And when I come home from work I like to indulge a little in the wacky-tabbacky and of course I get a strange notion or two in my head so I’ve been writing them out on this site. I’m the one-man gang of goof-balls claiming to write these stories. Blame it on the weed.

  My name is Earl.

 

Young Borges on Drugs

 

   At the age of 14, Borges, well into a lifetime of being book-ridden and shy, was accosted one afternoon by a schoolmate outside the walls of their Colegio Nacional. “You wrote that King of the Jungle story in the our school rag, right?” Borges hurried in the direction of the tram that would take him north through the bustling streets of Buenos Aires to home where a library of his father’s books were waiting to be opened. “You write other stories?” the boy raced past him and blocked his path. Borges looked down and shook his head no. At this angle the thick frames of his glasses glistened in the bright sun and the stranger was briefly blinded. At the sound of the boy’s curse, Borges looked up and saw his chance to run once again. “Meet me on the other side of the school tomorrow. I have that which will help you write.” Borges heard the boy holler out after him as he jumped up on the tram.

   That evening, ensconced behind walls containing over a thousand books, Borges turned the boy’s claim over in his mind. While opening the cover of The Three Musketeers, he imagined his name on the inside. He tried to conjure up a story to follow but the words wouldn’t line up in any obedient order. He wondered.

    The next day, Borges was on the other side of the school which was shaded with large Sycamore Trees. It was where the older students smoked and knife fights were said to sometimes break out. It was outside the realm of authority.

    “I’m Carriego and I think you have talent but it must be liberated from slavish aping of childish adventure stories,” the boy said in gritty confidence and with wincing eyes that seemed to hide storehouses of forbidden knowledge. He pulled a cigarette out from his pocket and struck a match on the zipper of his jacket. It smelt unlike any cigarette Borges had ever encountered.

   “Now you try,” Carriego said, pointing it in Borges’ direction. 

   They passed it back and forth and that evening ended in nothing but idle talk of Argentina and how they hoped the 20th century would usher in an era of different foods. They couldn’t place their hunger and longed for some snack food that hadn’t yet been invented. It was only 1913 after all. Borges went home to fall asleep early and when he woke up he felt his ambitions had been cheated out of a day.

    After school that day, Borges ran with all his might to the tram but he was stopped once again by Carriego.

   “Leave me alone,” Borges said but the boy remained steadfast in his intent.

   “That was nothing. That was kid’s stuff. I have something else that comes from the Pampas. It is used by the Indians. It works wonders on the mind.” He pulled a clump of what appeared to be white dirt from his pocket. Carriego took a pinch and placed it in his mouth. “You want to be a writer, don’t you? This was discovered by gauchos. The old troubadour kind.” And then Carriego mentioned the greatest gaucho of all time.

    Borges, remembering the failure of two night’s ago, followed suite. 

    “Yes, let your mind wander into wonders.”

    Minutes later, the tram that was speeding by spoke to him and the sidewalk whispered echoes of his father’s voice and everything suddenly seemed to have some say in his presence on the streets of Buenos Aires. It was certainly strange but Borges never tried it again, trusting that an even more unique voice was yet to be discovered inside. That summer his family moved to Europe and he never met Carriego again. With no regrets.

 

 

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