While drinking my first espresso, I sat with The Yogi, in silence…
We sat at one of the tables out on the street, and watched cars drive by. I thought about the dream I’d had, when I’d spoken with the woman behind the large wooden desk.
I realized that nothing I had written was more extreme than what I had seen, what I had heard…
So it was not cowardice, but fascination, that had caused me to put down my fantasies. It was as if the strangest moments of my life could be re-written, cracked open, and examined under light… Or, conversely, as if they could acquire meaning by being forced together, the same way that a person’s friends and acquaintances from different parts of his life would appear to him if they were all invited to the same party, occupying the same room at the same time. If I were to understand myself, or the world I was in, had to think about it. I couldn’t help it.
As I thought about it, the Yogi looked at me directly. His eyes seemed to say, “I know.”
When Upi brought me my espresso, he dropped one of his magazines on the table for The Yogi to read. Soon, The Yogi was lost in the magazine; he seemed to almost dissolve into it.
When I returned to the inside of Black and Green and put my empty cup down on the counter, Upi looked up from his second magazine. Normally our exchanges were brief. But now, Upi wanted to ask me something.
“Hey, Narc, what happened at G’s place? I heard you were all fucked up in there.”
Every time Upi speaks I hear the marvelous sound of tiny words coming from the body of a big man. His style makes his speech all the more impressive. There is something about his posture, his crisp, clean clothes, the size of him, the warmth of him; it all makes the words seem tiny and unimportant. No matter what he says, it’s as if his appearance is the only message, as if the words are some arbitrary variation on the only statement he ever makes, which is a piece of deep, subtle wisdom which can only be learned over the course of a long acquaintanceship. It is the same piece of wisdom he gives simply by standing still, saying nothing.
Upi pursed his lips slightly, looking down at his magazine, waiting for my answer.
“Uhhh, well…it was crazy. It was off the chain, that party, nuts… The cops came. There was an actor who was robo-tripping and he was shouting his answers to the cop into a dead telephone. The dancers were laughing their heads off naked; they made a fake porn video in the kitchen….”
Upi looked at me with soft eyes.
“So, I, yeah… I did a bunch of coke and Sailor wasn’t there at all and I bedded some crazy guy who was visiting G from Belgium.”
Upi smiled and turned one of the pages of his magazine. He was looking at glossy, full-color pictures of espresso machines (Upi keeps his laptop at Black and Green, but he always has magazines for when he’s working.).
It was warm outside, but the sky was dull and gray.
The Yogi was still the only other person in the place. He was still sitting outside, reading Upi’s magazine, whichever one he had finished before pulling my espresso…
The Yogi doesn’t exercise any comprehensible taste in reading. In the last year, for example, I have seen him read the factory manual to his car, from cover to cover, as well as Hustler magazines, The Gospel of St. Thomas, a biography of Jorge Luis Borges, a sociological history of Haiti, and a Danielle Steele novel. Today he was reading a hardware catalog and drinking jasmine tea. He barely raised an eyebrow when Upi asked me the question.
(A Front Door: Enter “Lust and Fear” into the search bar.)