“What have you been doing?” What have you, you, been doing? They asked me. I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable about that question because I sometimes, or most times don’t know the reason for it being asked. We were in the corner bar, one of those corner bars I told you I liked so much. This was featured tables which were girded by chairs of all different sizes, shapes and styles. That was kind of the motif of the place. I don’t know why it was like that, and I get the feeling the owners didn’t either, but that doesn’t necessarily matter. It just doesn’t have to. And it was all right by me. I was chosen, I picked, I was left with a small rocking chair the size that would make Goldilocks bark out it was too small. That was mine. I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t see anyone else finding any use for it. Plus it did rock, as it was designed to do, and I hadn’t been in one of those for a long time. Maybe since the week I visited a friend up in New Hampshire to see his white water kayak race. There were four of us and the beers came along for the trip too. There were about 96 of them. We got together for a big reunion. Heard the race was good, but what I really liked was the rocking chair on their front porch. I think it had been put there to add to the rocking chair effect, but that was all right by me.
The place was good. I recommend it. There I was sipping on a Somontano red wine and trying hard to stay awake. It had been a long week. It had been a long week. Furious and frustrating. My eyes drooped. I could feel them drooping lower than what anyone had imagined.
My friends who I worked with were trying to tell me about some girl who had gone missing. An American girl. She had just graduated from college, some place in the state of Washington and was one her last night in Madrid the week before. She was going to a concert at the Riviera bar on the Manzanares River banks. She left early because she wasn’t feeling well and told her friends she was going to get a taxi and never made it to her hotel.
One of my friend’s boyfriend said she was stupid to do that because Madrid was a dangerous city.
“I don’t think it’s that dangerous. In fact, for a city its size, Madrid is actually quite safe. One of the safest I can think of. I know cities in the States where all it takes is for you to make a wrong turn and suddenly find yourself praying to get out as soon as possible. And you’re inside a car! Here you can walk pretty much anywhere and feel comfortable.” I had had a couple of run-ins in this city, but if you go out as much as I do, you are bound to. And even then, they were minor deals. Just a scuffle or two with some punks who were bored and had nothing better to do than bash someone’s head in. The first time was 4 stitches behind the ear and the second time was a few sore bones in my back because of the kicks. They left me alone after the had finished with me, which was nice of them because they could have done a lot worse, being thugs by profession.
“I still think it’s a dangerous city. And if you don’t believe me, just ask that American girl.”
“I would, but we all fear the worse and we should. But it was probably the river. She probably fell into the river.”
She probably fell into the river.