The Rum Diary / Ромовий щоденник: vol 6

Оригінал англійською Переклад українською

We had breakfast at the table by the window and afterward we drank coffee


and read the papers. That morning was the only time I ever felt a sense of peace in the


apartment, and when I thought about it I felt dumb, because that was the only reason


I'd wanted it in the first place. I lay on the bed and smoked and listened to the radio


while Chenault washed the dishes. There was a good breeze, and when I looked out


the window I could see across the trees and the red-tiled rooftops all the way to the




Chenault was wearing my shirt again, and I watched it bounce and flutter


around her thighs as she moved in the kitchen. After a while I got up and crept over to


her, lifting the shirt and seizing her rump with both hands. She shrieked and spun


around, then fell against me, laughing. I put my arms around her and playfully jerked


the tail of the shirt up over her head. We stood there swaying slightly and then I


carried her over to the bed, where we made love very quietly.


It was mid-morning when I left the house, but the sun was already so hot that


it felt like mid-afternoon. Driving along the beach I remembered how much I'd


enjoyed the mornings when I first came to San Juan. There is something fresh and


crisp about the first hours of a Caribbean day, a happy anticipation that something is


about to happen, maybe just up the street or around the next corner. Whenever I look


back on those months and try to separate the good times from the bad, I recall those


mornings when I had an early assignment — when I would borrow Sala's car and go


roaring along the big tree-lined boulevard. I remember the feel of the little car


vibrating beneath me and the sudden heat of the sun on my face as I zipped out of the


shade and into a patch of light; I remember the whiteness of my shirt and the sound of


a silk tie flapping in the wind beside my head, the unhinged feel of the accelerator and


a sudden switching of lanes to pass a truck and beat a red light.


Then into a palm-lined driveway and hit the rasping brakes, flip down the


Press tag on the visor and leave the car in the nearest No Parking zone. Hurry into the


lobby, pulling on the coat to my new black suit and dangling a camera in one hand


while an oily clerk calls my man to confirm the appointment. Then up a soft elevator


to the suite - big greeting, pompous conversation, and black coffee from a silver pot,


a few quick photos on the balcony, grinning handshake, then back down the elevator


and hustle off.


On my way back to the office, with a pocketful of notes, I would stop at one of


the outdoor restaurants on the beach for a club sandwich and a beer; sitting in the


shade to read the papers and ponder the madness of the news, or leaning back with a


lusty grin at all the bright- wrapped nipples, trying to decide how many I could get my


hands on before the week was out.


Those were the good mornings, when the sun was hot and the air was quick


and promising, when the Real Business seemed right on the verge of happening and I


felt that if I went just a little faster I might overtake that bright and fleeting thing that


was always just ahead.


Then came noon, and morning withered like a lost dream. The sweat was


torture and the rest of the day was littered with the dead remains of all those things


that might have happened, but couldn't stand the heat. When the sun got hot enough it


burned away all the illusions and I saw the place as it was — cheap, sullen, and garish


- nothing good was going to happen here.


Sometimes at dusk, when you were trying to relax and not think about the


general stagnation, the Garbage God would gather a handful of those choked-off


morning hopes and dangle them somewhere just out of reach; they would hang in the


breeze and make a sound like delicate glass bells, reminding you of something you


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