pablo dillinger | war correspondent
\”Overtaken by a weakness to bludgeon the house senseless with a royal flush of dubs, the bleachers echo with the whisper of melodica… Where the casual user exposes himself to infection, we seek to tattoo over underlying distortion.\” – ib
I had not seen daylight in three days. I crawled around on the rug like a broken cockroach. Filling the ashtray with cigarette butts. I slept under the window where the curtain met the floor. I could not type. My fingers sported blisters from partial thickness burns. Large blisters filled with pus. Serum. The carpet, too, scorched like grass from where I\’d hurled the Zippo. After it lit me up. A reluctantly protesting monk. I could not sit comfortably. I could scarcely waddle. Let alone walk. The boil lurking between scrotum and anus smarted worse than my hands. Swollen to the approximate size of a ping-pong ball. Tender as a porkloin fillet. Thanks to the fucking boil I reclined for the most part motionless. One leg elevated. Pointing at the ceiling. It felt like the end of the road. I needed penicillin. A doctor. But that required my leaving the hotel room. Above all else, it involved picking up the phone and addressing reception. I practiced in the mirror. I was incapable of articulating anything beyond a short burst of ticks and clicks. The medicine cabinet clung to one screw in the wall. Empty but for a sliver of soap. A single, unopened rubber. I rifled through drawers. I turned socks inside out for the hell of it. I tore off my clothes and lay in my undershorts sobbing. I skulked in the cornicing looking down on myself. Mostly, I confined myself to the rug. Smoking incessantly. Several times the cigarette tumbled from between my fingers. Rolling under the sofa. A chair. A table. Forcing me to my knees before I burned the entire building down. Everyone in it. At times like these, one questions one\’s motives. At times like these, one eliminates the need to shave. Bathe. Even the act of defecating requires an impossible degree of concentration. I squatted next to the open turnstile that is a keyboard. Squatted scores of empty guest houses while landlords chased for rent. There was no word from the Hat. The trackpad was sticky. It would not permit me to navigate an escape route. Failing that, a safe return. My hand ached. The blister on my index finger burst. It leaked between the keys until all my options scabbed. I nudged the cursor around on the screen and opened several unwanted tabs. The minibar was closed. I could not write. I did not want to write. The thing which haunted me did not move me to eloquence. It sat in my bowels as ballast. Stones and gravel. Constipated on every level from the basement up, I crouched in the cellar of ego and refused to consider changing the bulb. The corners never heal. Not from the shame of self-inflicted wounds. Better to be dragged from the debris the accidental arsonist than surrender the smoking pistol. Better to kick against the pricks. Come Sunday I would be back in the interior. The newspaper owed me that much. The board of directors was screwing its readers. The editor was fucking my wife. The Hat and Pablo Dillinger were the only constant on the page in a war of shifting alliances. A war without obvious casualties. The Hat and Pablo Dillinger were evangelists, partisans, observers in a collision of heavy manners. The biggest pricks of them all, maybe, malcontents on a raft of hostilities.