…a watershed…

Friday, sometime early March 2005

Last nite was a watershed of story, as he poured the scotch
and poured his heart.
It started after he came home, after going out to get smoke, and
coming back two and a half hours later.  He goes to the favellas
to score, and although I worry about that, he tells me not to worry,
they know him, and he can take care of himself.  That I believe.

He’d run into friends, drank, coked, come home and looked into
her eyes, searching for anger.
She could not hide anything from him.  He always saw,  so this
time she truly said no, not anger, just adjusting to frequency.
It’s every 2 or 3 days…

“No… not every 2 or 3 days… no……. oh…………….yes….
I guess you’re so damned smart.
Just don’t be like the other ones, please.  Just understand me.
I will never lie to you, I will always be true to you, always,
I swear.  Can you handle me babe?”

She looked long into his eyes.  “I Think so…”

This night she desperately wished for a recorder. The things he told
her, the way they rolled from his tongue…how could she ever capture
a tenth of them…?

She told him her main concern with his drinking…
“Your drinking is your business…how it affects me is my business.
I’m concerned with your health, that’s what worries me.”

“When I die, they oughta cut out a few organs…burn the rest please…
but take some of me and study, because I am not a normal person.

“I have drunk and snorted and shot, and been shot, and I live.
I’m not normal.
I’m not going to live long, babe, and I’m not going to change.
I can stop, I have stopped if there is a reason.

“But I don’t wanna spend my life sober.  I’ve seen too much.
No, you’ll see me dead.
Just don’t bury me.  Burn me, throw me in the ocean.
A Viking burial would be nice.  But otherwise just burn me, please. ”
Water filled her eyes…..

“I’m not afraid to die.  I never have been .  You know what scares
me…the only thing?.  I’ve never told anyone this.
What scares me is dying without being called a man.
To be worthy of being called a man, that is the one thing.
Not to die one of the masses….. oh….”

“In the Legion, they had a name they called me…..”
(I know it, but I’m not sharing it right now, as I’m not
sure he’d be OK with that).
“Oh, I’m good…I never miss.  Never.  One shot to the head.
I took out a squad of 40.  I wait…I watch…watch for days,
I know their routine, I know how many and where.  Pow Pow…
I could take out 5 in about 14 seconds.  I was the Best.

“Once they found me, they chased me for 4 days in the desert…
140 degrees day, -35 at night.  I covered myself for some shade.
I drank my own piss.
“They called out my special name, “It’s ___we gotta get him!”,
and they chased me … a bunch of them…
It was 35 miles to the sea, Once I got there, there was a beeper
and I could be found.  But I had lost mine, and no one
knew where I was….”
Obviously he escaped and was found, but I never heard how.

As a child, he was always in trouble, always being punished,
and the parents seemed to enjoy it, and from his stories,
they were quite creative.

They laughed at him, and called him Tatubola… little Armadillo…
The parents had a new horse whip and were trying it out on him.
There were other family there, and they all laughed as his mother
whipped him, and he rolled into a ball, rolled all over the ground
and down the hill.
The others said the parents must know what they are doing,
they’re the parents.  Little Armadillo, rolled up in a ball.

“My father decided the belt wasn’t good enough.  So he turned the
buckle on me.  A man 6’2”, 190#…do you think he needed to use a
buckle on a child?  What a coward.  But I never cried.  Never.
I thought of what Tom would do (Sawyer), he wouldn’t cry.
No, it was not me who should cry.  It was them, they were the
ones who were not human, they should cry.

“Once, when my mother left him, in order to get her back, he tried
to impress her by taking me on the back of his bicycle, for a ride to
show what a good father, a good man he was.
He put me behind him, and we rode.

“My ankles rubbed against the wheels, rubbed them raw and bleeding.
And when he saw, he told me how stupid I was, and he beat me.
I’d ruined his beautiful fantasy picture.”

Turns out he was ADHD.  I know it.  Total Right brain.
Got in trouble in school every day.  He read voraciously, and
everything at school seemed stupid, he already knew it.
Typical of ADD brains, unusually bright and intelligent,
easily distracted, able to focus intensely, and on their own.

