Imagine the worst halitosis you have ever suffered, inhale deeply, sleep on it, add
morning-breath after a previous-night's dinner of dog food, rancid eggs, and wine from a
goatskin bladder, then belch, and youll have a mild impression of the taste treat I
experienced just after sun-up—sans tongue, if you can figure that out. Had I any guts
left, I would have spewed them all over the canyon floor. Fortunately, mine were dry
heaves. Hypothetical heaves? With fewer and fewer fleshy parts clinging to the bones of my
sorry self, explanations of sensory awareness become more and more farfetched. Sundry
carrion eaters have picked me pretty clean, so how Im able to visualize the remains,
sniff their ghastly odor—detecting even their flavor—defies credibility. I feel
like a multiple-amputee complaining of pains in his missing limbs.
And once again Im reminded of Maputo, from which Yayuk and I
finally escaped—a bold, early-morning sprint to the long-distance bus station that
sorely tested our lapsed stamina. We lucked out, sort of, managing to squeeze aboard an
idling, ready-to-depart bus for Xai-Xai, and, not fifteen kilometers beyond the city
limits—Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman blaring over a crackling sound
system—I, having popped a clove into my mouth on impulse, actually tasted it! As
distinctly as I smelled the burning rubbish heap we passed soon thereafter. Thus my senses
of taste and smell resurfaced, gasping for life after death above the swamp still clogging
my sinus passages, until I suffered a relapse—not health-wise but direction-wise, our
driver having pulled off the road to inspect something amiss with one or more of the
tires... so amiss that we about-faced and drove all the way back to the terminal. I
remember ruing that we were destined never to leave Maputo, that our reprieve had been a
mistake, and my own short-lived whiff and swallow of the sensible world was one last brief
reminder of joys soon extinct.
Apropos, I rarely revisit Ol Jolly Roger, as
Ive dubbed my once-carbon-copy—which now resembles a fairly generic-looking
skull and crossbones. Besides, it has gotten harder, now that Ive been dispersed.
This happened just the other night when some marauding coyotes saw fit to dispute which
part of my right leg had the most meat left on it. One canine went north, one south, my
gristly femur and shin forever parting company.
Since then, an arm and the remaining foot have disappeared. Which is
not to say I couldnt track them down, if I tried. What's the point, though?
What's the point of anything in this am-I-or-am-I-not void of
someone I know...
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