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tropical tales pt. 2


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Author Topic: tropical tales pt. 2  (Read 85 times)
rik letendre
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« on: November 30, 2011, 01:06:56 pm »


       (looking for an ending)    " Bindal Unfinished "



     Bindal was looking at his 50th birthday, living in a large shithole Mexican city with his Indian wife, teary eyed from slinging and eating hot peppers and her 20 year old daughter. The girl could type and text like a fiend to her friends, giggle and garble MTV music videos in English at the top of her lungs. But she couldn’t read a book, wash a dish or intelligently answer a question to save her useless, indolent existence. This broken team and situation didn’t bother Bindal in the least.
     From his youth he was as uncomfortable in his own skin as he was in the presence of others. Early on he had masked this discomfort with a master’s skill at chess and a low but machine gun like guffaw until it became almost a trademark of his demeanor, unremarkable-simply Bindal’s way of expression- the cackle of a mad man or neurotic.
     Most agree that while at the top of his game, somewhere between the ages of 32 and 35, he lost it. In demand and earning big time for his complex computer programs and systems, he rebelled, shut down, refused his work, lifestyle and pretty much all normal social encounters. Never very good at the latter and fed up with the former two, he sold, gave away, or simply abandoned all credit cards, bank accounts, collected art, cases of wine, his home and headed south of the border.
     It wasn’t an epiphany or sudden overnight shift. His crumbling was in stages, jumping with dissatisfaction between government and corporate work, relocating with each project, as many as 3 times a year in 4 different states. And his female companionship changed with even greater frequency. Bindal had quirky social skills but he pulled the ladies and while most were comely they were loonier than he.  Kleptomaniacs, strippers, neurotics, ex-mental patients, run away Mormons, they only exacerbated his dissolution. And beyond sexual misadventures, expanded drug use stirred things to a heady peak. Because his experimentation was broad and varied, it was not addictive but certainly sent the gyres widening. Suicidal episodes, premeditated and beyond reckless driving, began to occur. The specific incident is unknown but one run-in with the law and probable jail time cemented his decision to escape to foreign climes. He crossed the border at Tijajuanna with a jeep full of fishing gear and his family didn’t hear from him for at least 5 or 6 years.  The troubled son’s troubles disappeared with him and they were unburdened.
     Cliché’ as it might seem, Bindal met Consuela in a cantina in a dusty little town when he was behind almost a full bottle of mescal. With drunken bluster and feeble Spanish, he’d deeply insulted a fat whore- something about one eyebrow and a mustache, so she pulled a razor. Consuela had been eyeing the gringo since he entered, watched him descend into his cups and couldn’t help but smell what was coming. She threw a barstool under the whore’s legs before blood could be drawn and jerked the stumbling Bindal away and outside, the shouting and laughter stayed inside and didn’t follow them into the



street dust and blinding sun of the afternoon. He introduced her to his hyena laugh. Then he puked.
     When he woke it wasn’t Consuela he saw but the looming, pimpled face of her daughter, Rosarely, then 14 years old. He pulled himself onto his elbows and looked about- a shabby but clean, sparsely furnished room, retablo covered walls, a hard mattress under him, and Indian pattered wool blanket over his nakedness. At his side on the edge of the bed Rosarely sat. She hadn’t blinked.
     After a moment Bindal said,”Uh, Oh”.     
     “Mi mama dijo si te dispiertas (sp. Despertarse), tengo que pedir- Guar are ju car?” she asked.
     “Huh?”
     “Gwhere are ju car?”
     “Shit”, he mumbled, a hand across his aching head. He wiped some crust from the corners of his mouth and made a hand signal for something to drink. She fetched a cup, passed it to him and he wet his parched tongue with flat coca cola.
     “Agua?”
     “Si”, she went through a curtained doorway. He cast about for his clothes, found only his jeans and slipped them on quickly. She returned with a gourd that he tossed down without his usual concern for amoebae or E. coli count.
     “Gwhere are ju car”, she tried again.
     “No entiendo”.
     “Gwhere are ju car?”, this time holding up his car keys.
     “Where am I? he said as his hands shot through empty pockets,”Who the fuck are you?”.
     What sounded to be a metal gate slammed and their heads snapped in its direction.
     “Mi mama viene”.
