I'm taking a class called low-fat fiction, mostly as an attempt to make myself try to write stuff. It's an interesting experience but a little intimidating. Anyway, here's the first piece I wrote for it.
It was in the Cafe Jujuy that I first met Rodrigo, who was arguing with the clerk about some matter of politics or sports. Even though it delayed my own order, I didn't hold it against him. We weren't really introduced until a few minutes later when he came over and told me having my map splayed out over the table made me look like an idiot tourist.
"They're watching, you know, all the time," he explained.
He folded the map into a bowtie and handed it to me, flashing a yellowing smile. A short discussion on the literary merits of the city led to an invitation to be shown around the city.
We ventured out of the cafe, into the streets and sidewalks, filled with potholes and people.
The Libreria Sansabar was crammed into an L-shaped space and seemed to specialize in a particular kind of academic tome. A short perusal resulted in little of value.
It was a twenty minute walk to the Libraria Truco, past buildings abandoned then taken over, and Rodrigo seemed to watch for something. The steel door that guarded the shop gave it the feel of a hideout, and concealed the size of the interior.
The shadows had grown long by the time we stepped outside, my bag somewhat heavier.
There was one more, Rodrigo insisted, in the old part of the city, underneath an old mansion.
Twenty minutes later, he turned and asked, "Why'd you come here?"
I didn't see the blade, but something about that smile made me flinch. I fell back, trying to turn out of the way, and the pack struck him in the head.
It was seconds later that I realized I was running, what little sense of direction I had guiding my way back.
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago