Brazil…a blur

I awoke in a pool of sweat, a woozy whirlpool lying crumpled on threadbare sheets. Waves of heat piled atop the clay roof as drums pounded in the cobblestone streets below. My mind hummed mystery as I turned my aching torso on its side. How did I get here? I had been living in Buenos Aires for two years moonlighting as a professional dropout. My life was a comfortable cycle of hangovers and loneliness. Now I found myself deep in humid chaos. Here in Salvador, Bahia, BRAZIL without a penny to my name and creaks in my frame. Outside was all energy. My stranger neighbors were 36 hours deep into Carnaval. The slope was rising. The beasts were just getting warmed up, snarling their teeth at the sun and raging through the night. I was soon to be thrown into the pit and down down I went.

I slammed the butt end of my empty glass on the splintered, wooden table. Drops of fiery cachaca clung to my lips afraid to join their kin in the depths of my cavernous pit. Earlier I had hit up two innocent Aussie tourists for some paper money. My disjointed sob story about a car wreck, stolen suitcase, and bum knee was upstaged by spittle shouts and a throbbing neck vein threatening to explode crimson across their pasty faces. The chumps floated me 13 Brazilian Reals more out of fear than sympathy. The money never had a chance to burn a hole in my pocket. It magically transformed into local moonshine that seared its way into my stomach and soul. Now I was starting to see the world the way I liked it. A blurry mess of colors and shadows infused with the numb optimism that rides on the first wave of a drunken binge. I was no longer a lackluster scumbag shining for all to see. I was a jet setting superhero ready to turn young girls out and bang their mothers in. I was in Brazil and all hell was breaking loose on every level of heaven. Salvador was one ball of a town, the down home heart of African Brazil. The Portuguese had fled long ago leaving their broken pets to peel gold flakes off cathedrals and calculate the distance between their shithole shacks and Africa. Somehow the impoverished population transcended. They were the most beautiful, shining faces on Earth, bursting every moment with magic breaths of energy. Nourished by the Sun, sea, sexiness, and sound of music they pounced eager upon life. I was clenched tight to their coattails.

My role was obvious outsider, a knob on the door of opportunity ready to be twisted. A resource to remedy lack of loot. Hell, if I were Brazilian I would have strung my bow steady and shot bullseyes through my pale human heart. They didn’t however realize what a bum I was and so this way waltzed another chap about to be heartbroken over his failed attempt at panhandling. He walked fast with dirty fingers waving at the end of an arm that curved in too many ninety-degree angles. His mutated limb twisted a square S as he offered me a handshake. I declined, grabbed my burned out cigarette and sucked in a lung full of filter. “My friend. I have problem,” he declared. Don’t we all. He again showed off his insane arm. I wrestled my wretch ready stomach under control while wondering how this man had come to be cursed with three rotten elbows. He then laid his screwy appendage on my table knocking swampy sludge out of an empty espresso cup. “Help my problem. Help my problem arm. My friend, money for me my friend.” All I could do to keep from puking up my guilty conscience was bolt immediately into the street.

I swayed down colorful corridors amongst an ever-growing throng of dancing, cheering, hooting and hollering folks. In bright silver and clover costumes a band marched my way. Their thunderous calamity rode on a wave of pounding skins. Banged up brass horns tooted melodies whose cousins were ragtime rebels. They shuffled along trailing a mass of feet dancing on beat. Dynamite women held children’s’ hands while rotating their hips in such slinky circles that I almost burst a spout of cum across the commotion. I ran wild inside, electric with lusty dreams. My wet seed conjured by fleshy curves showered the samba. Rusty brass bleats bloomed forth new births. A parade of orgasms marched to the driving beat. Lecherously I stared at each passing ass and burped up bubbles of booze. Damn you Lord for making such soft creatures! My frenzy is the fruit of your labor. I moved in the opposite direction and followed my nose into the mouth of madness.

