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17 January 2013

The New Mexican Astronauts

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

Hey carnales, two-thousand and thirteen is pretty bitchin', so far, eh?

Everyone's talking about how far they have come along into the twenty-first century. It's just plain glorious to think about where we came from to get here. All that shiny newness reminds me of a fable I heard one day at Ghetto Smith's while wandering through the dog food aisle.

It's a story about the New Mexican astronauts; los recuerden? They came from the south with their sister the scientist in an attempt to reconcile el norte with la neta, if such a thing is possible.

I imagine there is all sorts of stuff on the interwebz about all this. Maybe you ought to google it when you are done here. Anywho, this story is about the time those two, nursed on atomic infusions and the dull knife of continuously magic circumstances, were gifted with petroleum-powered caballos mecánicos.

La historia suena así.

The dirt bikes were a good idea because they introduced a format for exploration that was dangerous and therefore had to be studied, modeled, processed, and then undertaken with the utmost gravity.

Additionally, there would be no supervision or support on actual missions, just the endless sage, wrecked cars, spiders, and occasional cows encountered on trails that had been carved out by the agents of men who had been making movies about an imaginary version of Albuquerque, who wanted a way to conveniently strand their hero in the Sandia Mountains, near the end of the fifth reel, like he was el vaquero más solitario del mundo, or something like that.

One of the motorcycles was painted green; the other was red. This configuration had nothing to do with the mythos of the popular culture in those parts regarding two fruitful colors; in this case let us say that the patterns and spectral traces differentiating one vehicle from the other symbolized springtime and blood.

The devices were put to use, a process concerned with the depiction of new experience was inititated and lonesome guitar songs played over the top of things as a plain reflection of the awesome and empty mesa that folded outward from the main observation laboratory. The two New Mexican astronauts prepared a mixture of gasoline and oil, imagining the far shore as just over the looming mountains, a bright thing seen vaguely from the corner of one's eye, waiting to be fully observed and made real.

And so with their sparkly protective headgear properly applied, the two New Mexican astronauts zoomed through several very compact iterations of the eleventh dimension which were craftily disguised as this or that neighbor's back yard, and right out into the middle the desert.

En ese desierto, algunos de los cactus estaban brotando plumaje colorido, and birds made from stones and mud lept up into the air as the spacemen approached. Here was a shift in the sand where a serpent had slithered by; there was a beverage storage unit abandoned long ago by another explorer, whose size was determined to be in excess of three meters, and therefore probably from one of the moons of Jupiter.

The only problem was that the whole scene lacked music. The two New Mexican astronauts fiddled with the idea of strapping a portable radio-wave receiver to one of the dirtbikes but decided it wouldn't be the same because meaningful tuneage would just get lost out there in the vasty arroyos, sabes?

On the journey back, one of the spacemen, the one with the name like a wolf (the other was called after the highest of clouds) ran over a small rodent. Basta, each cried out to the other. They hauled ass back to their space chante, parked los motorcicletas in a dark room filled with ghosts and spent the intervening days listening to A Night at the Opera and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; smoking Salem brand cigarettes stolen from the captain's quarters.

At night they would take out their microscopes and consult encyclopedias while the wind churned and rattled as if telegraphed from a much heavier planet. The New Mexican astronauts retreated into their labyrinthine headquarters and shortly after the solstice, the dirt bikes became small birds that flew off towards the sea.

11 January 2013

Galaxy Four, Part One

Rudolfo Carrillo

by Rudolfo Carrillo

Jones dug the living hell out of that first semester at Coronado Hall, even if there always was some dude from Peñasco or Ojo Caliente passed out and supposedly drowning in his voluminous, yellow, post-beer-bong vomit, sprawled out in the head; like the world was over for that rascal except for toilets and tile floors.

The Grateful Dead tapestry that he put up on the window to shut out the light was a total hit with his roommate and the fellows next door, and dammit all if the food wasn't a gazillion times better than Allsup's.

