Acapulco by Lawrence Russell
Lawrence Russell


««« 4 »»»

««« My Name Is Bond

The Garden of Sylvester Stallone

I must be drunk. Bats whistling through the branches of the trees, the smell of the night-blowing cereus, the winged passion flower, bougainvillea... and septic. I'm looking at a statue of Stallone, lit by the big moon over Acapulco Bay.

Ajo and Brutus are panting from navigating the crazy stairway.

It's Rambo, says Brutus.
This can't be our hotel, says Ajo.
Looks so real, says Brutus. Even the machine gun.
Sylvester fuggin' Stallone, says Ajo. Stuffed and mounted.
There's another one, I say. And another...

The statues are intermittent along the terrace.

Rocky, says Brutus. Stallone as Rocky.
Rocky? says Ajo.
The boxer, man, says Brutus. You remember Rocky.
Know what this is like? I say. Last Year At Marienbad.
I say we take Rambo with us, says Ajo. You can carry it, Brutal baby.
You nuts? says Brutus. He's made of marble!
Bullshit, says Ajo. Ferroconcrete -- he's just a shell.
You want him, you carry him, says Brutus.
Be cool in my new entrance, says Ajo. Can you see it?
Yes, I say. I can see it.
I want 'im, says Ajo. Rambo's mine. You can have Rocky.
Don't want Rocky, says Brutus. Rambo or nuthin'.
He's mine, says Ajo. Touch him and weep.

Music, voices, laughter.

I need a drink, says Ajo. Let's go.
Maybe we should go back, says Brutus.

Maybe we should go back... fact is, you're going forward even when you're going back. Think about it.

As usual in these situations, I recognize one or two people. There's my mother, sipping what appears to be her favorite, a Pims No. 1, sitting near the white piano... which is played by an invisible player, just like the one in the Camino lobby.

Your funeral went with out a hitch, I say. The mess was minimal. No one got drunk, no one got crude.

She looks at me, then goes back to her conversation with the round-faced man. Goatee and jockey cap. An old friend of the family, hasn't spoken to him in years, ever since that bad deal with the oil well in Alberta. He's smiling at me, raises his glass.

Still pumpin' young fella, he says. Still pumpin'....

The three Pepsi girls are here. Ajo is telling them his favorite joke, the one about the whales attacking the battleship, eating the sailors. One comes over, starts combing my hair. I become warm, tranquil... putty.

My God, there's George Orson, smoking a big cigar.

My friend! says Orson. Good to see you! Been meaning to phone you....
George, I say. Forgive me -- I didn't mean that stuff I said about Rambo.
What's to forgive? he says. Christ, you're right. It is like a comic.
Some people say First Blood Part I is the best Rambo, I say.
Orson twists his face contemptuously, says, which had the biggest cultural impact? I tell you, Rambo II.
Rambo III
went down the drain, I say.
Did o.k., says Orson. Peter MacDonald directed it. I was busy.
Is Sly around? I say.
You want to meet him? says Orson. He's inside, watching TV with my son.

I can see them through the big glass windows... a young boy with dark hair in a big armchair eating cheesies. Stallone is standing nearby, a sullen bodyguard combing his hair.

Saw Sly at the hockey game, I say.
Hockey game? says Orson. You watch hockey?
L.A. was playing Vancouver, I say. It was something to do.
Was he alone? says Orson. That's very unusual.
George, I say. I have a friend with lots of money... I mean, a lot. He would like a statue of Stallone.
I can get you one, says Orson. No problem.
I'll have his people talk to your people, I say.
You have my phone number? says Orson. You want one too?
Anne March, I say. Can you get me her?
Anne March can't act, says Orson.
She was great in The Lover, I say. So horny. Her statue would be nice.
I'll see what I can do, says Orson. I can get you Pat Arquette... Sharon Stone...
Harvey Keitel, I say, as the Bad Lieutenant.
That crazy man? says Orson. Those statues were all destroyed!

There's some unpleasantness going on, one of the lower patios. A lot of people gathered, watching a woman commit a sex act with a burro. The brays of the burro reverberate across the dry hillside.

