…continued from chronicle nine.
“Fuck bro. You fuckin been around the world man. This mothafucka. I never been outside of the fuckin United States.”
Meet Tyrone. Tall, black and stout. He’s the chef de cabinet for a New York State senator. In front of us stands Dimitri, a frail but proud Russian working in financial rating. We’re in the kitchen of the trader’s apartment, at arm’s length from the fridge.
The fridge is guarded by Rosetta, Tyrone’s equally tall, ravishing and extremely busty girlfriend. That bored and bitchy expression on her face is what she came into the party with tonight, and she just doesn’t seem to be wanting to get rid of it. In private conversations later tonight, she will continually refer to Tyrone not as her boyfriend, but as her “ride”. Both Rosetta and Tyrone were born and raised in New Jersey.
“No reason to feel ashamed about that”, I say, “most people have no concept of the size of this country.” This is my seventh beer. Rocco’s enthusiasm turned out to be contagious. I talk with fire. I’m feasting on the snacks as well.
“Bro, that’s our mothafuckin problem, you know.”
“I know”, I mumble through the carrots with curd. Delicious. Mm.
“Write about that, man!”
“I will at shome foint.”
“But tell me brother. If you would send me to any country, where’d ya send me to?”
“That depends. What are you looking for? Beauty, inspiration, relaxation?”
“Beauty, beauty, beauty”, he nods heavily.
“I would send you to Morocco.”
“Morocco is a beautiful country?”
“Just imagine: you are on top of a blood red mountain. Your best friend is standing on a ledge in front of you, one hundred meters below you, and you’re both watching the sunset over the blood red sandy rock valley. Or this: you’re standing on top of a mountain in the middle of the Atlas…”
“That’s the name of the mountains there?”
“It’s one of the ranges. There’s also the Rif mountains in the North. I still have to go back to see those. It’s where the bulk of European hashish is grown. But when you’re standing on top of a mountain in the middle of the Atlas, in a village where you have just been fed by the village elder, you will see mint green mountains to your right, purple and bright blue mountains in the middle and on the left, brilliant red ones overgrown with patches of green grass. French painters used to cross the range to discover new colors.”
“Man, that sounds fuckin’ amazing. How about the cities?”
“It’s double. In the countryside, the Berbers will feed you, give you a bed to sleep in without asking for anything in return. The cities are all about the money. And if you happen to dispose of anything of a moral compass, it’s going to get rough. Morocco is a prime destination for sex tourism, for straights, gays and pedophiles. The police is willing to tolerate all kinds of prostitution – even child prostitution – as long as everyone pays their bribes. You could even say mass prostitution is institutionalized. I’ve seen situations in which the police surrounds bars, with guns and flashing lights, to let…”
“Thank you, man. Fuck.”, Tyrone interrupts me with a blissful smile.
“Thank you for fuckin’ talking, man.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You fuckin’ with me?”
“Uhm…Tyrone, I think he really doesn’t understand”, Dimitri cannily comes to the rescue, “which actually makes it better.”
“What?…Oh. Okay. I’ll explain”, Tyrone calms down, and with a softer tone of voice he says, “you know, in New York people at parties feel like they have to talk. They be talkin’. But not really.”
I nod, but I still can’t really comprehend. Besides, I’m only halfway my story on Morocco. I haven’t touched the issues of aids and European-instigated state corruption yet. Fields with golf courts in the desert and plummeting water tables. Extreme drought in the nineties and mass migration to the cities. I’m overflowing.
Dimitri and Tyrone start a conversation on baseball. Senior pitcher Wesley Rodriguez was taken in the twelfth round by the Diamondbacks – motherfuckin god – with the three hundred forty sixth overall pick after falling down in the draft. Whatever that means. Excluded, I saunter back to the window with a million stars.
That’s when that haze sets in. I put on a record of Marvin Gaye. Most people leave. Four of us remain. Me, Felipe, the Irish trader and an attractive Mexican girl. The girl and I talk about ballet, the Irish trader talks about Ireland under English occupation and people being killed by bears in New Jersey. More drinks are needed. I go out onto the balcony, grab one of the remaining bottles of white wine, uncork it and pour it into our glasses. I flip the record. Felipe talks about lobe. I elaborate on lobe. The Irish trader has some wise pieces of advice. The Mexican girl is charmed and says now she understands men. The Mexican girl shares with us which kinds of men she likes most. The bottle is empty. I go out onto the balcony, grab one of the remaining bottles of white wine, uncork it and pour it into our glasses. I flip the record. I scratch the record. I talk about Belgium. Music. Fun. I talk about Brooklyn. Felipe disappears. We talk about careers, strategies and will power. We talk about intuition and the strength of words and thoughts. Felipe doesn’t return. Fifteen minutes. We finish the bottle of wine. I go out onto the balcony, grab the last remaining bottle of white wine, uncork it and pour it into our glasses. The trader and the girl fall into each other’s arms and start kissing passionately. He could be her father. I behold for a second. Then I stand up and go knock on the door of the toilet. Felipe comes out and we leave without a whisper.
“Man. I habe neber seen anyone drunk as you”, Felipe laughs. I regain consciousness inside the rumbling train. The light hurts my brain. I am chewing a long strand of red candy. It makes me thirsty. The wagon is filled with bums, all chewing long strands of red candy. Felipe is secretly filming everyone.
“Why is everyone chewing red candy?”
Felipe roars with laughter. I touch my side and my heart flips over. No. The bag, the beautiful black leather bag – and inside of it, my note books and laptop – is not where it’s supposed to be. I’ve lost it.
“Felipe! Where’s my bag?”
“I don’t know man, I neber seen you with that bag tonight”, Felipe shrugs, “probably it’s still be in the apartment. Call the man!”
I start making rounds of calls – rounds, even though I only need to reach one person. I get the hick-ups. I leave voice mail messages and get one text back. “Are you crazy? It’s four in the morning. I have looked all around the loft and it’s not here.” The train stops in the middle of the way and everyone must get onto buses. I curse. We wait for twenty minutes in the freezing cold.
Back home, half conscious, I try the number again.
“I looked around the loft, Daan, but it’s not here!”, a girl shouts at me.
Strange, there was no one there tonight with a German accent.
“Bud awe you shuwe?”
“Are you drunk?”
“I don’t th…”
The funny thing is, I don’t believe I’m drunk.
But I’ve lost it. I’ve really lost it.
To be continued…