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My Name Is Bond
Standing on a terrace, the Bahia de Puerto Marques below, blue and sparkling, the potted palms, etc. Catch my reflection in the window of the postcard boutique. My name is Bond -- James Bond, I say... as if my reflection is speaking to anyone but me. Sounds good but could be better, so I try it again: My name is Bond, James Bond.
I'm still bonding with Bond when Brutus comes out of the shop.
Hey, he says. What's happenin'?
The beach is small but clean, exclusive to the hotel. The beach jockeys set up a shade tent and we lounge on our recliners, watch the action.
Man with gold chain around his neck, gray hair on his chest, the swell of his belly. Hand in hand with a young woman, thick black hair, black swimming suit. South American but maybe not Mexican. They linger in the surf, scan the water. He points to something beyond the safety nets, maybe the big beach, south... or the silver hotel tower on the peninsula. They wander back and forth like horses on the edge of a river they must cross, nervous, sensual, illicit.
Finally they take the plunge, start swimming. I wonder if she's with him for the money or the sex. I know why he's with her.
Can you swim? I say to Ajo.
Ajo kicks his sandals off, starts down the beach.
Hey, I call, what about your watch?
Brutus is wearing black shades. He's like Chac Mool, the Rain God, waiting to collect rain in his stomach, his powerful legs raised, feet jammed into the sand either side of his recliner.
Would you swim with your watch on? I say.
Ajo is up to his waist, looks around, launches forward.
The Australian crawl, I say.
Ajo circles the raft, then treads, head up like a seal. The woman is lying back, eyes closed, one knee raised, glistening in the sun. Sugar Daddy sits beside her, hands flat on the deck.
You going in? I say.
I amble down the incline, find shade in the big rocks where the jet bikes are beached, start filming with the digicam. The hotel, hanging from the hillside like a beached liner... flunkies in white sweeping the decks, adjusting sun umbrellas, delivering drinks... family on the sand, kids digging... bikinis... bikinis... large millionaire launch rumbling past... Mexican kid with jet ski swamping tight circles... the raft, Sugar Daddy and his dreaming woman.
Zoom in. Sugar Daddy is like Juan Peron, Dictator of Argentina. An exile from another era. His woman is a flamenco dancer, a Panamanian butterfly, a forest nymph.
Ajo is circling the raft slowly, head up, maybe talking to Sugar Daddy.
Pan back to the sun tent, Brutus receiving a fresh Margarita.
A young hustler approaches.
Amigo, he says, you want hoochie coochie?
He's smiling like coffee, fresh and rippling. Shark tooth on a string around his neck.
How much for the jet bikes? I say.
surf riders in the sun
Ajo and Brutus are cutting circles on the bay, their jet bikes bucking over the wakes of launches and the dreams of drunks. Ajo in a standing crouch, gripping the handlebars, humping and roaring. Brutus big and heavy in his saddle, also humping, roaring. Plumes of water spraying from their tails like peacocks, droplets fanning like rainbows, splitting light.
Ajo roars up to our beach, hair matted, shades dripping.
Ya gotta try it, man! he shouts. Fuggin' wild... aw, you should see tha shit other side of the bay...! Chicks like you wouldn't believe...!
Brutus roars up like he's sliding into first base.
Let's rent the fuckers fer the day! he shouts.
I'm strapping on a life-jacket, wading into the surf. Kid brings up my bike, holds it as I climb on, slips the safety string around my left wrist. The Kill Switch. Hit the starter button, engine rumbles, throttle up, start moving out. Ajo and Brutus buzz around me like outriders.
Roaring across the blue chop, hotel receding like the Titanic, pass a catamaran, a speed boat, crouching like a jockey. Pass Chick Beach, the bikinis, the booze huts, the water-skiers. Brutus, Ajo crisscrossing, yelping, surf-riders in the sun.
Follow Punta Diamente to the gap... small island and beyond that Acapulco Bay. Throttle back, behold the solitary beach house built on the rocks, sandstone towers, neo-Moorish. A gleaming cigarette boat waits at the dock.
Some house, eh, says Ajo.
There's a stairway, twisting among the boulders and the eucalyptus. Where does it lead? To the crest of the steep hill, and the big neo-modern villa of Sylvester Stallone.
Maybe I should buy it, says Ajo. I'm the Cisco Kid.
And I'm thinking, yeah, my name is Bond -- James Bond.
Night. The main drag. We stroll in the muggy heat beneath the towers of the luxury hotels... The Hyatt, The Fiesta Americana, the Fugg del Sol... the neon, the traffic, the shops, clubs, bars and open lobbies spraying light like anti-aircraft fire.
What's the matter? I say to Brutus.
Ajo's looking for a bank machine. Brutus and I browse in Sanborn's for a few minutes, then exit into the lobby of the El Presidente, see Ajo filming three young beauties in bathing suits and white sashes with Pepsi logos. They don't speak any English but this doesn't stop Ajo. They're smiling, he's chuckling as he circles with his digicam.
You get the money? I say.
We're back on the street again, moving south.
I wanted to get them out on the steps, says Ajo. Have the neon in
the background... but next time maybe.
Some construction going on, big excavator, workmen with yellow and red hardhats. Trucks, engines throttling. Deep trench in the street, big enough to bury a couple of buses in. Big lamps like a movie set.
There's where I'd photograph them, I say.
Brutus wanders up.
Hey guys, he says. Check the hole.
night gallery on costera
It's on the corner, overlooking the hole, marque like an old movie theatre, but now it's a gallery. Brutus is looking at a painting in the window.
What is it, he says, that makes their stuff so unreal?
Some people are sitting at a table drinking wine. Man with a black goatee and black frame glasses stands up, makes room for us to squeeze past.
Senores, he says, yes, we're open....
Space is tight, the paintings large and stacked as corridors. Some hang on the walls, anywhere there is space. Are these the artists? The women are middle-aged, bourgeois, gallery poodles. They ignore us, continue talking, drinking, smoking.
Aw look at this one! says Brutus. Is this
not Remedios Varo?
We're moving between the canvases towards a door. With all the paintings surrounding it, the door looks like it's in a painting itself, a Magritte trick.
What's in there? says Brutus. Another gallery?
It's like a patio -- you can hear the sea, see the stars.
It's a garden, says Brutus. Nuthin' here, man.
© Lawrence Russell
Culture Court 2000