There's someone here I feel like killing, says Orson.

Glazed eyes, looking at the horizon.

Who? I say.
I want to beat him up, says Orson.

He disappears, the smoke from his cigar hanging like a jet trail. Ajo appears from below, all smiles.

Guess what? says Ajo. Helmut Newton's here.
Talk to him? I say.
He's putting on a show, says Ajo. Check it out.
It's too crude, I say. Don't believe Helmut would stoop so low.
The high priest of erotic possibility, says Ajo. You said so yourself.

The Pepsi girl has her face in my neck, her arms wrapping me from behind, her hands exploring my chest. Ajo is filming us. Brutus is in the distance, making a sketch. I'm riddled with anxiety, yet powerless to move. Somehow I'm becoming part of the show. Try to speak... but all I can do is bray like a donkey.

Now Brutus is in the pool, swimming slowly in the pastel blue, shadowy against the submerged lighting. Three Mexican women sit on chairs knitting, legs crossed, thighs exposed, swollen lipped and bleeding. A white peacock is pecking for flies in the shallows. Tail opens into a fan as Brutus emerges from the water, massive, dripping, dangerous.

Here, eat this, I say. A nice piece of bread with Irish lard.
Feel like killing someone, he says.

Watch him disappear up the steps, footprints glowing with phosphorous. Something's developing here. I feel Stallone is the key. If I could speak with Stallone, then everything will be o.k.

But I'm lost, alone on the terrace with the statues. Stallone's sneer is directed at me.

Sly, I say. Is it necessary to kill so many people?

The muscles, the tight vest, the white knuckle on the trigger.

I've done an inventory, I say, a list. You want to know how many?

A bat swoops past... another... and another, like splattering ink. The terrace seems longer, the statues infinite.

Stallone's talking to me telepathically. This seems completely natural.

What's your boy's name? says Sly. Brutus?
Brutus, I say.
A good Italian name, says Sly. I like that.
It's just because he's big, I say.
He's a big boy, says Sly. 240, 245?
Your call, I say.
How long he been your bodyguard? says Sly.
Since he was seventeen, I say.
I need new muscle, says Sly. Guys I got are soft. Watch too much TV.
They look suspect, I say.
They're stupid, says Sly. They all wanna be stuntmen.
You do your own stunts, don't you? I say.
Better believe it, says Sly. I'm the total package.
Green Bay called 'bout Brutus, I say.
The Packers? says Sly. Yeah, why not? They're thin down the line.
Said we're not interested, I say.
Why would you be? says Sly. Deadheads, man.
Well they haven't got the mojo, Sly, I say.
Call my agent sometime, says Sly.
I like your statues, I say.
Yeah? says Sly. Everybody wants one. Even The Lou in Paris, France.
Limited editions, eh, I say.
Very limited, says Sly.
What about bootlegs? I say.
Track 'em down, destroy 'em bro', says Sly.
You got a patent on your DNA? I say.
What do you think? says Sly.
I think Brutus is worth one of Rambo any day, I say.
Call my agent, says Sly.

I'm looking for Brutus to give him the good news. Go around the back, where everything is so bright, could be dawn. The big boulders stick out of the hillside like nuts in a chocolate cake.

Ajo and Brutus are in the shadow of the gulch, whispering.

He's pissing me off, says Brutus. Big time.
Me too, says Ajo.
Can't take it anymore, says Brutus.
Here, says Ajo. Have a cigarette.
No cigarette, says Brutus. He'll see us.
Nobody'll see us here, says Ajo.
Got guys roaming round all over, says Brutus. This is a very paranoid place.
I hear you, man, says Ajo.
We gotta be cool, says Brutus.

Who are they talking about? They seem to be watching something in the boulder field.

Hey cats, I say. My friend George Orson says he can get me a Stallone.

Brutus and Ajo turn quickly, look up, startled.

