4/14/2006

Number Six Dream.



Right now in Madrid it's 9 in the morning on April 15th. The sun came up at 6:44 AM or so over El Parque del Retiro and poured down th' Gran Via and Calle Alcala until it hit the Puerta del Sol, cresting and flooding into the Plaza Mayor just like the River Prettier'n Fuck overtaking its banks after a two-foot deluge of Dubloons. Recoletos and Lista and Ibiza and Atocha are all waking up and stretching in that goddamn sunshine.

There's a little outdoor cafe on La Castellana right about where Martinez Campos runs into it and it's god damn pretty. There's a couple of business types in suits and sunglasses nursing an espresso and a cafe au lait and there's a girl and a young guy holding hands and some old people feeding the birds. Old guys in black berets and they still smoke those god damn Ducados.

A warm, caressing wind is wending its way lazily in from the northeast. Man, it's great. School kids are running for the metro, bags bouncing on their backs, rust-colored candied cacahuetes in their hands in those little shrinkwrap tubes. Have they still got that tangy strawberry gum you used to get in those machines on th' metro? Of course they fucking do. It's Madrid, man.

There's a little town way out there past Aravaca called Pozuelo that I used to ride my bike through. Cobblestones. White-washed buildings. Tiny alleys. It all smells like frying olive oil and potatoes and old lady's cologne and exhaust and earth. There's a tiny little grocery where you could get trading cards and licorice and single cigarettes.

When you're young, man, you've got all kinds of crazy fucking dreams. They're all impractical and that's the best part. When you've taken a few to the teeth your dreams get a little more practical, don't they? See, I have this grown up dream- it's just one of many, you know? They're all in my little Walter Mitty vault, dig? You've got them too. But this one's my favorite- this is Number Six Dream and it involves moving to Madrid, singing and playing piano in boites and slowly drinking myself to death.

I've got a lot of research to do on Number Six. How long would it take a 41-year old with a not-too-trashed liver to deep six it from booze? If you're really serious and methodical about it? 15 years? I'm talking assiduous. Obviously it has to be straight vodka, right? I have to be able to work, man. I have to be able to make enough as a singing, jazzing norteamericano to afford one of those little ground-floor warrens off Puerto del Sol. I remember those little apartments. They rocked. Off th' Plaza Mayor. Little old ladies in black peeling potatoes on the doorstep. Tippling anise and cognac.

Would anise be better? Faster?

I think moving to Madrid and playing and singing in nightclubs and slowly drinking myself to death would be the fuckin' bomb, man. I'd be a mysterious figure in the pre-dawn mist, shuffling down Conde de Aranda in a trenchcoat after a night of singing Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and These Foolish Things and a little scatty be-bop for the hipsters. After another night of straight vodka from the bar and anis from the hip flask and blowing the lyrics and crying a little.

I'd be El Americano but first people would think I was from Argentina or Venezuela because I speak that strange, affectless Spanish. They would have to lean in close to hear me speak in that husky whisper that identifies the serious alcoholic. I'd be an intriguing character with my silence and my old-world deference. I'd listen to everything people had to say, listening, always listening for something to make me change my mind. I'd never hear anything like that. Because my mind would have been long-made-up.

Number 6 would take a lot of planning, man. How long can you get a work permit for in Spain? Could I go under the radar? It's not like I'd be going to the hospital, you know. Maybe just once for the cirrhosis diagnosis. They give you this medication you can't drink on. You get seizures. I saw this alcoholic get them once and he was bashing his head into the concrete floor and bleeding like a stuck pig and foaming at the mouth and I wrestled him into a bear hug and wrapped him in a blanket head to toe and cleared his airway and sat on him while he seized and seized and bled and spewed all over me. He would always avoid me after that. I don't blame him. Saving a dude's life is a little intimate. Its funny because I remember thinking when it happened am I going to have to mouth to mouth him through that puke and spew please don't make me.

We couldn't have that. No ugliness like that. Just a slow, elegant wasting until Dona Sainz de la Masa would find me face-down in my tiny kitchen one morning when she was delivering my dry cleaning. All those nice suits.

I wonder if there's enough work like that in Madrid. Probably. Especially for an American. El Americano. El Americano borracho y elegante. El Americano quien esta matandose lentamente.

Wouldn't that be the fucking bull's nuts? Playing piano and singing in Madrid and slowly drinking yourself to death?

That's a beautiful city, man. A beautiful, sad, old world city. I love it there. I love El Parque del Oeste and th' Puerta de Hierro. I'd be honored to die there. It would be worth writing about.

Number Six Dream, baby.

5 Comments:

Blogger fgfdsg said...

My neighbour here overstayed his work visa in Spain by a good 15 months until he had to return home, and they let him back into the country on another work visa less than 10 months later, so I don't think they're too strict about that kind of thing there.

5:21 PM  
Blogger helmut said...

Nice dream. I was in Europe illegal for a year and know an Irish musician who's been in Paris illegally for 30 years. If anything, you simply leave the country every three months and get a new tourist visa stamp on the way back in.

Oh, and jerez....

7:07 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

Forgot to mention what a killer song 'Madrid' is. Genuine class.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Neddie said...

Beautiful, Bobby.

You know I frequently rested in the welcoming bosom of Mother Absinthe in Madrid, in 1980 or so? Last place in Europe it was legal. Dreams Numbers 6-14. ('Course, it's legal everywhere now, but a couple lungfuls of that sweet, sweet Moroccan blonde and an understanding bartender in Moncloa with a direct line to the Glowing Green Stuff -- ooo-wee. A comfortable death. I knew some some guys then who were trying to do it with smack. That's the coward's way.)

You need to read Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano. And think about your family.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Soundsurfr said...

Nice work.

My mother took the number 6 dream when I was 4 yrs old. Left me with her sister (who raised me) and went first to Thailand, then Spain where she still is today, painting oils and hanging out with the artist crowd when it's not siesta time. She's 70 now and not showing any signs of aging or slowing down. She also eats vegetarian food and doesnt' do anything that will kill her slowly. So maybe it's the number 7 dream.

Anyway, I've been over there a few times and it really is the shit. Had to force myself to come back.

Can't be mad at her for taking off - I never had it as bad as it probably would have been if she stuck around.

When she goes, she's leaving me her place over there on the Costa del Sol. I'm just waitin' for my kids to finish college and maybe the missus and I will deal out the rest of the deck in a hacienda on the Mediterranean. Fuck it.

10:30 PM  

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