June 30, 2013

Source: Marco Walker


“€œAmerica is not a young land,”€ said William S. Burroughs, “€œit is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting.”€ 

Whatever. Let’s lighten up.

Let me finish by telling you how it came to pass that I put down a deposit on a cliff-side apartment just outside Rosarito. In my delusion, I thought it might even be a healthy getaway for work. I blame myself. I blame Armando Rhon even more.

“€œI have a place I want to show you,”€ he told me on the beach. Sniffing his nostrils clear, he says, “€œCome with me.”€ And the broad-set Armando returned to town, new black jeans tucked into old ostrich cowboy boots”€”and a blue plastic bag on top of his socks, barely visible, a trick to help the boots on and off.

I couldn”€™t say no. Instinct also told me not to disobey him. The guy was so unlikable he was almost likable, you know? We travel in his SUV for ten minutes”€”he’s waved through the exit”€”and we arrive at a giant forty-story structure. An abandoned crane stands still beside it, the development half-finished. From ground to mid-level the building is complete. From mid-level up, it’s merely a skeleton. Columns, stairs, floors”€”and that’s all. It looked like they ran out of money halfway through.

“€œMy building. Mar Azul is the name. I”€™m going to show you a view you”€™re never gonna forget, my friend.”€ We walk into a heavily mirrored lobby. The effect is unnerving, anything but welcoming. I see a thousand reflections of Armando and me, both of us disappearing into infinity via a world of mirrors, like a vaudeville distortion, a circus act turned nasty. 

We get into the elevator and stop at #40. We emerge onto an open floor. No walls up here, no netting nor fence on the edge of the concrete. Only floor and ceiling. And sky. Blinding blue sky all around. The wind blowing right through.

“€œBueno. I”€™m going to put you in touch with a lawyer. He”€™ll get your papers sorted”€”and duty free. Fifteen Gs. Plus five for me.

“€œI appreciate the offer, Armando, but I”€™m not in the market to buy right now,”€ I averred.

Armando ignored this. He considered the moment like a poet gathering his words. Apropos of nothing, he remarks: “€œYou need to take care out there, in the desert. At night, when you”€™re driving. Weird shit has been happening. All the way along the border.”€

“€œLike what?”€ I ask.

“€œUFOs and shit. Weird weapons. This country’s fucked-up. More armored trucks than cop cars on the roads. Lights in the sky at night…nobody knows what they are. Something’s happening out there. For real.”€

“€œIt’s one hell of a sight up here, Armando. I”€™m not buying, but if I was…”€ I trailed off, trying to shake my politeness.

“€œYou don”€™t trust my people?”€

“€œI didn”€™t say that.”€

Armando acquiesces. “€œThink about it.”€ And we head back to the central stairwell. Walking, we face a borderless blue, sky and ocean fused into one. A panorama guaranteed to induce vertigo in anybody. Armando casually takes out a platinum bullet, uncaps it, and sniffs some powder. He gestures generously to the horizon.

“€œThis coast is gonna take off, you know.”€

I”€™ll tell you how Armando and I got closure next time. Max Keiser is on the air, shouting about the apocalypse. Russia Today: my preferred news channel. Obviously. 

Until next time.

Plata o plomo?




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