The Company – 7

As soon as Turd saw the old man, his instinct of custody also brightened up. He wobbled like a penguin, excited by whatever distorted prospects he envisioned in his mind. Reasonable for once, he was in agreement with me, although being his cautious self he just and grudgingly recognized that maybe we could be of assistance on this occasion if we decided that that was necessary.

“What do you mean if it’s necessary, you moron,” I said, utterly surprised by the shortcomings in perception from my associate. “Are you unaware of the idiocy he hauls to such a degree that it’s even difficult to comprehend how he is still able to manage the process of respiration, which to him must be the most intricate endeavor?”

“Don’t mock me with your words, CrazyEye,” he said, and I must admit that rightly so, since I will frequently do exactly that, because I find that a good dose of verbal prepotency raises me away from the infamy in which I usually trudge, and such distancing myself from it all brings me tranquility, makes me feel safe, “or I’ll stamp one of my presents on your face. I can perfectly see he’s a dummy, thank you very much, I don’t understand why you need to come with all your chatty-chat when there’s not much to talk about, really, he’s half dead already, in the streets by himself he’d crawled for just a question of days.”

“Hours, I’d say.”

“Hours, yes, maybe just hours, so someone needs to take care of him,” Turd said. I nodded, making my agreement as obvious as possible, and he added, “where did you find him?”

“In my park.”

“In your park?” the mocking Turd asked.

“Yes,” I answered, knowing too well where he was heading to.

“Is your territory, CrazyEye,” he laughed at me. “Everything there is in CrazyEye’s park,” the shitty head started to sing, bouncing from one feet to another, mocking me, “everything there is in CrazyEye’s park, both the good and the bad, all of it belongs to CrazyEye. That’s your song. How many times have you sang it to me? Eh? Eh? So, the old thing was in your park, consequently he’s all yours.”

“I know, but…”

“Yes, yes, don’t you worry. Aren’t we comrades? Of course we are. I’ll help you, don’t you worry,” he said with a sardonic intonation and a final snort. “Besides,” he continued, “I have a lot of spare time over here, I can take care of him. But…” Turd raised an eyebrow and became dead serious, “you haven’t told me his name yet. You’ve already asked him, I assume?”

Turd was overly obsessed with the business of names. It must have been because of being marked himself with the ignominy of his name that he was so sensitive on the matter, so sensitized to it, so losing hours after hours meditating about names and all the undercurrents that emerged from each particular naming event. So much was he absorbed by the colors and shapes of given names that he had become a crafter of them. A forger of names. An unrecognized artist in my opinion. And any time Turd created a new name, even though one could imagine that there was a fire of rancor burning in him that could spark a desire to behave hatefully as an answer to the offense committed by his parents, he never fostered nor accepted any nominal injustice, no matter how small. Against such injustices he would rebel, sometimes brandishing the most displeasing weapons, not precisely prophylactic ones, as when he would go into a church during a baptism and rant against any Dick, against any Seaman, against any Reason, starting with a subdued mumble, becoming more and more infuriated with the responsible parties, finally screaming and fighting until he was kicked out.

In quite a contradictory manner, he didn’t accept any adulterations, distortions or changes to the name that one had received. He was very adamant on this issue. His position was that we had to be strict. If something or someone (no distinction had to be made according to Turd) is given a name, whatever it is, that name must be retained inexcusably, accepting any consequences, one has the ethical obligation to do so, to wear that name as an ornate crown and not as a shredded kleenex stuck in the corner of a pocket. That’s where Turd’s ardent refusal to renounce to his own name emanated from. He also argued that as important as embracing the name you had been given was giving as quickly as possible a name to any thing or being that lacked one. For me he invented the name CrazyEye as soon as he learned that I had abdicated from my old and business-like name, something Turd will never forgive me for, although he should understand that I had to kill some particular ties. All his treasures he also baptized. In fact, there was nothing that being unnamed and falling into his hands remained nameless for more than a second.

“He doesn’t talk too much,” I said to my comrade Turd.

“Well, we need to find out at once what’s his name,” he said, contorting his fat face to produce a distressed grimace. “Are you sure he didn’t say anything?”

“Not about his name, no.”

“What did he say, then?”

