
[The Honeydripper @ amazon, or @ emusic]
[Maggot Brain @ amazon, or @ emusic]

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Thumbs up to Randy Hobbs.

I'm glad you like it.

I think some of these more associative posts work and some don't, though of course it's hard to know which is which until you try it.

Who's the writer? For a moment, I thought I stumbled on an excerpt of "Under the Volcano".

I wrote it--just found it again in an old notebook and dusted it off a bit.

I haven't read Under the Volcano yet, though from what I've heard about it, it sounds fantastic. Have you read it recently?

Another really great post, Tuwa. People who've never tried to write dialogue have no idea how hard it is!

Thanks, Amy. I'd agree, dialogue's tricky.

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