By Rudolfo Carrillo
"From the outset, let us bring you news of your protagonist."
On the way to Winrock Mall to ransack the bargain racks in the men's building — because they have two buildings at the Dillard's in Burque, one for the men and one for the women — your protagonist cranked up the car stereo and listened to 94 Rock while his wife sang along to the blare of the overly familiar pop-heavy metal songs being offered by a part-time DJ on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
As the non-exiting freeway overpass on Pennsylvania was surmounted and conquered by the ramshackle and mostly reliable Saab 900 Turbo, the ramshackle and mostly abandoned shopping center initially mentioned in this post loomed in the short distance and a song by Ozzy Osborne called Changes drifted with ironical peacefulness (given the singer's oeuvre) through the speakers, briefly causing the driver of the twenty-year-old silvery-gray sports car from northern Europe to lament the death of his dog, whose permanent absence from the earthly realm had coincidentally banished summer from the man's world, because here it was already near the middle of September and he was already shopping for woolen sweaters and hardy shoes and could not remember a goddamn thing that really happened between the beginning of May and the end of August, except for a couple of dreams.
In one of the dreams, your protagonist's dog was happy, living amongst the other grateful doggie dead, while David Foster Wallace oversaw the whole operation and repeatedly enjoined the dreamer to shorten his sentences and to choose his adverbs wisely.
In the other dream, it was already snowing and Burque was still part of Mexico. That was obvious from the shapes of the streets and sidewalks and buildings; the age of the concrete suggested Cortés and Moctezuma mixed up in equal proportions.
But, anyway, at the mall, most of that tragic stuff, those snowy aftermaths was and were sublimated by the totally amazing sale on men's shirts available for consumption by the general public and especially those seeking drastic reductions with just a hint of aging hipster fashion sense thrown in for good measure.
One of the salesmen wore a striped bowtie knotted in the traditional manner, imperfect and just madly droopy on the left side. Everybody with a nametag wanted to help out; can I help you find something in your size or are you ready to check out, they all said with pearly smiles.
On the way outta there, two French pullovers and one worsted wool set of trousers later, our protagonist and his lovely, brilliant, life-saving and totally the only person in the world even remotely capable of dealing with the sky-larking, Swiss cheese-brained, mournfully snarky and heroically underachieving alien-hybird that is, in essence, your protagonist, zipped along the perimeter of the once glorious Winrock Mall. Some construction company or other was tearing parts of the old place into shreds, carting portions of the lonesome asphalt parking lot over to huge rubbish bins. Only three of the ancient, nineteen-sixties Native American-art influenced parking lot signs remained standing: the one for clouds, the second for comets, and the third for rain.