“Well, we were in our way to here and out of the blue he told me his story. Actually, he repeated the whole thing five times, I think. And that’s the only time he said anything, like a dam suddenly opened and all his misadventures came bursting out, then suddenly the dam was shut down again. That story must be the only thing that moves him. It’s kind of short in words, but certainly cruel. You must want to know about it, I bet.”

“Yes, of course,” he said while opening his legs and putting his hands on his hips, one of his pompous stances, “maybe we can figure something out about his name.” He was now so impatient that I purposely elongated my silence, to see him wiggle with enraged anticipation, his short legs tap dancing as if his shoes were burning up. “Come on, spit it out,” he yelled.

“The story revolves mostly around his daughter. He refers to her as ‘The Bitch from Hell’. It turns out that one day she was fed up with him, she said that she had had enough with her own children, she had changed more than enough diapers and dealt with all the other shit, she wasn’t going to return to that part of her life, nor was she going  to pay most of her money to a nursing home for someone who was worthless and good for nothing, someone who the only thing that he could expect to get from life was a quick death. So the daughter, aka the bitch from Hell, her brain upholstered with such ideas, took her father to my park, ordered him to sit down on a bench, and left towards her job without any remorse, leaving our friend here behind her for ever.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, that’s basically it.”

“The bitch from Hell…” Turd said while musing. “The bitch from Hell…”

“Yes,” I said.

“My daughter didn’t seem the type,” said the old man in a sudden burst of inspiration, right away falling again in his well of mutism.

Turd ignored the old man, those words could have been a dog complaining in the distance for all that he cared. He assumed his serious face. “So, we don’t know his name, now,” he said. There he came again, obsessively pensive, stroking his chin in a plotting manner. “The first thing we need to do is to give him a name, that’s for sure,  he cannot just go around without a name to make him human,” he insisted, starting to annoy me with his tedious agenda. “What do you think about OldThrown?”

I didn’t say anything and scratched my tummy instead. OldThrown complained about his daughter again.

The Company – 6

The old man opened his eyes but didn’t show any other symptom of being sentient or capable of thought. I told him that there are four pillars that sustain our place in the universe: truth, compassion, friendliness and purpose. Although I remembered the pastrami sandwich that still tickled the back of my palate and felt that I had to make a correction.

“Let’s improve on that,” I told him, “there are five pillars that sustain our place in the universe: truth, compassion, friendliness, purpose, and selfishness.”

I immediately thought that he was going to make some sardonic remark about friendliness and selfishness being two pillars too opposed to each other to sustain anything of real value. However, he didn’t say that. In fact, he said nothing, the idiotic skunk.

And that was the main problem, you see, this old man turned out to be as taciturn as a stalk of celery. Something I normally appreciate on people, it was most inopportune on this occasion. He didn’t seem to attend to my explanations, either. That is, he didn’t produce nor receive any type of information. He was just there stranded in the interior cavities of his brain, although that’s assuming that he had a mind somewhere and that was quite an assumption given the faces voided of intelligence that he portrayed. From time to time he looked at me and I anticipated the start of a conversation, even if a mediocre one, but his eyes lapped me like a lobotomized fish would, no meditations, no hamster running in his wheel behind those eyes. A tough bone, that old man; I soon understood that it was going to be laborious, perhaps impossible, to open that door that for whatever reason had melted and become one with the unjumpable wall that was his skull. I should soon accept that the dope wasn’t going to assimilate even my more basic teachings. I wouldn’t also know whether he learned anything or not, because he wasn’t going to tell me. This whole issue about lack of communication was what made me desist from my didactic endeavors after half an hour.

Even though I opted to abandon the education of my pupil, it didn’t seem ethical to ignore him at the physical level. Who believed out there that CrazyEye is a selfish soul, a heartless bastard? Common, common, little buggers. As I have done on more than one occasion with a sparrow that I find with a broken wing, or with homeless cats and dogs, taking care of them during their last days, on that same way I wanted to be magnificent and come to his rescue, knowing too well that if I left him to his own devices he would last in my park or any other well in which he fell an amount of time that could be considered to be too short, so detached was he from the world and all its nuances. It was really astonishing that the wolves hadn’t gobbled him up yet. It was clear that rambling like a moronic and solitary dog wasn’t going to provide him with any prosperity. He was in no condition to vagabond by himself in the streets, especially given that he was so inclined towards his death. Ninety per cent of his entrails were likely rotten. His brain, for example, which was barely more than a gelatinous mass of sewage, lacked the slightest trace of insight, such lack of wits being the first symptom that the streets perceived during their hunt for their next prey. He was, in summary, dependent. And it seemed to me that what he needed and what I and my people were willing to offer were small puzzle pieces that fit well with one another, so I gripped the old man’s crumbling hand and led the way towards Turd’s sewer. There I would parley with my comrade, and he and I would resolve what it had to be done with that miserable creature.

