My Fathers' Ghost is Climbing in the Rain

My Fathers' Ghost is Climbing in the Rain by Patricio Pron Read Free Book Online

Book: My Fathers' Ghost is Climbing in the Rain by Patricio Pron Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patricio Pron
were frogs and iguanas, which rested on the tracks during the hottest hours ofthe day and fled if they noticed you were stalking them. The neighborhood kids used to say that if you found yourself confronted by an iguana, you should always be sure to keep in front of it, since if the iguana lashed at you with its tail it could cut off your leg. This game was also popular: We used to capture frogs in an irrigation ditch and stick them, still alive, in a plastic bag, which we then placed in the street as a car was passing. The game was, after the car had destroyed the bag, each of us would try to put together an entire frog with the pieces scattered on the sidewalk; whoever finished a frog first won. On the street where we used to play this frog puzzle game, there was an old bar and warehouse that had been swallowed up by the city, and my paternal grandfather used to go there at dusk to drink a glass of wine and sometimes play cards. In the summer you could get ice cream at a store called Blanrec, whose owner, I think, was actually called Lino; I used to read a lot when we spent summers in El Trébol, and take long naps and, in general, spend a lot of time walking the streets, which were like the streets in the small American Midwestern towns from 1950s movies; most of the buildings were homes, and they were all always closed up, with the blinds slightly open to enable people to spy on what was happening outside. At dusk the spying came out into the open, as if a ban prohibiting it only at certain hours had beenlifted, and people used to bring chairs out onto the sidewalk and sit and chat with the neighbors. Sometimes you also saw people on horseback. Naturally, everyone knew each other and they said good morning or good afternoon or whatever it was, greeting each other with first names or nicknames because each one of those names came with a story that was the story of the individual who bore it and of his entire family, past and present. Some of my father’s uncles were deaf-mutes and, therefore, I was the kid from the deaf family or the grandson of the painter; the deaf-mutes made floor mosaics, a profession I think they learned in jail, and they had dogs that responded to names they could say in spite of not being able to really speak: Cof and Pop. There were never thefts of any importance in town and people usually left their doors open in the summer and their cars unlocked and their bicycles tossed on their front lawns. Around the back of my grandparents’ house, a man had some land where he raised rabbits. Another had a grocery store with shelves that reached the ceiling; he was very tall. I liked the bread that man sold. I also liked the iced tea my grandmother made and the songs my grandfather whistled. He was always whistling or humming; his hands were destroyed by the turpentine he used to remove paint stains but, from what I understood, he’d been through worse. There wasn’t a real bookstore or a libraryin town; just one store run by two old ladies that sold newspapers and some comic books, which I bought if the old ladies considered them appropriate for me. There was absolutely nothing else to do in that place except go to the movie theater on the main street, which offered a double feature for kids; inevitably, since the theater had limited funds, the same movies were shown over and over, so we’d had to find some other source of entertainment: putting candies in our mouths and, when we had salivated enough and they were damp and sticky, throwing them into the long hair of the girls in the front rows. Some of us, the cruel ones, used gum instead of candy, and any attempts to try to remove the gum made it even more entrenched, and there was crying and laughing and threats. I also liked the honey produced by a beekeeper in town, but otherwise there was nothing to do except spy and be spied on, all the while maintaining an air of seriousness that even we kids were forced to put on, with the obligatory weekly

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