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Charlie´s blunders

That Friday at noon he stopped working before closing time. He shut down his laptop, let out a heavy sigh and got ready to let himself be carried away by anything worth getting oneself  carried away. That was it. End of the hardships after that morning he had had to endure. Not quite, though.

He locked the door of his office turning the key twice as he usually did for the weekends. He then made his way to the bus station. The bus was meant to take him to the border. Having before taken other buses of the same line, he relied on their punctuality.

The bus arrived customarily late, according to one passenger, who seemed to know what he was talking about. When the bus finally appeared he asked the driver if he thought they would make it in time showing him eagerly  the train ticket scheduled to take him from the border to the inland of the neighbouring country . The bus driver shrugged his shoulders. This made him somewhat anxious. He got a bit puzzled onto the bus, seated in his seat, opened a book and thought about taking a nap and letting himself be carried away by anything worth getting oneself  carried away. Not quite, though.

The bus started its engine. Joined the motorway. Confident on the broken line and the  two lanes  the bus driver could count on he decided to relax and close his eyes. He made himself ready to take that nap. He was on the brink of sleep when he noticed a brusque movement of the vehicle. His dizzy forehead stroke repeteadly against the  window. He opened his eyes and saw the bus taking an unexpected exit road to a small town that was still too close to his point of departure. The same passenger by whom he was previously informed told him this time that the route included several stops before its final destination at the border. His anxiousness mounted but, strangely enough, it was subdued by the fact that outside it was now pouring with rain. All that rain, all those black clouds pouring their rain into that small industrial town they had just arrived in, a narrow working-class town whose town´s square was soaking with water and that was located in a kind of ravine crammed with high concrete buildings and encompassed by even higher green mountains that towered over them, all this kind of oppressing and at the same time deeply familiar atmosphere, calmed him down, so that he started to let himself be carried away by the feelings that that landscape stirred up in him, as if he were losing himself already in a remote border without even crossing the factual one he was heading for. The image of a mole burrowing blindly his way into the moistened soil flashed for an instant accross his mind and then disappeared. Was he unconscioulsy blundering into somewhere he might afterwards regret having to get out from?

The bus resumed its way. Joined again the motorway. Stopped once more in one of those small industrial towns, which in places were randomly crossed by something you could hardly called a river but that was polluted enough to be detected by your nostrils. The wings of his nose were used to that peculiar smell. They had breathed it in  since his childhood , there was a powerful reminiscence attaching his senses to this unique salty blend of moisture and industrial waste. Its spicy saltiness came in fact from the sea, which could already be anticipated behind the soaking green mountains. Just the direction which the bus was heading for after having left anew the motorway.

And there she was, there she emerged, all along a winding stretch of road that bordered the coastline: the grey ,surging, foamy sea, scattered with surfers lying in wait of the next wave series on top of their surfboards, building in their neoprene black suits tiny black points in the middle of a grey immensity. For a second the pitch-black  of their suits reminded him of the tar balls that got annoyingly stuck to the soles of his feet when he was a kid , when summer holidays were a kind of  boundless eternity spent in the surface of an endless beach. He could even smell them, those tar balls, the blend of tar and salt and moistened sand, and the amazing debris, all that wreckage that arrived ashore in September, when the summer was almost over and the high tides began to be particularly powerful and dangerous. What a pleasure to rummage along the length of the beach amid that incredible heap of wasteful things that had landed in the seashore some of them cruelly torn  from who knew what distant and  disrupted homes : maimed barbie dolls with  tar dyed manes; uncombed mops in desperate search for their castaway handles; bleach canisters with tar birthmarks; branches , trunks, lumber of all sorts from which pitch was barely distinguishable from tar and that were once probably  in charge of warming up a cosy fireplace  , low profile closures with flexible pouring spouts for stackable containers also nicely enveloped in tar… If there was anything he and his friends ever yearned for in their plundering of that horn of plenty it was not the detached and lean hand of a Barbie doll with pitch- black painted nails or a tar-dyed mane but rather a real human female hand stretching out from that disjointed set of odds and ends and pulling after her the naked body of one of “Charlie´s Angels”, the tv series their incipient sexuality was then ferociously hooked on.

