- THE SON: A Short Story, Washington Cucurto, 2008 (English)
- Chapter 1: The Son
- Chapter 2: The Owl-Faced Man
- Chapter 3: Rafael Castillo’s Argentine Glories
- EL HIJO: Corto Relato, Washington Cucurto, 2008 (Espanol)
- Capítulo 1: El Hijo
- Capítulo 2: El Señor Cara de Lechuza
- Capítulo 3: Glorias Argentinas de Rafael Castillo
Chapter 2: The Owl-Faced Man
Chicken, meat and chicken, sweet corn husks, ham and cheese; soft meat, spicy meat; meat with meat!; human meat, nigger meat: drug-addicted cumbia-dancer meat; drunken quartet-playing Cordoban peasant meat; meat, meat from chickens fattened with an 800 watt bulb, pork meat: skinned, horrible, and in my head the crystal meth, the methamphetamines; the dung from Reinol with ten Pepsi “aspirin-cocaine-aniline, hummingbird-cocaine” aspirins; coke is everywhere; in La Boca we call it Bricklayer’s Sun or Gilda. You’ll always have drugs, wherever you go you’ll always want drugs.
“The Argentine Central”. That’s the name of the biggest base paste chop shop-laboratory in the starry blue and gold neighborhood.
The first time I went to buy stuff to resell, Luis Risco took me with him. He sent me a little text message. “The Central awaits us, I’ll pick you up in 15 minutes.” We met on the street and walked there.
– What a great name!, I said when he uttered it with his customary nasal voice. The Turco’s nasality is the fault of parents, because they don’t take their children to the speech therapist. A simple detail, with a simple solution, to pronounce words the right way, to make proper use of the language, something that’s ingrained for life. Parents are animals! They hear the child mispronouncing and they don’t do a thing!
There I discovered Gilda, who would get me out of the empanada factory and take me back to the action, to the fun of selling and taking all the coke in the world. Gilda was the name two ex Shinning Path Peruvians gave to the paste of the base paste, the leftovers mixed with ground glass and lime, something cheaper than crack. Resins of death, lime stones from the devil’s promiscuous liver. Silhouettes of the cheapest drug in the world… strictly ballroom… an homage to Gilda.
It was there in The Argentine Central that I became known as the Owl-Faced Man. Thanks to Luis Risco I left with 1,500 grams of Gilda in my backpack, a rock, a cobblestone that would feed me for a month.
2008. Buenos Aires, gentlemen, the city of drugs. I hit the streets with my rock, and I chopped it up into bits with Leo, a guy from La Maciel, and we cooked it up nice. 500 mangoes for him. 3,500 for myself. One can make 5,000, 4,000 lucas from a rock of Gilda. Things aren’t easy on the drug path. That night my face was sliced up with a cutter, disfigured, but “traced by an expert so I’d be easily recognized.” And I became well known.
They sliced open my face like a soy cutlet stuffed with cheese. The cold metal heating up with my own blood, burning, the rustic cut. They gave me a round face like an owl’s. And when I get high, my eyes become round like an owl’s. “There goes Owl Face,” they say when they see me high.
The worst part isn’t the cut-up job. They broke my ass. They brought over a donkey, a guy with a giant dick who’s hired to make narcotic officers talk, to hit them where it hurts, so they break their ass real good. The donkey pumped inside me with everything he had; I felt his enormous prong enter me all the way up to my belly, the donkey’s dick traveling through my insides. Generally, a donkey is someone who’s infected who gets excited when he transmits, an ex con who learned to break asses in prison. It’s not easy being an ass breaker; if you don’t know how to do it you can break your dick.
I know the guy who broke my ass. I know where he parks his. He lives in a tenement on Iberlucea street, with two drunk brothers and a 10 year-old girl whom they kidnapped from the neighborhood and spend the afternoons fucking. The entire neighborhood knows she’s there and nobody does anything about it.
I got fucked for being lame, for being a fucking gimp, for having trouble getting around. Gilda is a hit, I bought a car, a rifle, a machine gun and a handgun, and I went out stealing, and I hired a few assholes from the neighborhood, but instead of selling it, they would snort it all.