Plus which, the plethora of bookish flowerpots, hippie gals, and full fledged punk rock women setting down for dinner every night and right across from the glorious water fountain straddling the indoor patio at La Posada Dining Hall where our protagonist sat, damn near made Jones smile.

And so with wow and yeah serving him as enthusiastic interjections, the semester jetted out across the world quick. That spring, Charlie Jones, Jr. made a grip of ceramic objects, read and decoded two situationist texts, learned how to tinkle out a couple of dances by Bartok, and met a server name of Katie DuBois, at the dining hall where she worked scraping the plates clean.

It happened that Ms. DuBois pretty near broke Jones heart with her sharp blue eyes and proclivity for anthropology graduate students; but that was just fine because the fragile memories he gleaned and then had to shake off like wintertime gave him time to think.

For instance, Jones decided, as sure as eggs was eggs, he could never move home again. It wasn't of any use, anyhow, living with the old man. That dude was still trying to sell folks automobiles while sporting a gleam in his good eye combined with a gin-soaked handshake. Old Charlie never seemed to get over his Afghan hound Duchess dying early. Twenty years had come and gone and it was still like living on the moon when he was around, all silent and dusty.

Reckoning the student ghetto was the way to go, Charlie began exhaustive research focused on finding a shack he could call his own, but did not have to extend himself too much into that before he ran into his pal Donna in front of the student union.

It was just about springtime around those parts and Donna was gamboling about on the lawn with a skinny black-haired lady dressed all in white, wearing a skirt long enough to sweep up the grass where they danced. Both of the women smelled vaguely of cacti and burnt rope.

After a couple of of obligatory hippie-hugs, Donna introduced Zelda and let it out that the two of them found an underground haven, a remodeled, carpeted, and suitably dark basement apartment, utilities included. The deal was they needed a third to make the rent. You gotta be fucking kidding me, Jones said as the wind came up and it started to rain like it used to do in Albuquerque before the environmental disaster of 2087.

The next morning, Jones got up early, went into LaPo, gave Katie the bird and hauled his sorry ass over to the student ghetto. It was early, with the light just coming over the jungle of tired elms that framed the place. As Charlie approached his new digs, a dude dressed as a steam-shovel operator came racing up the steps with Zelda on his heels in a fashion that mimicked the German withdrawal from Stalingrad.

Charlie just stood there while the two of them began to argue and cajole, gesticulate and weave. Finally the dude in the industrial costume raced over to his El Camino and drove away. Zelda gritted her teeth, and extended her right hand, all friendly and like nothing at all had happened around there or anywhere on earth, for that matter.

But, with her standing out there in her bare feet, toeing at the dirt nervously and clad in an oversized wifebeater and sweatpants, Jones could just sense Zelda was unsettled about the whole thing. Tell you what, he said, drawing back a ways as they shook hands, I'll start bringing my stuff over tomorrow.

It poured water from the sky for the next two days and when Charlie Jones, Jr. finally got moved in, he thought it was a sweet deal, anyway. There was a tiny kitchen at the top of the stairs, then the rest of the place really was underground; dank, dark, all the walls were very cool to the touch and hardly any light got in at all.

Donna was never home. Sometimes Jones played record albums in the big room in very back of the joint, but otherwise kept to himself, getting up early every morning and hauling his sorry ass to class and he could never tell whether Zelda worked or not. Every time he went by her room, the door was open, with Fleetwood Mac or something like that floating through there and the woman reclining languidly through it all.

She'd usually glance at him wanly, as he passed. He'd smile vaguely or give her the Vulcan hand salute. One or the other of them would tilt their head before looking away. After two months of that, a spot opened up at Fiesta-Perpetual, a collective of artists that Jones knew from school. They had a slick pad right down the street from a haunted house and a decent pizza joint.

Charlie split right away, at night, so he didn't have to make eye contact with Zelda. He didn't see her again until just after Thanksgiving, and by then, it was easy enough for both to pretend they were strangers.

Later when he told the old man about what had happened, the salesman laughed and said, man you ought to write that down, that's rich.

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