He felt his forehead striking again against the bus window. He opened his eyes.His forehead was sweating, He felt distressed, still under the far-reaching vision of that naked female body stretching its hand out of the dump and  arising immediately thereafter in one piece, the vision that had roused him from his sleep. It took him at least two minutes to realize that the bus was manoeuvring its way into the bus station at the border. He gathered his belongings and dizzily got off  the bus. He asked the driver where the train station was. The driver showed him this time matter-of-factly the way. He crossed the border and headed under the rain for the railway station. It was already dark, pitch-dark. The departure of his train was scheduled within half an hour but the engine had already arrived. He bought a white chocolate bar from a vending machine and got onto the train. While munching the white chocolate bar and getting settled for the new railway stretch of his journey, he felt as if each swallow of that white stuff helped him to get rid of the pitch dark turmoil in which  the female hand stretching out from the wreckage had plunged him. Swallow after swallow he gradually came to grips with reality and tried to pick up the goal of his journey, whatever this was. Not quite, though.

Four stops after the train´s departure, he was confortably ensonced in his aisle seat. He had taken out a book as well as a pencil and a pencil sharpener and was absorbed in underlining the paragraphs that stroke his attention the most. Four hours of journey lied ahead of him. Four hours during which he didn´t intend anything else but to underline what was worth to be underlined while he was cosily seated in that  train compartment whose wheels were  gathering speed on top of the unbroken lines that made up the railway tracks.

In the fifth stop a couple entered his compartment: a man in his late fifty´s  and a woman of thirty something. They didn´t get intimidated by the fact of his having placed the luggage and  stretched his legs across the seats that the couple was now silently urging him to free. After some discussion the woman ended up seating in the seat opposite his and the man in the one to her right. The man was a heavyset, garrulous, plain man. He wore a gold wrist watch, a checkered shirt  unbuttoned  half-way down his hairless chest, a necklace loosely hanging from it, and his smarmed hair was parted in a straight line, looking as if it had been stuck with glue to form a track that ploughed relentlessly through his entire skull.No sooner were they both seated than the man took his cellular out and started to speak in a loud voice. The woman made him a sign of regret and at her sign he left the compartment,  bound for who knows where, for the toilet, may be.

He couldn´t but be thankful to the woman for having made his husband leave the compartment by that sign of regret. He even discovered  himself willing  to decipher that sign as a kind of treat meant to allow him to resume at full ease his reading and underlining, as if, for the woman´s  part, that sign revealed  a hidden desire to tend him, to caress him with – even if he hadn´t yet seen them- her lean, slender hands. Were it not for the absurdity of the thought he would have agreeably rejoiced in it specially after having let his eyes thoroughly examine the type of female that was seated in front of them.