Hear what I said? I say. A Stallone.
What about me? says Ajo. How does this fit with me?
It's for you, I say. I don't want it.
Don't believe him, says Brutus. He wants it.
Shut up, I say. It's all arranged. Might cost you, though.
I got money, says Ajo.
As for you, I say to Brutus, Sly wants you as his bodyguard.
Forget it, says Brutus.
Don't you want it? I say. Chance of a lifetime.
Forget it, says Brutus. We've made our own arrangements.
Talk about ungrateful, I say. Jesus Murphy.
Au contraire asshole, says Brutus. You're the ungrateful one.
What? I say. Me?
You heard the man, says Ajo.
Since I was seventeen, says Brutus.
Seventeen, says Ajo.
Could pick you up, throw you down like a toy, says Brutus.
A bad toy, says Ajo.
Couple of jerkoffs, I say. I've been working the karma for you and all I get is, is petulance.
Excuse me, says Ajo. The way I'm hearing it, your karma is my money.
Yeah, says Brutus.
Like I prefer my statues to come as gifts, says Ajo.
Exactly, says Brutus. Free.
That in mind, says Ajo, we've made arrangements.
You're crazy, I say. Try and steal any of those statues, Sly will hunt you down.
Sly, Sly, says Brutus. I'll crush him.

This distasteful conversation is interrupted by gunfire -- the universal solution of a society in crisis everywhere. Bullets are whizzing, invisible birds so close they throb. Various individuals are using the boulders as cover, just like an old time shootout. Who is gunning for who? It's unclear. Brutus has a gun, Ajo has a gun... and by God I have a gun too!

There's Orson again... has somebody by the throat, is strangling the person. They struggle through the boulder field into the house... through the glass rooms onto the deck... the patio... the terrace with the statues, the big Acapulco moon swollen and sinking.

Where's my mother? I see a man pouring her ashes into the surf. How do I know this? Telepathy. Either you have it or you don't. Tonight I have it.

Can't do a thing about it, though. Pinned down by gunfire, the shrapnel of phantoms. I have a gun but in this garden a gun is only as real as the statue who carries it.

I Wonder If They Take Visa

We're in 1978 Galaxy, same car, same driver who took us to the hotel, now taking us away.

S'negger, says Ajo.
Arnold Schwartzenegger? says the driver. Si, I like him.
Madonna, says Ajo.
Si, says the driver. Hoochie coochie.
Elvis, says Ajo.
Elvis, says the driver. Who is Elvis?

There's the house, the one Stallone is supposed to own. A helicopter is hovering above the grounds. I'm the only one who's paying attention.

Wonder if they take Visa, says Brutus.
Who? says Ajo.
I wonder, says Brutus.
We're leaving town, dummy, says Ajo.
Something I was thinking of buying, says Brutus.

All these houses stacked in the hills, these villas, these condos, these dreams... and just as many boulders, abstractions of something yet to be built.

How you like Pulco? says the driver.
Lotta rocks, man, says Ajo.
Rocks? says the driver.
Yeah, rocks, says Ajo. Everywhere you look. Be bad in an earthquake.
Earthquake, si, says the driver.

The Galaxy is pretty loose on the bumps. We rattle into town, get snarled in the traffic.

Thinking about that picture? I say to Brutus. The fake Varo?
Yeah, says Brutus. It has its own thing, don't you think?
Overpriced, I say. Forget it.
I woke up thinking about it this morning, says Brutus. Would look good in my place.
You want a souvenir, I say, buy a T-shirt.
I did, says Brutus.
Big enough? I say.
Oh it's big enough, says Brutus.
Hope it isn't tacky, I say.

Spreads his arms on the shoulders of the back seat, allows his jacket to fall open. Can't believe what I'm seeing... Corona, Una Cerverza Mas Fina? No. Acapulco, the Garden of Sylvester Stallone.... Si.

Ajo, I say, check this man out.
Ajo looks back, smiles, says, cool -- where'd you get it?

© LR 15/5/2000

««« My Name Is Bond

The City »»»

Diamente To Acapulco »»»

Post-Modern In The Zona Rosa »»»

© Lawrence Russell

Culture Court 2000