     Consuela entered with a woven shopping bag in one hand, a twine and parchment wrapped parcel in the other. They looked at each other and she tossed the parcel on the bed next to him- his laundered clothes. Something familiar about her and then it was coming back to him. His head under cold water at a side street fountain, kids with fireworks and more drinks with her into the evening. Beyond that curtain in this room, the large metal tub where she bathed, herself first, then him, dark skin and dark hair. Licorice eyes in the tamped down light of a Coleman lamp. She had a great body and finely shaped hands. She wasn’t beautiful or even pretty but something quietly noble.
     She turned her back and at a small table in the corner of the room began to unpack the bag, tamales, coke and beer, an aspirin packet, chilies, some flowers and herbs, a cheese wrapped in cloth. Rosarely at her side, bubbled when Consuela handed her a pack of fresh batteries and her daughter rushed off through the curtain snatching some earphones on the way.  Consuela opened the aspirin packet and a can of beer, brought them over and sat next to him. She reached up to a shelf over the bed and pulled down a small clay pot. In it was his wallet, coin, some crumpled papers, phone numbers he’d never call, the little reefer left in his stash and some rolling papers.
     “Connie”, he said,”Ah,,,Consuela.”
     She lit 2 cigarettes from a pack in her apron and gave him one. “Coney es O.K. Tome los”, she said pushing the aspirin at him. He did. After, she took a sip of his beer, she gave it back and with a smile passed her can cooled palm over his forehead.
     “Quere comer?”
     “Suppose I should…uh…si, I can eat, yeah”. She walked to the table, took down a cutting board and an ancient blade, began cutting an onion. From behind her she heard Bindal rustle his clothes from the wrapping saying,”Ah…Connie, about my car…”
     “Ahhheee, su coche!” she cried followed by a rapid torrent of Spanish he couldn’t catch as she dropped her knife, called for Rosarely and the keys, kicked his shoes toward him and hustled him out the door.  At the front gate he stumbled, tried to correct the folded back heal of his shoe and surmised she was trying to remember where they’d left the car. He understood only “car” and “bad neighborhood”. They began to retrace the evening. She seemed to understand everything he tried to impart, he very little of her lingo. This undid him even more and their search involved stops at several cantinas, took the edge off. They found his ride wedged on a tree stump, minus the battery. So haggling with some neighbors, then some cousins down the block and after overpaying for an old battery and hands to free it from the stump, the jeep fired up and they headed back. She directed him.
     “So…Connie…the girl?”.
     “Ah…mi hija. Tengo una otra, mas joven, pero ella esta con la abuela”.
     He caught the two daughters part and became nervous,”Your husband?”.
     Muerto”.
     They were passing some small boys with firecrackers. One flew into the back of the jeep and went off. After the shock she giggled. They said no more.
     Bindal didn’t move on right away so the days and empty bottles mounted. Consuela cooked and washed. In trade for some work on a V.W. engine he got 5 gallons of garish rose colored paint and redid the walls of the two room shack, added to the garden, rigged the tub with a drain and overhead shower.  Rosarely flitted in and out, jabbering nonsense and flipping through teenage magazines with bad fashion and lame gossip. She ate the most and didn’t lift a finger.
     “She go to school?, he finally asked.
     “Escuela? NO”.
     “She have a job?”
     “No, no trabajo, hay muy poco opportunidad aqui.”
     “Then she should go where there’s one or the other”. Then for the first time she shot him a look of venom and he didn’t know what to do with it. She turned to walk out but he stayed her and with a venomous look of his own shouted, “No! Me voy”, and he left. The gate’s slam triggered her sobs. He came back a day and a half later, staggeringly drunk, but he came back. A week later Consuela had put aside enough money for Rosarely’s bus fare to the grandmother’s house 200 miles north, With her daughter gone a certain delight had left her eyes and an Indian resignation set in as deeply as her absence had enlivened his. Upon this plateau they decided to travel.
     Bindal had cash secreted in compartments of his jeep. Taking the last of it and trading the vehicle for a V.W. van, they headed south into the Central American isthmus. Most roads were back roads and if they found a highway they took it only until they found a back road. They dawdled, didn’t rush, spending at times, weeks in villages where Bindal was the only gringo, perhaps the first ever seen. They were always welcomed except when they needed to stop in a city where they were looked upon with distain- a gringo with his Indian whore from another tribe. Or simply the white devil again, using “our” women.  The cities and larger pueblos were their place for a hot shower and shave, to restock for the road and check in on the larger world at internet cafes. Bindal usually found he was missing a world of shit and was glad of it. In the tourist traps and surfer resorts Consuela sold fabrics, beads and amber she purchased from the mountain villages.
