Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dust of the Earth: Chapter 7

Welcome to the continuing serialized version of Phantom Limbs' bassist Jim Parks' novel, Dust Of The Earth, a Tucson story about Tucson history, mystery, other worlds, desert mojo, forbidden love, and the fledgling Tucson music scene... (c) by Jim Parks, reprinted with permission

We left off last time with our narrator getting to know all of Creation...in the Biblical Sense. We start today's segment with him waking up in the house of Ana Socorro Castellano...

Chapter 7
"Interesting what we find when we open the doors of perception"
 I must have been exhausted because, in spite of the shock of seeing Ana Socorro, I drifted off to sleep, rousing every so often to see her moving in and out of the room. Once I could have sworn I saw the big Indian standing in the doorway. The room seemed to be a sort of study or library, and I was lying on a large sofa to one side of the room. There was a desk cluttered with papers to the other side, and shelves of books reaching to the ceiling everywhere else. The smell of leather and musty old books filled the room.

    I drifted off again and awoke in the morning to find a man in a wheelchair sitting next to me. Don Pedro was dressed in slacks, oxford shirt and tie, and a cardigan sweater. I would come to find out that he was always dressed at least this formally, even though he rarely left the house. He was a trim compact man, elegant in spite of his advanced age and infirmity - an impression heightened by his smooth mildly accented voice. He had a thin mustache that made him look a little like old-time actor William Powell.

    "You've had quite a night, young man."

    I rose up a little but couldn't find anything to say.

    "Interesting what we find when we open the doors of perception," Don Pedro continued. 

    I looked at him, mildly surprised. "My father has that book."

    "Does he? He must be a broadminded fellow." 

    "He used to be."

    I looked around the room. A pair of roof-prism binoculars rested on one shelf, and I noticed Peterson's Field Guide To Western Birds next to it. On another shelf were dozens of hand-labeled binders and some books about stamp collecting. There were framed photographs on the walls of the room showing a more youthful Don Juan with various distinguished looking companions.
    I felt a little dizzy and was having a hard time concentrating. I changed the subject to a matter of greater interest to me. "I saw Ana Socorro..."

    "Yes, she lives here," Don Pedro responded. "Do you know her?"

    "Not personally. I know of her, I guess."

    "I am her grandfather, Pedro Martin."

    I introduced myself. "I'm sorry to have disturbed you, Mr. Martin. As you already seem to have guessed, I wasn't myself last night."

    Don Pedro smiled. "Who then were you?"

    I laughed, rubbing my eyes. The back of my neck was stiff and sore.

    "Ana Socorro is a caring soul," he said. "She has always taken in stray dogs and cats, and tried to help injured birds. She rarely spends her considerable allowance on herself. It ends up in the alms box at church, or she gives it away to needy strangers."

    "So I am like a stray animal?"

    "Perhaps. Something led you here, I think. This is no coincidence."
...to be continued

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