Down ragged blocks I entered the eye against the tide. I shoved my way through a crowd enrapt with gyrations. The masses trailed giant buses atop which bands played bass heavy celebrations. The mighty throng exploded with each syncopated crest. Young men held each other in conga lines swaying left and right while marching forward. Their closeness, which would be considered fey or outright gay in some circles, was a bloodthirsty battle line. On beat they rushed forward launching punches at passing groups of sweaty thugs. Occasionally, patrolling columns of military police would snag some hoodlums and parade them through the crowd en route to the paddy wagon. While in captivity the bummed out boys with their arms twisted high were pummeled by those fellas still running wild and free. This was a volatile scene calling for heavy measures. I whistled to the nearest vendor and was promptly overcharged for an ice cold one. The pilsner tasted like frozen piss. As I stumbled on, occasionally pausing to ponder the anti-gravity power of perfect bikini-clad butts, a menacing cloud grew on the horizon.

Another thundering bus came closer. This one was emblazoned with the banner “Gueg Ghetto” and crackled with sinister energy. Those who followed were an army of the disenchanted. Bursting with angst straight from the Favela they marched my way. I, a swaying white speck on the horizon. As the crowd constricted I gulped sticky air. Sweaty bodies tangled together and we became slick with each other’s oils. The rhythm riled everyone to a point of psychosis. Consuming bass surrounded us. All mobility was sacrificed to the monster we collectively had become. Prayers were pointless. This was the end. Suddenly, a more menacing circle enveloped me. Five muscular dudes grabbed at my pockets clasping my arms while simultaneously punching my body and face. I felt my skin throb as knuckles mashed into me. I twisted to and fro, wildly shaking off my assailants like a stubborn running back. They miraculously scattered and retreated. My vision gushed red. I was still being swept along with the crowd as I tried to regain control. Suddenly a hand slithered under my arm and I sensed trouble round two. Just before earning some well deserved double-fisted revenge I followed the arm to its owner, a sweet Bahiana. She held tight and whispered in urgent, broken English, “They come with knives. Go go!” I started to run through the thick human forest all the while dragging her with me.

Much too sober for the moment I grabbed a straight shot of rum and caught my breath. She stood before me half smiling, half smirking. “Why you come here? Too dangerous for gringo.” I didn’t respond. I took her in from every angle. Short, with a push up bra, and tight white jeans. She had been through the ringer a few times but wasn’t dry yet. We walked down a less crowded side street in silence. I gulped my last Brazilian buck in booze. I would have offered her some but a sweet thing like that needs to stay in shape. Nonetheless, she bought a beer for half the price and started sipping. “United States?” she pointed at me. “Yes, no maybe so,” I muttered back. She nodded a confused acceptance while gyrating to Gueg’s fading boom. Her compact body moved with inborn Brazilian reflex while mouthing words to the faint music. I was regaining a magic, boozy balance and focused blurry eyes on my lady’s gifts. Sweat beaded up on the border of her bra and ebony cleavage. She grinned at me again and I hid no secrets with my stare. My mind flashed through the playbook on heavy groping and she knew it.

We found an empty table in the central square, surrounded by ancient elegance crumbling under the guilt of abusive oppression. Above the once ornate buildings glowed a crescent moon swathed in shadowy clouds. The scent of sticky, caramel popcorn mingled with the giggles of ecstatic children awash in kaleidoscopic fantasy. I noticed none of this. My hand tipped up discarded glasses. I swallowed backwash beer and chased its flatness with a caipirinha bobbing with brown limes. My senses swirled with night-crawling madness. The fine features of my femme’s face blurred. Her hair blew tendrils into the darkness and the touch of her knee under the table sent me spinning into deep space. My forehead crashed atop a pile of soggy napkins and peanut shells. In this disconnected stupor I heard my lady being swept away by a sweet talking empanada vendor. All was lost.

I awoke with the first sparkle of sunshine. My lids cracked open, their lashes breaking bonds of dried blood. Distant voices trailed home through familiar alleys while chirping birds feasted upon flaky crumbs. My bone-dry mouth blew a kiss to the devil and I was at peace. I laid my head back down and the sad notes of an accordion sent me sweetly to sleep once again.

– frosty