He read all the classics early on, filled his head with the heroes
of so many times and places.  All of them, the great books, he read.
History, Geography, but not math, not numbers.

“If you got a woman laughing, you’re gonna get some pussy… ”
he continued.
(She remembered the big swedish nurse who assisted in her last home
birth, the most perfect birth.  Smile Carol, big smile, she’d say.
An open smile means an open pussy…. see?  it was true!)

“You always made me laugh, you’re good at that,”  she purred…
“So you must have gotten a lot of pussy…”
“Oh Good Lord, you have no idea!”
He shook his head and grinned.

“You’re clean.  Your eyes are clean.
I want to rebuild myself from what’s inside you.
I planted something in you, back then.
I planted it, and it grew inside you, and 17 years later,
you come and find me.
Because you never forgot me, and I never forgot you.

“When I saw you, I saw your goodness.  I saw you’re clean.
I was not a nice person at that time.  But with you, I gave my best.
It was out of time, and I saw another way.  I drove 400 miles..
….do you know how many times?  Just to see you.
It was apart from my life.”

She had no idea of this.  All she knew was he was diving at the pier.
So it turns out he was driving from Tahoe each time?

He and his Tahoe girlfriend fought about her.  She had called that
day, when he’d been gone for so long, took that chance, and the
woman answered.
Later, the woman asked him, and he told her…
yes, I’ve met someone, and this is why I drive.

He told her his friend Mark was a good man, a good friend,
and he lost him as a friend forever, because he hit that woman in
this fight…”knocked her lights out”…and he knew he was wrong,
that was the only time he did that.
She asked him why he was untrue to her.
“She was not a good fuck.  She had become like a sister.
I left soon after I saw you”

“You know, they are offering me a job…. I can’t believe it…
$80,000 and I said no.  I couldn’t do it… I felt like a whore.
The Legion keeps asking me to come back, come back, we could
live in France, you would be my wife, we would live well.
I would be maybe a Sargent Chief.
And I would teach people how to kill.
But no, I can’t do it.  I said no, I want something else.”

“You wanna know the two saddest things?
A soldier without a war, and
and a Man without a job…
I know….. I’m both.”

…a resume…

The time grows nearer to my departure.  Over the weeks we have
grown to know eachother better, and certainly talked more than
we ever had years ago.  Years ago,  the body did the talking.

When you want to be close to someone, and all you have is the
phone, you think of a lot of things to keep the voice on the air,
no matter what.

The old and new Alcir were merging now, and I was almost all done
with preparations, packing, passport, and practicing Portuguese…
Gee, that was a lot of P’s !…  and I was ready for
Whatever was coming.

I was thinner, tanner, more centered, and all there was to do now
was to get my stuff in storage, and out of my daughter’s house,
and to be sure my dogs and cats were going to be alright for the
month I would be gone.
I had no idea what would be the outcome, so I had prepared both
for coming home and continuing on my own private Idaho,
and for things to be ok for me to continue on this Brasil direction,
and ready myself for further adventures beyond.

I poured over my journals, and re-viewed the things that I had
found about him and those 18 years we had been apart…
One of the first things I had found was a Resume he had put on
the internet, and I read it once again… the robot had translated,
so any possible poetics were gone, but the essence was there…
It had given me a snapshot of his life somewhat, after he left.

“Been born on 14/02/1958, former Rio de Janeiro pupil of the
Collegio Pedro II, former urban guerilla during periodo of the
dictatorship, exiled em 1979, having lived in 5 paises, and
transited by others the 43 in all continents.

Having worked as Fishing of Ouricos of Mar (Professional Diver)
of the coast north of the State of California.  He ties the Alaska,
where I lived per 4 years having worked there tambien as
Fishing of King Crab, that and considered the profession most
dangerous of the world, and having served per 5 years in the
French Foreign Legion, in the Duzieme Regiment Etrangere
de Parachoutists of where I gave low with apos metals of bravery
to have passed for tres great conflicts, as:  Chad, Djbouty, and
finally in the Gulf War Desert Storm.
Eximio sailor, having crossed the horn four times, two times
being ground.

