There are mornings when you catch yourself in the mirror. From maybe three or four meters away, just the slightest glimpse. You stop and stare. You’re probably wearing something stark — simple, you’re probably dressed in black. You notice a tan that’s snuck up with spring. The mirror is small and you’re far enough away that you can’t help, but turn your entire profile towards the 12×17 inch frame. In this light, with this backdrop, you can’t help but say to yourself, “shiiiiiiiiit.” Under these circumstances, you are flawless.
But this morning was not that morning. This morning the only thing the mirror did was mock me unabashedly and at close range. It pointed out the most miniscule bit of toothpaste residue sitting on the outlands of my lip. Flawless was not the word that came to mind.
A telegram arrived this morning. That’s what I was doing up, walking around, catching myself in the mirror. Jack Arranda, the concierge, tried to delicately slip the note under my door where he hoped it would skate across my obsidian floors and rest in plain sight.
What Jack Arranda forgot: I employ a mat on both sides of my front door. This is for sanitary purposes. I awoke out of a momentary slumber to Jack plunging my telegram into the secondary carpet. Jack is a gentle man, two words; he’s also a social leper.
I jumped out of the hammock and slid a la T. Cruise in Risky Business across the obsidian in my birthday suit. Upon arriving at the door, some thirty-seven meters away, I plucked the telegram from Jack’s well-manicured digits.
“Thank you, Jack.” He whistled something that sounded like the opening to Ravel’s “Bolero” in response. In fact, I was my favorite part, if I heard correctly. Holding the telegram, I slunk to the floor.
The telegram was alarming in itself. Aesthetically, it was obvious the envelope came from some high-end paperie. The kind of place, you find buried deep in the city’s Flower District when you’re looking for answers; answers about why the Saritaea that was supposed to cloak the bridge of your moat keeps dying. The pigmentation pattern of the envelope was frighteningly similar to that of olive loaf.
The envelope was titled: The Neapolitan Mastiff, Esq. There was an official looking seal that read B.A. and had faintest trace of a woman who was either Hayden Panettiere, Jane Lynch or Eva Perron. Evita, that Nazi hoarding, misandrist who once pulled the nails from my Grandfather’s big toes for selling imitation amphetamines, in bulk, to child dock workers in Tierra Del Fuego.
I inhaled the envelope; it smelled of fennel. I tried to rise up from the floor but my gluteus maximus seemed to have adhered itself to the obsidian. With another effort I was able to rise up. I made a mental note to call Dolores about changing whatever product she cleans the floors with to something less abrasive.
With the note in hand I headed to my desk. There I pulled out a machete I had once traded a cowboy hat for in Van Nuys, Ca.
WHACK! In one fell swoop I sliced off the top. I extracted an alarmingly wet piece of facsimile paper. I had an inclination, as to whom this was from, but when I saw the paper I knew it could have only come from one man, Jay Mapelle, The Argentine…
Jay Mapelle, is by trade, an optometrist and contact lens expert, who deals exclusively with Catalan Pyrenean sheep dogs with two different colored eyes, but I knew Jay in his youth. I met J. Mapelle, when I was just a young dove trainer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. And Jay? Jay was running a remote campaign from Honduras for Prime Minister of Canada.
I held the folded up paper and let it collapse open. A watery substance dripped on my bare thigh. I took the sheet by its corners and shook it out like a sandy beach towel before letting it drop opening on the floor.
The text was microscopic. It was one word, which was shaded in all eight colors of the original box of Crayola crayons.
My heart skipped a beat, then another. Jay Mapelle was back! I crawled on my elbows and knees, dragging myself to the kitchen. I was careful not to dismember myself on the raised entryway. Still half-collapsed, I opened the refrigerator door and showered myself in Orangina. My blood sugar was dropping.
I climbed up the SubZero’s door. If the Argentine was back, there was no time to waste. I needed a disguise, a polio shot and a traveling semi-automatic toothbrush. The Argentine may have found me, but I had yet to find him. TBC.