It was then that I got the tip about robbing La German, a Peronist printing press that belonged to the CTA (Argentine Workers Union).
– These bastards make a ton of money… Look at the machinery they have, they’re worth at least half a million a piece. We have to go in there with a truck and take everything. We’re going to need a Verga Brothers truck…
That night we took everything. We laughed with Leo and Risco, we couldn’t stop laughing. We laughed without stopping, I forgot I was a gimp, I forgot about my kids, I forgot about myself, I forgot to live…
We laughed and saw coins, scars, faces in the sky.
Leo yelled at me in the cabin of the Brothers Verga.
–Look Juan, I see your owl face in the sky among the clouds!
We couldn’t stop laughing our asses off.
We’d stick our arms and heads out the window of the truck to look up at the sky. The nauseating stench of the river hit us right in the face.
– Look at the face of Señor Owl Face!
– Look at the face of Señor Owl Face!
– I was called “Señor” by a poor little Indian who begged me to give him a discount on the shit! Señor, I need it and I only have three pesos! I beg you Señor! Or else, Don! Can you imagine Don Owl Face! Horrible! I gave him three grams just so he’d stop calling me that! Poor kid!
We looked up and we say my face, the face of God, and we drove head first into the river with the truck.
How much were those modern yankee machines worth? Half a million! The machines the yankees come up with to fool people!
Then they say that coke is the worst thing!
Let’s print a neighborhood newspaper to increase the consumption of drugs! Let’s print a family magazine: the drug family!
We laughed in the water, practically drowning, and we didn’t even notice. The cold shit-filled water. The unbearable stench of shit coming from the river. The bridge of La Boca seen from below, from the water, looks like the point of a star, with its rusted irons crossing over the horizon.
I ate a turd as if I were smoking a Havana cigar Fidel gave to a comrade; who in turn gave it to a militant; who in turn ended up with the cigar end in his mouth and gave it to me at the bottom of the dirty river. We’re saved by a ferryman taking people across to the Island.
The great press for printing our dreams operates every afternoon at the bottom of the river. The fish print the “Savage Shark” newspaper.
Turds, long live love; we swam in happiness; mineral water; river frogs; fucking submarines, tadpoles, frogs, rats, catfish, monstrous silversides, heads of blonde women decapitated at the side of the road; Friday’s sixty at La Boca.
Crazy fucking merchants, we saw the corpse of Rodolfo Walsh, untouchable, surrounded by shit; 50 years of shit before Coke became king. Fever. Meat. The Burrita of Ipacarai. Victor Bo. Rodolfo Walsh’s corpse with a gun in his hand waved at us, man, we were laughing to death.
– We’re too far gone!
The things one sees from the bottom of the river, the drugs, the drug princes, the goddaughters of the Shovel, and Rodolfo Walsh’s notebook, hounding us for being useless. We hallucinated, yelled out nonsense, said our names.
– I’m Rodolfo Walsh!
– And I’m Leo, from La Maciel!
– And I’m the laughter of Once, they know me as nigger Juan, Señor Owl Face, who stole 30,000 dollars from the Police, the neighborhood commissioner when he brought his old mother home from the doctor!
– And I’m Señor Owl Face, I’m dead, I’m living on borrowed time!
Without drugs existence crystallizes and you’re fucked, you can’t live without the chaos that drugs give you. And you start searching for it desperately, then you’re hooked, then you’re fucked, you want to flee the world and she’s the captain of the bullet train. And the bitch is always high and she’ll make you crash anywhere, as it happened to us in the river and as it happens to thousands in Buenos Aires or any city in the world. Coke spawns loyal, capricious children that are willing to die.
They gave me 15,000 dollars and I beat the shit out of my woman and I gave my kids to a fat lady who sold them to a German couple. When the mother of my children saw me come in all freaked out, she screamed at me, what are you doing here you son of a bitch, you fucking drug addict, and she went apeshit when she saw me grab the little ones and carry them off down the stairs to the street. She grabbed a knife and she cut me up all over, but Luis Risco was waiting for me on the corner in a pickup and we took the babies. Her desperate, pained screams still rebound, ricochet in my head. That was our life; born so the worst things would happen to us.
