The human life only lasts
for a moment,
and we should spend it doing
what we like.
In this world, short-lived like a dream,
to live in anxiety is
- Nabeshima Rongo
The second entrance, the dirtiest, led straight to the decaying apartment of a sweet old man, who was striking his blind dog with tenderness: Spike. The plot develops as follows, a wise, farsighted old man, so many stories on his back, so many fantasies. So many dreams. He’s only waiting for someone to be willing to listen, the reward is all the knowledge in the world.
In the movies,
But it was all upside down.
Hope Road was spotless. Lou, a dirty drunk. Hard to tell. Maybe it was him hanging on to his bottle of beer, maybe the opposite. You realized they were two separate things only when he let go of it: just for the time to pick another one, grab a smoke. He wouldn’t stop, not even when he had to speak, spilling beer all over himself. His eyes were wide shut, you could never see them open.
But he wasn’t blind.
He perfectly saw that Carola was intimidated, almost scared. She hid her repulsion well (information matters).
…I wanted……information. About…
I’m no longer a hype, little bitch. Go home, no afternoon buzz for today.
There’s no pearls in the jaws of a lion,
Her nanny, Miss Marble, always used to say that. Pearls. In the oysters. That information could be like a pearl, and Carola was in the jaws of a lion.
No, sorry, your nephew sent me here; Lukas, he’s got a shop between seven and the bridge
Indeed, a pearl in the jaws of a lion? Perhaps lions eat oysters?
He has a picture, a picture that concerns me closely, and I wanted to know
Or at least, I was hoping to know
if you could give me… some information. About it.
Information? There’s a price to pay, baby. And I charge. A lot.
Not again with that price thing. Now I know who raised Lukas.
I don’t have much… money, with me…
Who wants your money?
The beer seemed to slip naturally out of old Lou’s mouth. Old he was old, let’s say seventy, his nose beaded with red and his hair still strong and dirtywhite.
Now he’ll ask me to undress, the dirty old pig. At the very least. I’m sure, he wants to bang me, or make me play some kind of an erotic game. Maybe with the beer. With the bottle. Disgusting.
That’s how it came out. Spontaneous; fast. The word first, then the thought. Disgusting. So spontaneous as not to be offensive, or saddening.
Yes, disgusting. I’ve finished the beer. I’ll give you all the information you want, but bring me the beer. And a pack of cigarettes. The brand doesn’t matter, but strong, that burn your throat with the last puffs. And hurry up, or say good-bye.
No strip-tease? Relief. A beer and a pack of cigarettes.
(everything has a price. sometimes it’s cheaper than how much we’re ready to pay.)
A beer, cigarettes. Strong ones. Downstairs quickly, she turned right, asked a question, back to the left, got in. The cigarettes weren’t a problem. Nicotine 1,1. That’ll do. But the beer, that was a problem. Not a big deal, all she had to do was enter a liquor store. If only there had been a liquor store in Hope Road. More information, straight ahead, just a block from here.
Smile on her face, she got back to old Lou, who was waiting with his eyes closed. He opened them to enjoy her smile. Nothing special. Just a smile. But full of spontaneous happiness. A rare display. Like Lou’s eyes. Tormented, tortured by who knows what kinds of images. But full, still full of desire to live.
Even if, of course, just for the beer and the cigs.
That’s perfect, baby, perfect. It took you a while, but: perfect.
It wasn’t that great. It was enough to brighten up Lou. He and the bottle joined together again, tenderly, like two lowers separated from fate. It was a less disgusting show. Rather, it was almost nice.
Except for when he spilled it all over himself.
So, what is it you wanted to know? Be quick, or I’ll send you to buy another beer.
The information couldn’t last longer than three beers.
She calculated quickly: to buy one she used the change from the cigarettes, and that was exactly one third of what she had left. Then, money for two more beers. And the one he’s drinking makes three. Three beers for the question and answer. The question only, would already take ten of them. And if there was an answer, she would have to buy all the beer in the world.
Yet, he could only have three. Ironic.
I’ve seen a picture inside Lukas’s shop. A special picture. The canvas is white; maybe creamy white. Yes, creamy white, and yellow-veined. On the picture, there are thick, black marks, from left to right, sorted by lines, separated by white spaces. They’re words. Letters, sentences. It’s a picture.
It’s made of words, wisely painted descriptions.
With love, passion. They’re words. Just words. Not “just”. Words. Sentences. It’s a picture. Made of.
Sentences. The sentences describe the picture, the colors. Lukas thought it was dirty. I cleaned it up, and the words appeared.
Strong, better than the colors, you know? Sweet, sometimes; sometimes tough: intense. Words turned into picture, picture turned into words. Nothing more beautiful than that. The description is beautiful – perfect – but it’s words. The words, they make room for the thought. When you read a book, you can imagine everything: the places, the characters, the expressions. And even if they’ve been described, the book is unique in everyone’s head. You’ll never find another like that. Or someone else with the same images inside their heads; yet, the book is the same, the description is the same. It’s the words,
spilling out beer, endlessly, repeatedly, nonexistent semantics of fate, metaphor for the flowing, the end of the bottle is close, closer than usual, half swinging.
That’s not fair, Carola thought; if he didn’t spill it all, I’d have more time. Vanishing thought, let’s go back to the talking.
words turning into images. And they’re always unique. Even if always the same. If you read it twice, the images change, although the words stay the same. It’s a beautiful picture, changing and still, unique for everyone, yet identical for all. My father made it.