Hidden on the backstreets

"So which one do you wanna see first?", says _____´s friend before what can only be described as a veritable Bruce Springsteen museum deep in the heart of S*o Paulo-- shelf after shelf filled to the brim from floor to ceiling with every bootleg ever not-released, every DVD mined from the wee hours spent redeyed in and across websites and forums and message boards. An autograph for crying out loud. Then the poster from the Born in the USA tour, nineteen-eighty-whenever.

"Dude, I have no idea where to start!," says the kid in Christmas morning in me.

He selects a CD he´s just burned from atop a shelf, slips it into the player. Says, "Miami, 1992. Check the backing vocals on this live version of Hungry Heart".

"That´s the song he wrote for the Ramones, right?" I ask him teacher´s pet-like, desperately seeking approval from the obviously higher authority.

He gives me the thumbs up.
The music starts.


“Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty”

I´m listening to the classical music station on my headphones: They´re playing some Medieval piece inspired by this 14th-century poem, French I think, about either this ass or this donkey who becomes buddies with the goddess of Fortune and gets into nobility and court and stuff like that. It´s supposed to be a political allegory. Donkey ends up befriending powerful feudal lords and mighty bishops. Donkey marries with the goddess of Vanity with other metaphors such as Adultery and Lust being invitees to the ceremony. Donkey ends up ruling the kingdom, and discovers his (its?) purpose in life is to pave the way to the anti-Christ.
Regardless of anything, Medieval chamber music sounds so f*cking sissy it´s no wonder man actually outgrew stuff like the plague and the Crusades only to send radio-controlled toys to Mars.

I shift my weight from my left buttock to the right one atop the conference desk as I bend sideways to plug the network cable into this thin client terminal and almost knock the coffee mug off the table. I take another sip, then another.
Then another.

I´d wish for my knees to heal faster if it´d ever made any sense.
My knees hurt so much: I´ve busted them running over asphalt with a backpack once again. For like, the fifth time these last five years or so?

I slip my hand into my breastpocket for my cell phone and change the station for the old familiar rock station: The Church starts playing Under the Milky Way Tonight and this is the time you actually expect this train of thought to reach any station.

It doesn´t, though: I can hardly wait for working hours to end, to go home and fix myself some ice cubes on plastic bags on my legs...


Urban-jungle Boddhi-tree

I was wandering across town the other day, it was a Sunday afternoon with the weekend just beat— regardless of well, anything at all— no purpose, nowhere else to go & nothing else to do, really. I ended up stumbling upon this drawing of the Buddha— spray-painted in black stencil upon the lower concrete walls of the would-be fountain flanking the museum— and...

There was this book by Jack Kerouac, right? Back in the fifties. That he wrote about the Buddha. And there were these words he used...
There was that sentence— “There is no hiding in a shattering dewdrop.”— whatever he meant by that.

I thought about it for a split-second or two, shrugged, and crossed the thronging avenue towards a McDonald´s for an ice-cream cone.


K.´s best men two months before the wedding

“Bruce, you´re over 30 years old!”
Jezebel Jet to Bruce Wayne
from Batman #677, July 2008

“How did we end up here anyway?,” I ask _____ in the middle of the thronging dancefloor at about two in the morning as I realize I was supposed to be somewhere else entirely, at this birthday party from someone from the office or whatnot. The walls and ceiling are all painted blood-red, the same color as occasional velvet drapes hanging from posters of old movies.
_____ says nothing for a few seconds, obviously having some difficulty in balancing the plastic bag hanging from his arms with the stuff he´d gotten at the bookstore at the mall way earlier this afternoon, plus the box of chocolates, with the dancing per se. Alice Cooper´s Clones is followed by Joan Jett´s... whatever, really. We´re dead drunk and in very poor state to actually mind the music regardless how good the DJ is. He finally looks up from either the floor or his bag or someone´s ass and makes the V-sign over his head with his free hand, as if conveying an Indian through mimic: “Lady with the feather,” he tells me, slurring.

There was a lady with a feather pinned through her hair, which was tied up in a bun in the back of her head. She was waiting outside the bar-slash-nightclub dressed in a red bustier thing with black stockings, like some French cabaret dancer despite the cold outside. Once she mentioned they were playing strictly New Wave songs tonight, ____ freaked out and just begged for us to get inside. And so we did, even though it was only ten p.m. and the club was practically empty (then). We sat by the bar and started drinking all the funny stuff they had on the menu. The waitress was a dead ringer for Phoebe from Friends though with a lot of tattoos over her arms and breasts, and she sort of laughed real hard when I told her to bring me next up, “Whatever, really”.
It was not more than an hour after we´d gotten inside and we´d already sampled a rather considerate part of their drinks by that time, and the place was only at half-capacity.
When I asked ____ where the hell was everybody, he winked at me and said they were all probably stuck in traffic as they all crawled out of the gutters at the same time once midnight struck. It was that kind of place, after all. I just hoped to hell that there were no persons dressed up like vampires coming, or some crap like that.

