Carrillo's Holiday Ruminations, Part Forty-Eight

11:12 PM



by Rudolfo Carrillo

For some of these posts at Things in Light, I like to pretend that I am some really old and cantankerous guy who is looking back and then writing about things in el Burque from either the command center of a fairly complex time-travel/star cruiser parked at Tingley Beach and available to all local citizens in the year 2036, or, alternatively, from the back of a gasoline and rust-soaked 1968 Chevy El Camino that I end up living out of at Milne Field after the economy finally and utterly collapses.
Take your pick cause it's cold out there and I don't like the idea of you standing there, shifting from foot to foot on the cold concrete while you try to decide whether to read any more of this special Things in Light holiday blog post. I mean I could be writing undecipherable, paranoia-tinted sci-fi, but with old man winter howling around my front door, I gotta admit that I am in the mood for folksy and hope that you are too.
This season features a pale southern sun; that light has a certain thin fragility to it, like what's inside a dragonfly wing, or the wrapping tape from last year's gifts. The clouds and their produce mask whole geographies and are one of the few earthly phenomena that can make this place seem contained.
So, winter is damned poetic in these parts; a million times more poetic than any text or graphics-based representation I could come up with here. I'd be better off and more truthful as an artist too, if I invited you to go outside and take a walk around in it. If you do that, I'll step out the front door for a quick puff of tobacco, a mild stimulant which I prefer to use exclusively when turning sticks into RAM.
I told you it was cold out there. It is so cold that Samantha's miniature pug, Hannah, refuses to go out after dark. She just pissed on the kitchen floor for the third time this week and is obviously relying on her innate evolutionary advantage (perpetually small, bug-eyed cuteness) to get away with what would be seen as an abomination if practiced by my other dogs. During the sunny days just past, Hannah ran around in the backyard - soaking up the sun in the glad but awkward fashion of a tiny alien dog-creature sent to wreak havoc on the planet Earth -- for hours at a time. But at night lately, it's the same messy failure to launch. I am beginning to think her fear of the cold has a previously undetected co-efficient contributing to its intensity.
It could be all manner of things. But what if the little dog, who is all ears and nose -- and because of her size and position in the universe is imbued with a threat-recognition system that probably rivals that of any number of small Middle-Eastern democracies -- senses a predator out there in the winter night?
I've lived in Ridgecrest for going on 12 years. I've seen a few raccoons, three coyotes, a number of small hawks and burrowing owls, but never any large raptors. I can imagine that large owls, eagles and mammalian predators occasionally forage for prey between the mountain and the bosque too, slinking through town and taking pets when there aren't any healthy rodents afield. 
I am convinced this fleshy deficit is partly due to the seed and grain withering drought currently manifesting itself in the upper Chihuahuan desert. Most scientists are convinced that the dryness is the result of global warming caused by large scale human industrial processes.
So if Hannah gets snatched by a displaced predator, I am going to blame every last one of you unprincipled consumers currently driving around and around Nob Hill, looking for parking that is comfortably close to your favorite locally-owned, Chinese-supplied boutique. I am only sort of joking because it will never come down to that anywho.
When I do get la perrita to go out at night, I turn on a couple of lights and send Samantha's other dog, Schrodinger, out with her. He is orange and weighs about 100 pounds, with jaws made from a compressed and weighty metal spring. Mangy old coyote wouldn't stand a chance, plus the hound fancies bird meat, sabes?
So that's pretty much an accurate record of what I was thinking about last night. I let this post sit until the next afternoon, trying to decide whether it was mierda or not. I ended up thinking it was a sorta funny vignette of local experiencas en Burque, and decided to let it fly.
Before I toss this bit of paper into the wind though, here is one more situation I ran into today at the notorious Walgreens on Central and San Mateo. If you are wondering why I refer to the pharmacy as notorious, then you need to park your car and sit in their parking lot with feigned nonchalance for five minutes, as soon as is convenient.
So the guy in front of me at the cash register queue has a shopping cart of supplies to make luminarias. Bags, candles, sand, the whole enchilada, as it were. He was in his late twenties, well-dressed maybe from out of town, visiting or something. There is also an old woman behind me. She has a bag of Payaso brand Cheese Puffs in one hand and a bottle of mountain dew and her EBT card in the other. She looks over my shoulder at the guy hauling the cart of potential holiday mirth and starts cussing him in Spanish, telling him how its her tradition and that he is stealing it, and its all very shameful, et cetera.
This doesn't play to well with the young fellow, his reaction shows he doesn't understand la idioma. He starts to shift uncomfortably from foot to foot, like he is standing by the front door in the middle of winter and it is cold and he forgot his shoes by the fire.
Suddenly a rather large hawk descends from the ceiling and carries him away. I have to stand out of the way so I don't get clipped by the enormous wings.
The woman who called out in Spanish laughs and laughs until her head comes off.
Back in meatspace, I drive home and watch an old film I bought at the pharmacy. It is called Zulu and features the acting talents of Michael Caine. It's supposed to be about war, but really its about the relationships between race, economic class, religion, and bravery amongst the humans; plus the Brits wear neato red uniforms, just like the kind Kipling used to write about.


photo credit: Alberto Mena

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