The Company – 5

I was patrolling my park, assessing the contents within my favourite trashcans, shrouded with the expectation that in one of them I would find my lunch. In more cases than not, something would end up appearing. And today was a happy day. In this occasion my booty consisted of the remains of a half-eaten, homemade pastrami sandwich in a crisp baguette. Wrapped in aluminum foil, spotless for a change. A finding to smile and revel in.

I sat down with dignity on a bench, next to an old man that was dozing in a very rustic fashion, with his legs wide open, his hair a mess resembling a dead and flattened rat, his head tipped to one side and a whitish dribble sliding from his mouth.

The bench was at the summit of a path that descended in both directions to a lower extension of lawn scattered with parterres and lined in the distance  by a barrier of various species of trees. Very calming, overarching views. I took a tremendous bite of the sandwich. Delicious, moist, and satisfying. The pastrami melted in my mouth like cream cheese, fusing and dancing with the stretchy bread.

I looked at the old man again. Unshaven, ragged clothes. The atmosphere around him was as pungent as mine. And, similarly to me, he exuded the bitter smell of a old man. A vagabond without a doubt, but judging by his foolishness he was a novice, and most likely he hadn’t been in the streets for more than a week. No experimented vagabond would have exposed himself so blatantly and in such wretched state during the central hours of the day, showcasing his condition in such an obvious way while disregarding any sense of alertness, certainly the best combination of behaviors if the sought outcome was for a brainless member of the police that happened to be strolling around the park to packet him and send him like a sausage to the closest penitentiary.

I decided to finish my sandwich as quickly as possible, before my amiability  demanded that I should wake up that old man, in all probability starving if he was half as inept as I thought he was, and offer him a portion of my delicacy. The thing is that sometimes one needs to be selfish, because selfishness is a good ally of the forlorn, especially those with recently acquired pastrami sandwiches.

So it is that only after having taking care of the last crumbs that had collected on my lap, did I wake up the old man applying to his side a well directed jab with my elbow. CrazyEye was disposed to educate him, to offer him the best vagabond pieces of advice that there are. Given that he was starting at such an advanced age, the old man required an immediate and accelerated education in all the basic precepts. No matter how much of a lout he seemed to be, lounging on the bench like a slug with the stupid face of one that is waiting for death, for better or worse he now belonged to the guild. CrazyEye couldn’t abandon the old fart, do nothing and thus allow that strangers would jail him and transform him in dog food.

Maybe I could, on second thought. Maybe all the assaults that could happen to him and his death were indifferent to me, but it boiled down to not wasting the pleasure of snatching his body right from the hungry mouths of the policing officials. Maybe something else. Maybe it was even simpler than that, and I just wanted some entertainment as a dessert following a memorable salami sandwich.

The Company – 4

I’ve already mentioned the reach of my territory: between my park and the sewers that spill on the river. The park is my main dominion. Most of my awaken hours I’ll spend traversing the sandy paths, assessing the contents of the trashcans, sitting down on a bench or behind a statue. I must point out that even though my park belongs to me in its entirety, I’ve never been opposed to sharing it with other homeless people, and I’ll benevolently allow nocturnal lovers to seek their pleasures on my lawn.

I’m also the owner of all the trashcans that can be found between my park and Turd’s sewer. From that point on, his area starts. His is not a bad area at all, in my opinion, but Turd has never known how to exploit his estate in any efficient manner. He wields the excuse that he is above any notions about properties and hunting grounds, he says to have enough with his sewer, and he’ll even accuse me of being a bourgeois, although I have my doubts he really appreciates the meaning of that word, poor insect.

It’s true that he obtains from his sewer all his clothing, and also, I fear, most of his nutrients. Nonetheless, I think it’s a waste, a real pity, all those trashcans going unattended. A true pity. Similarly astonishing is how, given what he eats, he’s still alive.

