She doesn’t mean a thing to me, and yet
I’ll pursue the mystery of her death.
By Jorge Enrique Lage
They say the freeway will crisscross the city. What’s left of the city. By day the bulldozers advance, sweeping away parks, buildings, shopping centers. By night I wander close to the sea, amid the ruins, the machinery, the containers, trying to catch a glimpse of the magnitude of what’s coming. There is no doubt the freeway will be something monstrous.
This is what happens with freeways: It doesn’t matter where they might pass through, at each side the desert begins to grow (like an intention of space, a possibility).
I run into him again tonight. I call him Autistic Man. At one time he was a nerd, a geek, a freak in his own manner. Now he is beyond all that. I find him sitting beside some skeletons of American cars that must be more than a century old. He has made for himself a tangle of various colored cables from which he gets enough light to read the latest issue of Wired Magazine. I gesture hello to him and keep walking. Someone should make a documentary about him.
A mysteriously open container. I shine a match on the metal door. A whole bunch of stickers that say: SNACK CULTURE. Outside, on each end, in even bigger letters, it probably says the same thing: SNACK CULTURE. Inside there is a corpse (there has to be).
“Anything else?” asks Autistic Man.
“Tons of boxes, boxes, boxes.”
“I mean, are there any other bodies?”
“You and I are here, right?”
“Other bodies. Other bodies.”
He is almost asking me for them. I tell him:
“I don’t know why there’d be any.”
A helicopter patrol crosses in front of the moon. When they disappear, Autistic Man stares at me with his expressionless face and says:
“It’s always the same. You, me, and a dead woman.”
Translated by Guillermo Parma