But of course the day had started way before that, which sort of explains why ______ not only had a plastic bag with books inside a seedy nightclub in the wee hours of the morning, but also a box with fancy chocolates he´d gotten from K. on the occasion of our being chosen to be best men for his wedding. At least I´d had the foresight to leave mine in the refrigerator back home.

After luncheon at the mall where we all got together to meet K. and his fiancée for pasta and the passing along of the wedding invitations, ______ had followed me to my place even though the very reason for that utterly escapes me. We ended up watching this Echo & the Bunnymen DVD freshly arrived from the mail a few days before, then I put on some pants and ditched the soon-to-be trademarked plaid flannel shirt and bermudas, and we hopped a taxi to this cool burger place we´d only been once to, on the opening night and it was so crowded and the service had sucked, so we wanted to give it a second try.

We started drinking over the burgers: vodka with pineapple, it was about eight p.m. and we´d planned to part up, him going back to his apartment and I was supposed to go across the street from the burger place to this trendy nightclub which only plays Caribbean music, some utter crap like that, for a birthday party from someone from the office.

Dinner ended up earlier than planned, though, and we decided to roam across town looking for some place to continue with the drinking: Another cab hopped, another joint found. We´d been walking for I think not even twenty minutes, looking up possible watering holes, and that´s when we stumbled upon the cabaret lady with the feather in her hair.
I was ten p.m. exactly, and _____ looked at me and said, “Hey, can´t we go in for like an hour or two? You can always go to that Latin music crap afterwards. Like, later.”
“Aww what the hell,” I told him. “But you´re the one with the bag with the books and the chocolate.”

“Make that two of those,” I told Phoebe the waitress but _____ said no, I was drinking it all up way too fast and even though I was in a fairly better condition than he was, he was sure I couldn´t keep it up all night.
“Jesus f*cking Christ,” I told him, “I´m a hyperactive child, alright? Fastest boy alive and all that jazz. I can keep this up for all night, for all my life, if I so choose. I´ll never stop.”

I might have eaten about half of _____´s chocolates while still at the bar a little before heading to the dance floor, even though he either didn´t realize because he was too drunk to notice, or because he never really cared. Either way, it probably accounted for my having more tolerance to alcohol than ______ --- and ____ is a pretty heavy drinker himself. But I can hold my own against most people, which is really strange because I´m not really into drinking and don´t drink too often.

“Aren´t you, like, freaking out because you´re tuning thirty, too?,” I asked _____ out of the blue. "I mean. Sometimes I just stop and look around my living room and I realize I´m about to turn thirty and I´m still spending like a fortune every month on comics books and action figures alone only to fill some idiotic, nameless void inside me, then there´s also all the sleeping around with girls I really shouldn´t hang around with, just for kicks, and then I sort of second-guess myself for a split second, and question what the hell I´m doing to my life..."
He turned to me dead serious, with the black circles beneath his eyes darker than usual and shrugged: "Yeah man," he said.
"But it´s like...," I looked up from my glass to the mirror behind the counter, and I realized I had this really scary though sincere grin on my face, "It´s like I have the perfect life now, you know? That I always wanted? And if those f*cking god-fearing rednecks want to hang me for that, then I´ll have their whole f*cking world burned way before that!"

Then the conversation shifted from James Whale´s Frankenstein films to growing up & getting old, but that part of the night was a little depressing and we pretty much had it soaked under more alcohol anyhow.

It´s three p.m. and I´m following the streetlights back home, walking alone across this large avenue, passing the park then the museum, trying not to fall down and not to vomit, then I start laughing out loud once I recall _____ pointing to some kid he´d spotted in the nightclub a few hours before. “Look at that faggot in the white shirt,” he said, “Didn´t he use to go to High School with us back home?” Oh what the heck I told _____ and crossed the dance floor to hassle, bully the kid just like we´d do ten, fifteen years ago but we was with like, a thousand faggot friends who would probably beat the crap out of me, so I went back to _____, sullen, and told him no way. Kid´s father had a gym back home, was my mother´s aerobics instructor back in the day when the world got all Olivia Newton John crazed.

I get home, turn on the TV and fall back on the couch naked. Some girl who looks like Britney Spears is on Saturday Night Live and it makes me feel like jerking off for a split-second, but then I change the channels and sleep to the sound of Ben 10 on Cartoon Network, which is this real stupid show and I´d rather be watching Batman anyhow.