Floreal (after Floreal Ruiz) was five; Luismi (after Luis Miguel) was four; and Florencia was two. Ultranationalist, chivalrous princes who could all be called Margarita. Any girl named Margarita will be blessed by God.
My soul says: God bless you, Señor Owl Face!
Attention, everyone who takes drugs: one can’t live without drugs!
I’m going to tell you what she told me. I killed him like that because he used me fucked me and made me clean his house for only 10 pesos she told me that he was a mother fucking gimp because of what he did to me he used me and he threw me out on the street like I wasn’t good for anything else I’m going to kill him Margarita said with a chainsaw. I’m going to do it no Marga don’t say that you started to love him said her friend. Yes but now I hate him. They began investigating the case and a breakthrough came when they called margarita’s friend rita to testify. And she recorded her with an mp3.
The Geman couple never existed. They –my kids– must be somewhere in the interior. For 15,000 dollars that I blew away in a second. That’s why I’m pimping whores. I spend my life pimping from one place to the next. Searching for them. I know they’re here.
I manage some nice pussycats: Pamela, Flora and Luisa, a girl from Rojas, I put them up on the Internet forums for pussycats. There are thousands of forums where users post the worst comments. Dolys, Salomon, Escorts, or Famosas argentinas, are some of the online cathouses where you can find them.
“Flora contracts her vagina muscles real good.”
“Pamela sucks it better each day.”
Luis send me a little text message on my cell.
“At twelve at Teodoro’s Tenement”.
Pamela (Luis was up to here with Pamela) tipped me off that Elvis, the owner of the bowling alley, beats them regularly and isn’t happy that we’re putting them up. He’s afraid of losing three formidable and hard-working pussycats.
We took a taxi and a few blocks later found ourselves at the flat where Pamela worked. Elvis wasn’t there. We flashed a pair of pistols and they told us that at that hour he was at the nightclub on the Rotonda de San Justo.
When we arrived at the club we made a mess. I went in firing the machine gun I bought from two of Peron’s monkey Peronists. The bouncers dropped like flies. The first thing we did was switch off the lights; you have to turn off the lights: it’s the worst thing you can do to a worker of the night.
Elvis saw us and greeted us with a glass of scotch in his hand, with open arms. He didn’t stay standing long. We blew him away.
Hey, he got his bad taste from Ginzburg and his bad luck from Charly Garcia. He was. A whitewashed cumbia hero. 67 years old. He was. We gave him a one-way ticket to pigskinland to play the harp with Saint George.
…Margarita didn’t know that Rita was going to rat her out, because she was threatened to do so. Margarita was jailed because the gimp stole her kids and sold them in a whorehouse, that’s how fucked up this country is, it’s enough to drive you crazy. In the neighborhood of La Boca there was a woman named margarita and the neighbors said that she had something to do with the crime of the two-timing gimp from up the block because she was the only one who went to the gimp’s kiosk and they’d lock themselves inside with the shades down. The gimp turned up chopped in 4 pieces the head in the bathroom and the arms in the kitchen and the legs on the bed. And the rest of the body in the living room everyone knew margarita had been there an hour ago…
Elvis, girls; patent leather shoes, red silk shirt; gold suspenders, black suede pants; a brimmed hat, gift of Saul Ubaldini. Marvelous Ricky is going to be in mourning, he won’t have anybody to give him the drugs! The fifth Beatle or the second Mona Jimenez. 45 bullets from an M-45 machine gun! 45 bullets and a blood-soaked party! It’s still possible to ride off into the sunset, kid.
I walk under the sun, oh, oh; because our love is an emerald stolen by a thief, desperate!; I have nowhere to go without you’se! I can only say again, desperate!! Oh, oh, because I have to get out, I have to finally get away from you! I don’t know where my dreams have gone or my love!