Saturday, February 14, 2015


I walk more than six blocks before arriving at a door with a rusty number 9 that is about to fall to the ground. I ring the bell and wait. I feel my stomach opening and leaking a bitter liquid over my guts. I’m going to hand 2 grams of cocaine to a man that I've never seen in my life. The only thing I know is that his name is Arturo and that he’s supposed to give me 400 pesos. Fifteen percent of that money will be for me. While I'm waiting I notice that some swallows have built a nest very near the number nine. A baby swallow is stretching out its neck and opening its beak, an immense cavity. I'm thinking about sticking my pinky inside it and touching its throat when the door opens and a barefoot man appears from behind it. I could swear that his hair is dyed. He invites me inside where another man is waiting, sitting on an antique chair. He smiles at me and makes a signal inviting me to sit in another chair, this one not an antique. I don't know which one’s Arturo, but my guess is that he’s the one in bare feet. I confirm this when he tells me that before paying me, they’re going to try the coke. It’s not that they don't trust me, but this way it will be better for everybody. I don't have any objection. Nobody gave me instructions to say yes or no. I’m just supposed to charge 400 pesos, and from that amount I get to keep 15 percent.
The one who is not Arturo takes a picture from the wall and forms two white lines on the glass. The head of a dead deer sticks out of another wall. I move over to the head and caress its hide. Its eyes look like Elizabeth Taylor's. Beside the deer there’s a plate that says. “Hunted in Canada by Dr. Arturo JimĂ©nez”. I imagine the deer running along a hillside covered with snow. I listen to them. They are panting and kissing each other. The one who is not Arturo is sitting on the lap of the one who is Arturo. They’re fags. I ask them if they can pay me, but the one who is not Arturo gets down on his knees and starts to suck the other one off, right in front of me. I turn and stand face to face with the deer again, only now I find it impossible to imagine the deer running in the snow. After a few minutes, Arturo touches my back. He is about my height and has wrinkles on his forehead. “400 pesos for the coke and 50 for you, for putting up with us”, he says. If I’m calculating correctly, fifty pesos plus the fifteen percent should be a bit more than 100. If I save enough, one day I'll be able to go to Canada and hunt deer. That's what I'll do when I turn 18: I'll go to Canada, buy a rifle, and hunt deer.

 Text by Guillermo Fadanelli
Translation by Yolanda M. Guadarrama and Matt Madden, 2000.