Flying Down to Lima, a short story by StevenHunley. Date added: 2010-02-15. Times viewed: 927.
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- Intro: Young Man flies to South America to score.
Flying Down to Lima
It's so much fun. There's nothing like it. You're so keyed up you barf the whole way down. Nine hours of continual barfing are required. So you do it. Then, when you're at your weakest, and your stomach turned inside out, you can barely press your head up to the cold cabin window to cop some cool. You need relief from nerve-fever. With effort your eyelids open and you see below the night sea-crawling with waves of sparkling obsidian arrowheads points to a new continent.
Suddenly the black begins to fade to dark blue defining the horizon. Then a brown coast appears, running away to left and right, to north and south, at breakneck speed, till it disappears into distant blue mist. You will in fifteen minutes land in a place where you must live your life at a run. And you have done this insane thing by choice.
Lima is only a stop on the way. You don't even go through customs or immigration. They have prepared a special room just for you. In it is a leather couch like the kind you see in movies in the offices of psychiatrist. But the doctor won't be here. Instead, a flight attendant gives you what you need. On her light brown palm lies a capsule with little dots inside. She smiles at you using blue-green eyes, small white-perfect teeth and red cupie-doll lips. It is compazine. It makes you sleepy. Right when it gets quiet and you comfortable, two flight attendants appear wearing Aereo Boliviano uniforms. They escort you out, up the ramp, and into the plane. You barf your way to La Paz, which you can't quite remember, then Cochabamba, which remains a blur, and finally see out the window a green land with silver ribbon rivers winding through. It's Santa Cruz. When you land and are crossing the tarmac, an insect the size of your hand lands on the lapel of your coat because it smells like papaya. It's not. Welcome to the tropics.
You ride in an open Isuzu taxi, but find your hotel is full. The sky darkens. To another hotel you go. The sky darkens further. On the way it starts to rain. Thunder booms. You end up in a room face down on a bed. The only thing that happens all night is pouring rain, thundering thunder, lightning flashing so close it lights up your room, the smell of ozone invading the air. You would be afraid but no, you are far too tranquillo to care. The next day it's sunny and bright, and leaves you feeling like yesterday wasn't quite right. That's why flying down to Lima is such fun. It's the first leg to so much more.
You eat an omelet with ham for breakfast because you have memorized the phrase "omelet con jamon" in preparation for this event. You eat it late. You grab a cab into town. He drops you off in the main plaza. It's one o'clock by now. There's nobody there. Your hopes for an easy score are dashed. "Where's the gringos, where's the people?" you ask the only man there who's selling ice cream to nobody. "Later," he answers. You return to the hotel, depressed. The air is thick with heat. Nothing is familiar. This place is no good. You think, "I have made a wrong choice in this matter."
You wait for the cool of night. In the blackness which envelopes the countryside you catch yet another cab to return to town. You eat at a Chinese restaurant, dinner. Exactly twenty minutes later you decide you are hungry again. You head back to the plaza for ice cream. You notice noise when you turn the last corner.
There are dozens, scores, hundreds of people there now. It is as packed as Disneyland on Date-Night. You breathe in the cool air now perfumed with the scent of lovely Crucenos. You even see some young people who, by the way they dress, may be possible connections. You take heart. You join the crowd and try to catch up. Like I said, welcome to the tropics. You have finally arrived where you wanted to go.
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