The experts, the adolescent girl readers with headbands and tote bags, the eternal dreamers of the world will here discern the origin of the rip-off perpetrated by an important Argentine writer of the Boom.
On the banks of the Riachuelo, some of us brothers lived in the slums. Of course, friends, these cribs bore no resemblance to the colorful corrugated iron dwellings which, a century later, Calabrian and Neapolitan immigrants, arriving in pure and virgin America from Imperial Europe, would popularize.
Let’s be honest: they were little shacks with straw roofs and a beam of carob wood which exhibited the spirit, the air, and the drama of the tenements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that is to say, a den of sex, rabble-rousing, music, labor, passion, and injustice of all types. It was a pleasure to live in those shacks. I was twelve years and thirty-three days old and dreamed of the leader of the revolution, who by 1800 made himself public with blessed cries in pamphlets and newspapers of the period.
I lived with two Negroes “liberated” by the Spanish crown. For these fresh beings, not paralyzed by positions, without a political party or religion, with no greater ambition than to live each day, with a desire to sexualize life to such a point that that’s all there was, brought from Africa in coal boats, imagine what the discovery of the city could provoke.
Imagine living with beings who up until a few days ago had less social standing than a table, a chair, a wardrobe, and all of a sudden—boom!—liberty. They would walk the streets without chains, without the horrifying need to hold the master’s candle. They crashed against the crosspiece of liberty. They lost control in a sickening way: party, party, and pussy.
Clodoaldo Maripili and Azulino Sepúlveda were from southern Nigeria. I met them on the street, we entered the shack and that’s where we lived. We spent the days shut in, fucking like crazy; there were always some shorties willing to surrender their asses in pursuit of a good African cock. It’s incredible the sexual pathology of certain bitches, how they’d get excited by slaves, the forbidden fruit. After all, a woman who was discovered stroking a Negro’s shaft would be burned alive like during the Inquisition. And we’d find honeys like crazy, even distinguished ladies, wives of political bosses, leaders of the crown in the Viceroyalty!
As I was saying, it was unreal; us brothers had a hundred-point rating with the ladies.
But we don’t need to go there, or maybe we should! Fuck, don’t be a pussy; give it up for the triumphant-master-schlongs of my boys Clodo and Azul from Africa.
After a while—we got bored of dancing cumb and drinking Condorina beer—two Spanish damsels arrived to tear up the land, two lethal sisters, Victrola and Irene Campos, members of the oligarchy with a frighteningly bourgeois spirit. The two were poets, and Victrola even played the flute as well.
We picked them up on the street, and they took us to their three-story mansion with a small backyard garden and black roses from Africa. Bourgeois to the max. Piano, crystal glasses, polished pine flooring, chandeliers with three thousand pieces of glass. Carpets.
They were seeing two losers who spent their days reading French literature. Some dudes bored with leisure, who talked about weird shit, and were half-faggoty. How is it being half-faggoty? All right, let’s stop fucking around, ain’t no time to sniff at everyone’s anal-self!
We hooked up with these posh bitches near the Retiro pier. And when they opened the door to their house, everything changed in our lives. The Africans and I were bitten by the bug of luxury; we had never been in a house so big. Is that how Spain was? Spanishness crawled up our asses. The house was spacious and properly colonial (so removed from the shack where we lived and fucked wretched black bitches, that we even missed it with melancholic vanity!). According to loose lips, the house was once the property of General San Martín and was used to host secret parties for members of the First Junta of the Government. Oh, the sex the brothers Moreno must have had on those fine corduroy sofas! And the former sisters Campos, how many times did they get rammed from behind thanks to their influence with the Crown?
We were upset by the idea of only staying there for a few hours, and then in the end, as always happens to us, we would be expelled from the story with a swift kick in the ass.
But before continuing to talk about the house, the Negroes, and the fags, which are my topic, I’ll share with you how things quickly escalated: after the in-out-in-out, with their stomachs numb from African semen, the two posh bourgeois honeys wanted to kick us out so that they could immediately bring in other brothers.
“Well, guys, it’s time for you to leave . . .”
At dawn everything was deserted as I looked through the window. Clodoaldo, in a fit of rage, without processing anything in his illiterate immigrant brain (the Crown had changed the status of the black slaves, calling them immigrants), since the second-rate Spanish lady was not getting out of bed and worshipping him, or at least giving him a kiss on the tip of his cock, stood off the bed violently.
“Fucking ho, I’m going to make soup out of you! At least go and make some fried eggs for breakfast!”
And with wasp-like strokes, he slapped her twice. Spain was on her knees on the carpet of the bedroom. Irene, my love, tried to defend her sister and I was obliged to smack her with the bedside table. There’s nothing more discomfiting! And well, how should I say this, we defiled them beautifully, we enslaved them and dragged them through the mud for a time. Weeks later we appeared in the newspapers, but too late, because the newspapers always arrive late to the slaughter.
And this is how, broadly speaking, the incident began. We loved luxury, the poetic life of the bourgeois and the little crustless sandwiches. Regarding the faggots, we kicked their asses out on the street. We threw out the piano, the contents of the library, the glass coffee tables, the wardrobe that even had crystal shoes. A piano, a wardrobe, a library, we never saw such useless things!
And we kept for ourselves the Campos sisters and the house. What need would a soul have to return to a shack on the banks of the river, with so many rooms at our disposal?
