Great…I finally get home, and I have had to make a strategic move back to the Ghost Hotel. I’ve heard rumors of three gringos in town, very white-toned skin, wearing dark blue pants, serious expressions, and asking questions – which is bad form in a community of refugees from the “real” world – too many with too much to lose from answering questions. Then, there’s that terrifying AA of American Airlines on the patch sewed onto the breast of the trio’s equally dark blue jackets. I think this has something to do with my outburst in O’Hare after being delayed three times, missing a connection, and being re-routed to Chicago where thunderstorms had us grounded for three hours. Look…I really had nothing to do with the disappearance of that snaggly woman at the Missed Flights/Distressed Passenger counter.
Any Way…I thought I could sit this out in peace here with the Philosopher Red at the Ghost Hotel, but he wasn’t around, only a dozen or so empty Impeial beer bottles and a messy pile of clippings from magazines to even suggest he had been here in the last month or so since I’ve been gone. The clippings of word combinations were a bit disturbing, since I lean toward gallows humor and conspiracy theories. Here’s what I found:
Sometimes, coming home can be a battle in itself.
TE ESPARA (you wait, in Spanish)
Stay Comfortable, Stay Connected
No more business as usual
Donde estan los ninos? (Where are your children, in Spanish)
Heroes among us
Prefiere sus reuniones cara a cara a las 7:30 (you want to meet face-to-face at 7:30, in Spanish) with the “7” inked out, and a “9” scribbled above it.
Brilliance. Proximity. It’s all Here
While sifting through this debris I noticed a few marks on the fence Red and I put up to discourage any outside examination of our life in the Ghost Hotel.
Lifting a candle up to the marks I found this. Wilson… Yes, Wilson in Costa Rica.
I was getting the fear.
The more optimistic types – those who don’t know the history of the Philosopher Red – might take these clippings for an exercise in found poetry…the image for an innocent blot left after a day of painting – but I do know his history.
Now, I’m not sure about anything any longer, but the purpose for these clippings, and the paint blot?
I’ve watched enough television cop shows to know the beginning of a ransom note, or a warning to the Rude Red Dude’s perceived enemies when I see one.
A young surf bum on a stool at a beach club bar (or, an apparently young surf bum) with an Australian accent, leaned into me and whispered, “They hijacked an Imperial truck two days ago,” to me while I was yelling – I mean asking – the local Pilsen Girl why the only cold beer they had was Pilsen.
Imperial is the “Beer of Costa Rica” as the advertising says.
Just then the local miriachi band started playing Hotel California for the 137th time since I’ve been here, but there were no tourists paying them, and the singer was staring directly at me. The rest of the musicians were looking at their instruments, the ground, the palm trees, anywhere but at me. Something in that Reptilian core of my brain began to itch…the fight or flight center which has always served me well.
The Aussie beach bum slipped me a local magazine called The Howler, opened it to the editor’s page, and said, “I’d read this if I were you.” He left immediately, without finishing his Pilsen. I did too.
It seems that some researchers have been snooping around, trying to connect the way children learn language with the way baby birds learn to make bird calls. One of their bodies was found in the estuary of Las Baulus National Park, the favorite dumping ground for Nicaraguan and Columbian – I’ve got to go. I’ll explain later, when I can…if I can.