She would double the price and fill the gas tank. Bindal hooked up with the backpack crowd, Aussies and Canadians on holiday. Girls were young, dread-locked, bikinied, bronzed and beautiful. Beach bond fires and drum circles went all night with booze, reefer and coke. When he often didn’t return to the van or camp they’d set up, Consuela launched into bitter tirades and fights became physical. After her first black eye she didn’t protest the next infidelity but waited till he slept.  Then she attacked him with a stick and served him the same.  He’d repent, things would cool for a while until his cloven hooves would sprout at the next debauchery and he’d be off again. He tried to explain his behavior as a bi-polar condition. Consuela saw it only as betrayal. By the time they had reached Panama they both knew it was desperation. There was no consensus on what he was desperate for. So they turned to journey north again.
     The capital of the state that bordered Guatemala was where they settled. It had been an agricultural center for the conquistadors, later turned to industrial endeavor and finally a crowded shithole noisy city of 500,000 people. Bindal knocked about with the local degenerates, taught computer science for free rent in several digs and continued twisting in the wind until Consuela put the hammer down and refused to debauch with him. Rather than lose her, wild ways were dropped, a firm apartment and teaching position obtained. Earnings were meager but turmoil found it’s pan and their lives settled to a gentle trundle with only minor flares.
     But her daughter returned. The situation between grandma and Rosarely went south and so did she. Rosarely, now 19 going on 20, showed up at Bindal and Connie’s door one very windy day in April. He took it in stride, Consuela took it with guilt of abandonment, and Rosarely used those positions to advantage and wedged herself back into the cracked picture of Bindal’s life. His apartment was small and cramped- a dusty cluttered mess, but only two blocks from his work. Consuela found a position as a receptionist for an insurance agency across town. The bus cost pennies and she found her daughter a job at record store nearby so their routine was established. Rosarely immediately began stealing CDs. Their music library grew rapidly but Bindal listened to little of it. He played chess on the computer with people around the world while Consuela prepared cheap meals aflame with hot peppers. With no friends in the city, Rosarely glued her face to the television and MTV, texting wildly to amigos left behind up north.  She typed so hard and fast that Bindal had to spring for a new keypad one month after her arrival. They all slept in one room. Seems they were back where they started.
     An old man tended to the chores and minor maintenance of Bindal’s building- lived rent-free in a tiny ground floor room in the alley near the rubbish bins. His name was Michaga; he wore an obvious and usually poorly donned wig and fancied himself the “concierge” of the building. No one knew how long he’d been there nor from where he’d come. But while personable and in fact quite well read, he was considered no more than a janitor hanging on to a free room by a thread. No one knew how many times he had  proved so much more than that nor did the current inhabitants sense his depth perception of situations, of the profundity of minor moments or the elegance of certain types of failure. But Bindal did. Bindal lived with that perception.They didn’t speak much and they didn’t speak of this, but when their eyes engaged the entire saying of it was there....
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February 26, 2017, 08:29:23 am piersdad says: found i have still admin on this page  sadly storydad has dissappeared  thank goodness some of my stories are still about
December 02, 2012, 11:20:41 am piersdad says: we have a lot of people  just posting  some thing  never related to writing  and then advertizing their site on their profile  if this gets out of hand we could go viral and get 40 a day of this sort of person spamming the site
May 17, 2012, 09:05:50 pm terrimcintyre says: How is your book doing, Jennifer? Did you see my review on Amazon?
May 31, 2011, 12:52:28 am Miss Magic says: thanks piersdad
May 30, 2011, 09:41:00 pm piersdad says: Oledakit is the cupprit and ip banned as well as the name
May 30, 2011, 09:39:24 pm piersdad says: removed heaps of spam this morning
January 25, 2011, 11:18:53 pm mollytime says: awwww.
so how many have we got now?
January 05, 2011, 04:24:06 pm Miss Magic says: Loss of members: I entered everyone's names into a listed spammer database due to suspicious joining. Sadly, those that I found with 3 or more hits on that site have been banned and removed from MM's Forum
December 13, 2010, 02:52:43 pm mollytime says: WHERE DID ALL THE SHOUTS GO??
I win.
December 13, 2010, 05:26:40 am Miss Magic says: wow!
I have a few more chapters of The New Beginning to put up in a few days Smiley I'm amazed at all the new members!
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