The house is our concern and that of forty million Argentines. The always impossible house, the eternal dream, the distant failing of our poverty. How could I forget the luxury and the comforts of the house? A balcony with a full view of the river. From those heights, on clear days, one could see the shores of Montevideo. At the rear end of the terrace, turning away from the river and Montevideo, one could see the pergola of Cabildo and the frauds of the First Junta. An erudite typesetter and fascist pro-American once said, “The best thing that could happen to us is to be a colony, that way we will end once and for all this triumvirate.”
The dining room was a sight. I will never forget it, a table for twelve guests, a living room for doing nothing and five bedrooms in the back. Fear kept me from entering those rooms, which by all accounts seemed to be locked. Neither Clodo nor Azu from Africa dared set foot inside them; we didn’t want any surprises.
With Victrola and Irene destroyed, what were the three of us going to do in such a mansion by ourselves?
The entrance of the house gave onto the Calle Roma and from the other side, one could see a rectangular plot of land; it was the west side of the Plaza Buenos Aires (today Plaza de Mayo). One entered the house through a hallway, which left no one unscathed. There was furniture in the dark and the girls could fall down and there were other things…The hallway was full of doors that opened up to the bedrooms of the house. In other words, one could leave a bedroom and go toward the street without having to greet someone.
Peace inundated the grounds and we passed the time inside without the need to go out. The kitchen was stocked with a supply of cold cuts that could last months. A burlap sack was full of a mixture of yerba and marijuana, so we smoked and drank yerba mate, both with the same effect.
My two homies from Africa spent the whole damn day lying in bed or drinking mate in the fountained patio of the house. Azu read erotic Spanish comics, the first of their kind in the world. Clodo wanted to learn French and read the bourgeois classics left behind by the two dead women. And that’s how we spent our days, scratching our balls.
One morning we woke up craving some ladyfingers and went to the kitchen. The door was closed. We attempted to open it, but to no avail: someone had locked it from the inside. My homies from Africa, who don’t believe in ghosts and were hungry, broke the door down with blows from an ax. And we sat down to drink maté in the cold.
As a fairly sharp person, the fact that the door was locked surprised me. Who had shut it and why? Evidently, if it wasn’t one of the three of us, then someone else lived here. Could it be the spirit of one of the Campos sisters? Had the faggots returned and neglected to notify us? I favored the last possibility and forgot about the matter, but not before promising myself that I’d conduct some nocturnal patrols to uncover the joker.
My homies from Africa kept on reading comics and eating in close quarters. The house was littered with dirty clothes and leftover foods. After a week, we were inundated with waste. Clodo proposed we hide it in one of the bedrooms in the back, accessible after passing through the patio.
“Well, who’s going?”
“I’m not, I’m reading Condorito,” said Clodo.
“Fine, I’ll go,” I told them so as not to prolong the conversation. “You guys continue doing nothing . . .”
And I went to the rooms slightly disgusted. Night was falling in shards. In a second, I found myself alone in the dark patio with the locked bedrooms. Something was shaking the wooden doors from inside the rooms. Unfortunately for me, Clodoaldo turned off the last light of the dining room and went to sleep. Something hit the door of the bedroom again, wanting to get out. I ran to the dining room to tell my friends, who got up from their sofas pissed off.
“What’s the matter with you, Cucurtú?”
“I heard noises in the bedrooms in the back . . .”
“Come on, quit fucking around, ain’t nobody there . . .”
“All right, it’s OK, go take the trash out to the street . . .”
And when I got to the street I discovered a mob of kids, women, old folks, Clodoaldo Maripili’s people, who had recently arrived from Nigeria. I forgot the incident.
I wanted to die! The relentless peace was about to be extinguished. Luckily, some mulatto bitches came over and I enjoyed myself with them for a while. But they were pigs, they didn’t clean anything, they relieved themselves on the armchairs as if they were in a mangrove swamp in Africa. They would get it on beautifully and without stopping.
The next day at daybreak the door to the kitchen was closed. No doubt one of the fags was there trying to scare us. We didn’t give it much importance and forced it open again.
The following day, things had gotten complicated. All of the doors were locked, even the bathrooms located next to the rooms in the back.
We had no other choice but to settle ourselves in the dining room and the patio.
Clodoaldo Maripili’s grandfather, an elderly man of more than a hundred years of solitude, told us trembling:
“Guys, as we can see, there is only one room. There is no space in this house. The dining room will be taken over by the family.”
“The rest can go to the patio,” said one of the mulatto bitches.
Each day the chaos became more and more intense, and then, one day the door to the dining room was closed and we remained in the patio, exposed to the elements.
The family stayed in the house, in the dining room, strangely shut in. They believed they were safe, but it became evident that something was shutting them in forever. Four generations of people, grandfather, mother, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, were kept safe from the injustices of the world.
I, a fairly sharp person, realized that the same thing had occurred in the rest of the rooms that had been taken over by force; in them remained people who were shut in.
It was then that I noticed that the key in the dining room lock turned incessantly.
We decided to head out before becoming locked in ourselves. We ran toward the inner door of the entryway and tried to open it, but it was locked. The key was inside the body of one of the Campos sisters. I don’t recall which one, Victrola or Irene? When we finally opened the door and got to the street, we experienced a unique sensation of freedom. The door closed suddenly, leaving us outside. At last, we had been liberated from Spain. We left with what we had on, while the kids and Little Africa continued thriving to the max inside the house.
We were happy, and once back on the street, three shorties appeared and we took them back to our illustrious crib by the river to drink some beers.
“Clodo, throw the keys away!” I told him with a bitch on my arm.
“Are you crazy? A junkman will give me two pesos for the copper.”