Andrew Bryant – Galilee

Data di Uscita: 09/07/2009

di Lorenzo Righetto

« You’re such a big man, Andrew ». He was a big man, in fact, his flannel shirt looked like it was going to burst out each time he drew his breath. And he did that in a heavy fashion, laid on the kitchen table, sleeping like a child, with his arms stretched out. He was still holding the whisky bottle in his hand. In the meanwhile, I was slowly and carefully rolling a cigarette, like I always did, taking more pleasure in the process than in the actual smoking. Watching out of the window, I could see, far away, Lake Michigan roaring in fright under a menacing sky… I didn’t need to take nervous looks at the watch, each minute, to know that it was late. “He’s got wife and child, goddamn it!”. I turned, furious, to stare at that snoring mass. I blamed him, his ludicrous bohèmienne life, his towers of useless scrabbling, that were living proofs of his exhausted vein: “You were made for post office routine, dumbass!”. He could have stayed in his little town near Mississippi, teach in the local high school, play a few songs for his child, even participate to the fucking local blues festival with his petty band. No, he had to take the Midnight Cowboy’s part, hit the big city, flashing lights and easy money… “Look what it served you, big man: an alcohol addiction and ten thousand dollars of debit to the biggest mob boss in town!”. I couldn’t help but stare at him, my eyes narrow and my lips a thin, straight line. There was no time left. I went to the bathroom and filled a bucket: he only gave a great sigh, but no more. I gave him big slaps on his face, to no avail. Time for big actions: I opened the case, and took the needle. That dose could have woken up a hibernated grizzly: he sprung out from his chair, inhaling loudly, clutching his neck with a hand. He threw up in the sink, and stayed there, bent on his vomit, slowly rocking back and forth. In the end I had to drag him to the car, letting him stumble down the stairs. He had his nose broken, but he was trying to tell me something, through the mass of blood dripping into his mouth. I could only hear a gurgling whisper. I pressed, with roughness, a rag on his face, and he made a faint growl. He had the good sense of taking it with his hand, though. I pushed him in the car, and he stayed there like a punished child, his hands between his legs, his head bent on his chest. I had to lift his head, forcing him to keep his head up. He  meekly brought the rag back to his nose, now not more than a red swelling. “You do look ragged, son”. A pity he would die like this, an unconscious leftover of a human being. “Guess I’ll take you to a last ride”. Last sight of the big city, dude. I drove him downtown, thinking it would be nice for him to see the lake. When we got there, it had stopped raining, and a strange calm had settled. I opened his door, and he slowly stood. Leaning against the car, I watched him walk towards the quay, dragging his left leg. He threw himself down, as if he had forgotten how to sit properly, and stayed there, huddled up in fetal position. After some time I went over to him, to see how he was doing. To my surprise, he was singing softly, much like he was singing his child to sleep.
“The Chicago wind started blowing you out of my mind”.
He only sang that line, on and on and on, until the sky opened up like a torn blanket, and the dying sun set the lake ablaze. Then he stopped, his mouth open like it was the first time he saw that yellow disc. His face twisted into an obscene expression, and he started laughing like mad, as if he was laughing in the face of a god.
I put a bullet in his head, right there. I couldn’t bear the sight. I can only say he is at home, now, down there in the forest. Kudzu spirit yearned for his soul.

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