She was a tall and lean woman , dressed in a silky shirt unbuttoned half-way down her shapely breasts in whose center two prickly nipples seemed too eager to dart out towards his vulnerable heart, so close he felt them graze his nose while she placed her bag in the luggage rack on top of his head. She wore a pair of close- fitting jeans that enhanced the curvy silhouette of her buttocks, fully tight while she stretched up on her tiptoes to reach the rack.  A pitch-dark  mane fell elegantly on her shoulders and the elongated lines of her slender hands continued unbroken in ten nimble fingers crowned by pitch-black painted nails. She was smiling at him. Whether angel or barbie doll, he was  bewitched by her. He gawk at her while she rummaged in her handbag, out of which she took a book and a pencil.The book was Plato´s Republic. Just the book he was himself in that moment absorbed in underlining! He happened to notice the bluntness of her pencil´s point. He obligingly offered himself to sharpen it arguing that underlining was in itself an art to which blunt pencil points were openly detrimental. She laughed at his remark and subsequently took the chance to  introduce herself to him. Her name was Sabrina, Sabrina Duncan. Duncan was his husband´s name, she told him. She married in love with him and their honeymoon was unforgettable, fucking like rabbits in awesome places all over the world as they had, she went on with a wholeheartedness that took him by surprise causing his stomach to twist into a sudden knot. Nevertheless, she continued pointing with her forefinger to the copy of her book, in reading Plato´s Republic  she had come to realize what in an unspoken way she had forbode from the first day of their relationship: the fact that her husband was one of those individuals who Plato, using Dr. Asclepios as a mouthpiece for his opinions, like to refer to as “organisms that attached themselves permanently to infirmity…” that is “ the type of individual incapable of living just the life period that he has been assigned and that were  useless both for themselves and for the community”. She had tried for many years to cope with this state of things for the sake of her stepparents, who were wonderful people, yet she couldn´t go on like that any longer because she had always considered herself, quoting again Plato, a “guardian of the city” or  in plain words, for him to fully understand her, a kind of “Charlie´s  Angel” with no other goal but to see to the health of the community. Her husband, no use trying any longer to ignore it, had become unfortunately an ill person, an individual permanently fixed to his disease, which he had in fact come to love more than her. To put it in a nutshell, she concluded, she could no longer cope with such an obnoxious being, a tar blob one should weed out as soon as possible.

The quotation of Dr. Asclepios and the sole mention of those four words “Guardian of the city”  made the spell she had put on him the more compelling. He was indeed familiar with them thanks to his recent Plato readings just as he was with the expression “Charlie´s Angel” since his teenage hooked -on – tv years. So many and meaningful coincidences overwhelmed him. What doubt could there be as to them being kindred spirits. Hadn´t the time come for him to help that brotherly female hand out from the pitch- dark destiny she had out of love blundered into?

Right after her sharing with him these confidences he found himself nodding to her preposterous proposal.Given the thickness of her pencil mine she was convinced that if he sharpened it to the utmost it could pretty much end up functioning as a center punch. She therefore suggested him to go ahead with the sharpening, cross the aisle of the train´s compartment once the pencil´s point was threatening enough, reach the toilet that was located just behind the glass sliding door at the rear, make his way inside the john where her husband would surely be seated muddling through his prostate troubles and taking advantage of his defenseless position stab him the yugular vein with the sharpened pencil.Once the job was  done they would flee the train and start looking for awesome places to live out their childish dream of fucking like rabbits all over the world.

Hooked on the words of that angel of Charlie, Charlie did as he was told. He sharpened his pencil carefully to the utmost, stood obediently upon his feet, walked along the compartment´s  aisle blind as a mole , spittle gathering at the corners of his mouth, forced his way into the toilet where the husband was in effect muddling through his prostate troubles with his trousers off, pushed back his elbow for the stationery stab to gain momentum and….

“For heaven´s sake no, no, no…Don’t do it, you crazy fool! shrieked Charlie waking and sitting up in full distress in their double bed, dripping in sweat.

“What´s wrong, darling!” exclaimed anxiously his wife, who was awaken by his pulling violently the bed sheets as he sat up panic-stricken

“Oh, thanks God, you´re there, honey…Nothing, nothing really to worry about… Just a bad dream. I dreamt I was heading for the border, I took a bus, then a train and then somehow…  somehow… I blundered into a trap…” he told her while he was soothed by the caresses of her lean, slender hands, by the tip of those fingers crowned by pitch-black painted nails slipping softly down his back.

“Calm down, Charlie, forget about blunders and traps and all that crap. Come to my arms , angel, and let yourself be carried away by my kisses while we listen together to our wedding´s soundtrack in the record player.”

That widow, whom she had married two years ago, still knew how to handle the pitch- dark blunders of his sleepless nights. That´s why he  loved her so.

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