Volume II, Issue IV Winter 2003

Corona Mas Fina

The battered horn, in its case left open, glowed in the corner in the sunlight passing through the unshaded window. Speaking of no shades, the bright light made Jerome's eyes shudder. Morning. Morning light often made his eyes shudder. Or was it afternoon. The battered horn in the corner was a Bach. Bach around the clock. And the bell of the Bach glistened from the impetuous light and its aperture made him think of many things. For instance, it made him think of that most glorious and rare vision, glimpsed in one triumphant millisecond that accordioned into imaginary eons, of the moist lips of Helena's vagina in the naked lamplight, her ass centered in the bed of his head, an American bed and American head, not a Tijuana bed, mind you. But, the incensed attraction from the mere sight of it – and the brilliant golden concentricity with the dark mystery at its center leading to an even greater darkness somewhere inside those tubular machinations, reminded him of a painting he'd seen somewhere – was it the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. Or Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Montreal, all of which have fabulous modern art museums that Jerome had visited to such an extent that in his mind they crowded together in one kaleidoscopic collage of modern art museums. He settled on Gorky, no not Maxim – Arshile Gorky, that boy was from Memphis, weren't he? "That painter of pastel anuses," it occurred to Jerome, one of his many occurrences.

Just seeing this light encroaching on his visual ambience fiercely impressed Jerome with the immediate data of existence. "Like ... where am I?" was an obvious question, but he knew things were not uncool because there was the Bach sunbathing in the corner. And, incidentally he was, it seemed, in his own bed, for it was indeed a bed with a real live mattress and apparently some box springs, for, with a momentary shudder, he was ensconcedwith an orchestra of oxidized oboe-ic straining arising from within a citadel ceremoniously, idyllically guarded by a vertical glass tower proudly emblazonedwith the proclamation of national fortitude ---- Corona Mas Fina.

At the sight of this heroic emblem, Jerome felt compelled to indulge in the patriotic remembrance of last night's valiant struggle. Salvo after salvo of Corona Mas Fina had been fired down his gullet to make war on the lusty rebels encamped in the gnarled terrain of Jerome's embattled brain. Yet, he was not muy cruda, this was not Hotel La Cruda, and for this, Jerome leaned from the edge of the bed, stretched out an indolent arm, grasped the empty bottle by its neck, and kissed it. Corona, its sweetness was the embodiment of the intoxifying power of Mexico, and yes, he was in Mexico, and he had been there for a seemingly infinite succession, or was it incrementation, of evenings; his Bach was needed in Mexico all of Mexico, but for now, Tijuana. That his Bach was needed in Mexico was not an obvious thing, the name of its master was not echoed throughout the swarming alleys of the nation's Zonas Nortes, verdad; yet, his Bach and its conveyor (himself) were greatly needed in Mexico; not that Mexico was lacking in trumpeteros ---- indeed the land was prodigious for its cultivation of this blasted, blasting breed. However, nonetheless, certainly, Jerome's mere presence in the second row, second chair, lead solo chair, Bach in hand, in the band of Los Pajaritos Fritos del Norte, signified absolutamente that the Bach, in the right lips of course, was undeniably, irrefutably required in Mexico, and perhaps ordained by incognito Aztecan or Mayan or Olmecan gods, that a gabacho would bear a Bach in such a suave manner as to make senoritas and chiquitas blush and caballeros strain their ears in ways they had forgotten over the years. And perhaps it was ordained that on one incandescent morning blessed by the radiant sun of one of those damned gods, all of the trumpeteros of the land would unite, inspired by that gringo's jazz dream and blow such a wild, joyous melody that Gabriel would be grooving.

As if uplifted by these thoughts, Jerome arose from his place of slumber and advanced toward the window through which the sun was shining, with the idea of determining the time of day, while observing that he was adorned in boxer shorts, and in fact was not nude, a state that Helena would undoubtedly appreciate when he answered his door upon her arrival at three in the afternoon or thereabouts. He was relatively positive that he was not nude, that Helena would appreciate his not being nude and that, while it may be afternoon, it had not reached quarter after three, which did not rule out the possibility of it being three. Helena was frequently 15 minutes late, although never more than 15 minutes late, at least while they were relating to each other. Helena may have been more than 15 minuteslate during other times of her life and in other relationships, but that would have been a bygone era. The latter made Jerome very happy, that Helena was never more than 15 minutes late with him, while she may have been hours, days, even years late with others. He realized he was being optimistic, an emotion with which he was relatively unfamiliar. "Yeah, that's me, the true optimist," he said to himself, trying out the label as if he were trying on a new pair of boxer shorts. "It's nice to be optimistic." "It's a groove to be optimistic." "It's wailin' to be optimistic." Then he thought about Voltaire and Candide. And Gorky, not but Maxim Gorky.

La Avenida de Los Ninos Heroes was not crowded with people, just a few here and there ambling on this side or that, and from his window, Jerome couldn't really see The Sun. It was somewhere above Hotel Vera Cruz, but its rays were heatedly striking his face, which was within two feet of the large E in the vertical sign, Hotel Vera Cruz, alongside his window. Jerome really didn't know what time it was. Remembering the paintings of de Chirico, Jerome looked at objects on the street – cars, poles, people, fire hydrants, dogs – and studied their shadows. He still didn't know what time it was. Time for some coffee, he thought. Or maybe a Bloody Mary at the Marco Polo. This was a decision that could not be resolved by looking at objects in the street. "Possibly I shouldn't drink before Helena gets here," Jerome considered. "Possibly." Then, he thought, "It would be a very good idea to drink before Helena gets here." For Jerome knew that Helena would not make love, let alone fuck, in a cheap Mexican hotel, or for that matter all of Mexico. This was a drag. He definitely was not a true optimist, not even a half-assed optimist.

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