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animal control

  • dan 

tripping the light invisible

(the commotion) The hell he’s going to sleep rough by my door. Fierce and unkempt, she addresses the crowd of patrons gathered around a couple of bar stools, a few meters away from her. She does not even remotely look at me. Or so it seems to me. A few people exchange banter, probably about my kind and weight. I catch a witty remark about my goat and shrink further into my cobbled corner. I’m basically creeping on a wall base, like a gecko that has acrophobia. My bed of cobbles buoys me up, an ancient engraving of my world’s intrinsic dampness. Someone comes over and advises me to reconsider. Reconsider what? I let go of that and ready myself for the night. No, I won’t let go of that, and stand up to him. Where has he gone? Eyes encircle me, burning bright and inquisitive. Someone yanks my terracotta pot off my chest and smashes it on the cobbles. I hear cries of mild disapproval compounded with laughter. I see him and then no longer see him. Still, that word reverberates with the sound of muffled tut-tut. It’s taking centre stage, between the well-lit bar front and the dark corner of my survival. Reconsider. The hell I will, and I hear a ringing sound, loud and sinister, flooded with light and closure, while my legs are carrying me back to my cobbles, as the fluorescent curtain falls.

(downtown) What are we going to do with this guy. What a pain in the ass. Like we didn’t have anything better to do. We don’t, Juan. That’s what you signed up for. Brainless cleaning staff, that’s what they take us for. The two policia local‘s voice battles its way through my lethargy and registers with me. Well, somehow it does, in that it cuts in and out, like when you need to re-pair your Bluetooth headphones. You do that, but then the headphones won’t pair, at least for a while. A compatibility issue, most likely, the ever-polite customer representative will tell you. You don’t say. Look, he’s awake – it’s working now, I can hear them, unbelievable! – let’s hear out what he’s got to say for himself. The door clanks, my iron bunk bed quakes, and I can sense them beside it, hovering and making up their mind as to how they are going to deal with me. Are they the Franco-was-a-good-guy kind, or the most recent, updated version of community-oriented policing, COP 3.2? Hi there, rough night, right? Please get up and join us in the office. Definitely some early-edition COP, this is a small town after all. Your ID? No ID? Country of origin? Senegal? Where do you live? What…voice turns into a buzz into flashes of light into knots in the stomach. Give me some food. Give me some food and water. They’re no longer in the room. A messenger’s notification sound. Followed by another. Someone walks in and stands still staring at my tooth pendant’s oscillation, catlike, then thrusts a piece of paper into my hands, curls up into a primatal ball on a sofa, and glues his eyes on a smartphone screen.

(a dream) this guy is insane. And I’m a goat, for fuck’s sake. What are we doing out here, standing on the top of the Sacromonte like a couple of idiots. At least where he lives (where does he live, again? Some people say it’s a man-cave, looks like a shithole to me) I can graze and watch the neighbours – those two losers who spend their day strumming flamenco tunes (and they sound dreadful, if you ask me). And I’m on a leash, of all things. I’ve definitely got to look into this: I remember hearing stories about the Akkadians, who knew that dogs and sheep…well, apparently they were constantly at it (not sure about the Akkadians themselves, though). This is so confusing: she’s no freak of nature, though I once heard someone say (he was high as a kite, pretty much like myself now) that he liked the way my goat brought back stuff when he threw it somewhere. She’s no retriever, mind you, she just hates it when someone tosses stuff around, she finds it totally pointless. So, she keeps bringing it back to him, but the guy can hardly take a hint. But Samuel said, what then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear? She’s screaming on the top of her voice, some Bible story about Samuel and Saul, I’ve heard that before: the two of them meet up somewhere and have a go at each other on who got the Lord’s message correctly. I can’t remember how it ends, and she’s not following through with it anyway, she’s going all du-du-du-du, zu-zu-zu-zu on me, and drooling all over herself. Pretty disgusting.

(save the animals) the van rolls down the last hill leading up to Malaga airport. Juan and Paco sit in the cabin. Juan has been chain-smoking since we have left Granada, about an hour ago. He hasn’t uttered a word, staring all the while at the winding road ahead as though in trance. Paco has been his usual self, chatting away about the World Cup, mad as a dog at the Spanish national team’s coach: he says he’s to blame. Blame him? I’d know what to do with him, given a chance, forget blame. And blah, blah, blah, he goes on, inconsequentially. The van is an old Italian job from the 80s, quite uncomfortable. I wonder what’s wrong with Juan. He brought me coffee this morning, and then stood by me as the judge ordered my expulsion from Spain. Deportation, he called it, When they took away my goat, after the police raided my man-cave, they called it animal control. It was Juan who’d been in charge of the raid.

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