The Company – 3

I presume (since I know that Turd’s parents were not sorcerers, nor astrologists, nor any of those shams), that chance was a main protagonist in their vile naming, and that it was a fortuity that their parents named him Turd, and not Tubercle, Abortion, Stupid, Impotent, or Nightmare; precisely Turd among such an infinity of imaginable ignominies, precisely Turd, a name that much later would become so accurate. How could they have known that when they atheistically baptized him with that absurd name, when he was no more than a piece of meat of four kilograms without any expectations, how could they have known that their son would ironically turn out to live many years later in the sewers, being the most outstanding King that ever governed among such a rabble of veridical and diverse turds?

It is indeed time to recite that my comrade Turd has his place of residence in one of the huge sewers that pour their contents over the dry banks of the wide riverbed that somewhere in its center carries the weak and sad river that traverses our city. In the antechamber of one of these sewers, twenty meters from its end, Turd enjoys a sanctuary that nobody is willing to steal from him, a dragon lair where he can hide all of his silly belongings, all those stupid treasures that over the years he has fished out from his river of moving waste. Twenty meters that allow Turd to be touched by the sun rays only indirectly, while remaining hidden from the sky and the world; Turd’s desire is not to be too outside nor too inside, and in this way not to live entirely like a man, but neither like a black rat from the profundities. The stuffiness of his putrid kingdom (my opinion about its stench is one that Turd, obstinate and opposed to agreements, will never share with me) he thinks he avoids by sleeping on a platform that he constructed with five wooden doors and some steel chains, a platform that hangs, always swinging, over the shining current of his river.

Retracing our steps: how did Turd’s parents know to baptize their son so appropriately? How did they know (they never knew) that their son would end up living among excrements, almost converted in one of them? In other words, how to respond (aside from the proper skepticism) against the follies of chance, against the incredible results of luck and misfortune? This is our second principal question.

The Company – 2

Everything, one way or another, is interconnected in weird chains. I mean that any snowflake will always, eventually, end up arriving to the desert, no matter in which entangled way it might occur. The following can serve as an example: CrazyEye is the name that my comrade Turd forged for me, and Turd is the name that he got from his parents; and, given that ultimately all the naming marvels that Turd manufactured (an activity of his about which I’ll come back to when I decide it’s appropriate) go back to that naming scorn that his parents made him suffer, one must admit that CrazyEye, to his own grief, is influenced by that distant scene in which those two strangers gave a ridiculous name to my comrade, way before he became such. Consequently, there is a minute portion of myself that can only be understood through the vile behavior of those evil parents I’ll never meet. It’s precisely (we already need to address the subject that interests us here) from that cruelty that makes someone give an insulting name to their own child that arises the first two principal questions that we, those from The Company, have built over the foundations of the doubt. The first question is: “Why did Turd’s parents conducted themselves in that despicable manner, why that disdainful name, Turd, for a child that they gave birth to?” Or, in other words, “why so much hatred where there should only be tenderness?” I repeat, this is our first principal question.

The Company – 1

I am CrazyEye. I know that people laugh when they hear my name. But I don’t care, because there is always someone that laughs at any name, at any detail.

CrazyEye spends the nights in an alley where the wind never comes to disturb him, although there are other malaises, like the stabbing memories impossible to eradicate, treacherous and returning with the persistence of stirred-up and poisonous waves; not to talk about the scorn that so many strangers hurl at me and that sometimes I cannot put up with and affect me more than I would like. But I have my dry cardboards that shield me during the cold nights (they exist), and I have two umbrellas that protect me from the rain. No dog, no cat, no person has ever come to pee in my alley, so I sleep sheltered by pleasant smells, although there is not too far away a factory that doesn’t stink but that I think is trying to contaminate me. It is, anyway, a good place, given my current, already long-standing, situation as an abandoned creature, a corner where I can feel safe, alone, and where I could make music with empty glass bottles and conserve tins, if I would feel inclined to do so. Even the location of my alley is advantageous to me, because it’s halfway between my park and the cliff of the sewer pipes; that is, right in the center of my hunting grounds, so I’m a fat spider, greedy in the center of its spiderweb, a bug well positioned to quickly snap the first treasure that might appear.