Chronicles of Infection • • • MidMay20011 [Island Hijinks, pt.I]


This blog entry will concern itself with a variety of topics [3] and tries to conscientiously use words so as to evoke scenes and thoughts most pleasant, yet of a certain mild critical provocation, in the reader. The reader is the dear and cherished person who gives this textual and ideational and supra-realist tableau whatever meaning it can ever hope to attain. There can never be enough praise for the attentive reader.


Well then. The first and perhaps best thing I can do is to describe to you the island and life on it. I cannot tell for sure if I came to it as a shipwreckee, a consumer of hallucinogens or a simple day-dreamer but that must not detract from its reality.

What memories come back from the first few moments? The warm wash of brine across all of my body’s skin as I lay there, half-buried in the beach’s fine-grained sand. My clothes so very tattered that it did seem very much, yes, that I had survived some calamity or other. Beyond the band of light brown beach came the viridescent green of tropical shrubbery, followed in short order by the dark, green-capped wall of rain forest in which the boles of palm-trees and co. struck vertical stripes of white like lost match-sticks or femurs. All of it fading in the farther away background to that deeper shade of green, which is properly sylvan. Though hopefully not sylvatic. One, which was just I, could see at a distance a slanting shaft of sun that cast one of the isle’s many glades in the elderly day’s bloody gold.

To my left, but a few yards away, a humongous black suitcase was lapped at by the indefatigable ocean that had spat out as inedible or irrelevant or from a passing fancy, the both of us. Though inanimate, its bruised and battered carbon shell lent it very much the aspect of a survivor. Strangely moved, I accorded it a rather confused smile of camaraderie. We were going to be in this together; this being the matter of surviving yet a few days, weeks, years longer before oblivion came calling in all its splendid finality. The suitcase did not in any way reciprocate my affections other than by its mute countenance that signaled a sort of inanimate consent.   

I decided to check with my other, much more important comrade, my body. Racing my gaze all across the sun-crisped expanse I was relieved to find neither fractures nor serious flesh wounds. There was only a slight, epidermal laceration along my lower left arm that did not seem to be in need of any medical attention, which, as early as then, I supposed, was not forthcoming on this devil-forsaken fleck of land. Again I smiled, maybe aware at such an early stage of the importance of routinely rehearsing the minutia of being human. Or at least evoking that appearance. For sanity, for self, in the name of a species who upon being asked likely wouldn’t give half a damn.

Nobody had to tell me that the island and the suitcase would be my only two friends for a long time to come. I had read Crusoe and Concrete Island, thus I was fortunately familiar with the script of these archetypal setting. I had always wanted to be alone on some island and although this had come about in a way I could not grasp and I lacked the anchor of a memory to moor the leaky schooner of my ego, I yet very, very dearly welcomed the most unexpected opportunity.

I got to my knees and started producing some pre-neolithic, positively protozoan noises of joy. Loud and louder, until I found myself gasping the Isle’s fresh breeze coming in off and over across the wide azure berth of the atoll. Exhausted but silly with bliss, I lugged my water-logged weight over to the black suitcase. Within a matter of just… three or four hours I suppose, and some inestimable help from sticks and shells sprinkling the beach all the way up to the shrubbery, I managed to open it. The content was as close to perfection as I could have ever hoped for: a raincoat, a multi-purpose knife, two pair of those amphibian sneakers that surfers wear and that were only one or two sizes bigger than my own trotters, three tins of beans, a sleeping bag, an almost empty notebook as well as six or seven pens, and best of all, a zippo in perfect working order.

With all these perfectly convenient goods it was almost a surprise there wasn’t a compass or a cell-phone plus signal to call R&R folks to come pick me up already. It was as if the event, shipwreck or plane-crash, whichever it might have been, had been informed about my untoward circumstances in such a place, had a moment of clemency/forethought and floated me this carbon clam with its suitable contents. This in turn made it seem like one of those totally toothless “adventure” trips in a small group and with a local guide, where the travel agents checks and double-, triple-, and quadruple checks to expunge even the remotest possibility of any mortal danger or bodily inconvinience to its participants. They are swaddled in layers of covert, high-powered tourist infrastructure protecting them from the vicissitudes of local life and its dangerous colors.

I spent the rest of that first day as well as most of the second, searching for a source of sweet water in case monsoon season was not around the corner. And making absolutely sure there was no such thing as a hatch on the island.  

[…to be continued…silly as that sounds…]


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About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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