The unica reason pra that I bring everything this tone, and so
that can subsidize what I believe gives a success, my book of
memories that would like to see published, as much how much
the remain of my tedious workmanship would literaria.
None ties the moment, but I wait to revert this picture how
much before.
In the truth, I have dues letters and an article on fishes of
ouricos of the sea, and the Exon Valdez, published in the
periodical San Francisco Chronical.
I Wait Contacts…”

So from what I could glean, he’d attended the most prestigious
school in Rio, which meant Brasil, where when a student graduates,
they are already at the level of 2 years of college.  I knew now
that he spoke Brasilian Portuguese, English, French, and I
believe also touches of several other languages, as well as some
of the Indiginous dialects.
He’d been diving for Urchins on our coast, and going to Alaska
for four seasons  of the King Crab (and the show called the
World’s Most Dangerous Catch had filled me in on That life!
I certainly could envision him on the deck, whipped by giant and
frigid waves, while working 20 hours a day, that Permagrin
melding his face) and he Loved it!

He’d joined the Legion, and although he’d gotten out in two years
and returned to Brasil, still I guess he continued to serve for three
more years somehow…maybe as part of his agreement for going
home early.
He’d been back in Brasil since 1989, and now had a daughter.
His two sons from two different marriages were now grown, and
they were somewhat estranged from him.

I recalled how he had told me the story of his enlistment…
The fellow had been distracted with other things, screens, pages….
and when he finally saw and interviewed Alcir, the guy gave him a
name… in the Legion you loose all history, can make No contracts,
and there is a new name given.

I seem to remember that something was on the TV screen, likely
the series, for the fellow decided that Alcir was to be Scott Austin….
Steve Austin’s brother…. you remember the Six Million Dollar Man?
He said he was his Brother….
And Usually, you don’t get out for seven years.  Period.

He told me that his regiment was the most exclusive, and they
dropped out of planes at such an altitude, they wore oxygen masks.
They were sent in on secret black opp missions, and he had begun
to tell me just a little about those ventures.
I’d known about the Revolutionary thing, and why he was exiled
after some daring stunts, including robbing banks to subsidize
the Revolution.
I remember his tale of doing Two Banks at a time, in the middle of
the street, guns in each hand, and I saw this crazy movie in my
head, with Antonio Banderos, grinning the whole while.

He got very discouraged after learning that the money wasn’t all
going where it was supposed to go, and once again ideals fall prey
to the reality of corruption and lies… the very things he had been
fighting against.  He left on a small boat that his grandfather had
paid for, and came to Norway, Hawaii, and then NorCal.

My time flew at the end… too much to gather together, too many
lists and minutiae… trying to think of things I had to have, things
I couldn’t get in Rio… my CDs, my vitamins and supplements,
cameras, film, watercolors, brushes and paper, journals, stuff for
the sun life (Hawaii helped with that, as Rio is on the same lattitude in
the south)…and I wrapped presents for his birthday…Valentines Day!

I’d found him some vintage sunglasses on ebay, and was quite pleased
with myself.  He had looked great in his Vuarnets, and I knew the 60s
Raybans would certainly do the trick.

As well, there was the Green issue, and since they only had something
the equivelent of what we called Mexican Dirt weed, I bought some
Sees Chocolates, hollowed them out, and put a little Bud in each one,
sealing them up with warmed dark chocolate.
His bandido was rubbing off…
Still, I had this funny movie in my head, these big Brasilians, smelling
and tasting the chocolates, and dragging me away….

And now He had a list for Me… things he couldn’t get there…
a Living Color tape, Marshall Tucker Band tape, the Bill Murray
film, Where the Buffalo Roam…High Times with some Sailing article
he’d  seen, a can of zippo (no can take on plane), and some
good Scotch…of course.

I told him I would do what I could.   He was pretty poor, but although
I was relatively the same, still I knew there were many more options
for me, and I had no problem in fulfilling wishes that would make both
of our lives better….

Details, details, details…. notes to myself all over the place.
And that feeling of Can’t Wait in back of it all….
It was all going like a bus out of control, and at this point, there
was nothing I could do but hurry up! and all I could do was wait
and go with the flow.