pSecret pSociety pshort pstory
by Mike Bozart
(Agent 33) |
2017 Mike Bozart
Xinguara, a remote
interior village in northern Brazil, sited where the Amazon
rainforest yields to the savanna, some 350 miles (563 km) from the
equatorial Atlantic Ocean. It’s a steamy mid-August morning in
2016. Hugo, a lanky, 19-year-old, black-haired, brown-skinned
fisherman is buying some tackle at a small general store. As he
studies the new spool of monofilament line and brass hooks on the
checkout counter, he thinks about the day ahead. I
bet I catch over ten kilograms [22 pounds] of fish today in that
shady spot. Hope no one else sets up there. Hope I can forget about
Lara. [an attractive, svelte, flirtatious, 20-year-old female with
long raven hair and light skin]
prior night at Aldeia’s Beer Rest Pizzaria Choperia, a
restaurant and bar on route BR-155 on the east side of town. Hugo and
Lara are seated at a small outdoor table. They have just finished a
pizza and are sipping on their beers.
“Lara, do you have any plans for this Saturday? It’s our
big rematch with Germany, [the Olympics men’s football/soccer
final] you know. Want to watch it together? Your favorite player,
Neymar, will be playing.”
“Oh, I’d love to, Hugo, but Eduardo has already invited
me to go with him to São Paulo. It’s some kind of
investment opportunity. We’ll be back Sunday night.”
“Oh, ok. Are you guys getting romantic?”
“No, nothing like that, silly.” I
“What will be the sleeping arrangements?”
“Separate hotel rooms. Purely platonic.” Yeah,
hugged for a few seconds, but didn’t kiss. Lara then asked Hugo
if he wanted a ride home. He declined. They politely said their
goodbyes. Lara then drove off in her 2005 red Honda Accord as
darkness settled on the now-noisy crop fields: The cicada cacophony
was at full volume.
walked the three blocks back to his family’s modest dwelling.
His mind was as heavy as the humid air. I
know that she is already screwing Eduardo. The rich boy always gets
the pretty girl. I was never going to win her. Just a ridiculous
fantasy. Waste of time.
paid the elderly female cashier. Then Hugo caught a ride with a male
friend to Rio (River) Parauapebas, 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) west of
the store on bumpy route PA-279.
jumping out of the old, dented, gold-colored Jeep, he began marching
downstream with his tackle box and fishing rod. In about four hundred
meters (1,312 feet), he entered a densely wooded area. The canopy was
lush; its shade was much appreciated by an already-sweating Hugo.
Fifty meters (164 feet) further, and he had arrived at his desired
destination: a 110-degree bend in the stream. Great!
No one is here. Hope the fish are biting. Maybe catch enough to sell
at the market. Some extra money sure would be nice. Though, it won’t
be enough for a São Paulo ‘investment opportunity’.
fishing didn’t go as well as he had hoped. Hugo had only landed
an undersized – sickly looking – arapaima and an
alligator gar, which he tossed back after cutting the line, as he
didn’t want to risk a finger trying to remove the hook.
three o’clock passed, Hugo pulled out his silver flask and took
his first slug of cachaça (a liquor made from sugarcane
juice). With an alcohol-by-volume percentage of 62.5 (125 proof), it
was considerably stronger than typical.
a steaming-hot four o’clock hour, Hugo had downed five-eighths
of the flask. He was certifiably intoxicated as he stared at the
flies that were alighting on the arapaima. I’m
not going to eat that stinking fish, nor is anyone going to buy it.
Let’s just throw it back in the water.
The vermilion-on-the-scale-edges arapaima slapped the surface of the
dark river. It wiggled a little … and then stopped. It was
soon dead, but remained floating. I
should have thrown him back much earlier. So sorry, peixe duvidoso.
[‘fishy fish’ in Portuguese]
just eighteen seconds later, the recently deceased arapaima was
feasted upon by over two dozen piranha. The attack was ferocious. The
fish’s mass was rapidly reduced to bones and fin fragments,
which then sank. Wow!
That was quick. Almost forgot about those little, sharp-toothed,
aggressive munchers. Lost an old cow to them at that Araguaia River
crossing last year. Such voracious eaters.
five o’clock the whole flask had been emptied. Hugo was now
sprawled-out wasted with his head peering over the ledge of the river
bank. His reflection rippled about two meters (6.56 feet) below. Wow!
Look at that sad face. What a loser I am. My whole family have always
been losers. We’re the ones who always wind up with a low
income. Scroungers of crumbs. Not one person in our clan has ever
become anything, or gotten anywhere in life. Ever. Uncle Miguel came
the closest, I guess. He almost got that football [soccer] contract
with Flamengo. [a top-tier Brazilian club] But then, the dumbass fell
off a ladder and ruined his back. Why was he on that roof anyway?
Looking for a better horizon? Ha! I really did hope to break our
dismal streak. Was so sure that all of this would somehow work out. I
would be the best fisherman ever from Xinguara. Boy, I sure had high
hopes for a life with Lara. But, even if she chose to be with me,
could I ever satisfy her materially? I sincerely doubt it. ‘Look
Lara, I caught ten fish today.’ I can already see her eyes
rolling. Eduardo could buy her 100 fish with a snap of his wallet.
And, what’s more, Eduardo can take her to the big city. With
me, Xinguara will be it. It’s where we would live and die. And
she knows it. With Eduardo, an exciting cosmopolitan life awaits in
São Paulo. No, it was never going to happen. Wonder if those
piranha are still hungry. If they ate me whole, there would be no
burial expenses for my folks. Yeah, let’s make this easy for
those ravenous devils.
with that grisly thought, Hugo took off all of his clothes. He then
cut his arms, fingers, legs, toes, face, neck and chest with his
pocketknife. Hugo spread the blood all over his body. And then he
rolled like a log off the bank’s edge into the eddy pool in the
river’s hard left turn. Floating face-down with his arms spread
out, Hugo’s mind darkened. Maybe
I will just drown. Not sure if I can swim now. So drunk. So done with
it all. So ready for heaven. Will I go to heaven? Or, purgatory? Dear
God, don’t condemn me to hell.
piranha assault started in a mere thirteen seconds. Hugo wanted to
scream as their teeth ripped into his flesh. But, he didn’t.
pain is divine. An exquisite fatal torture. The Passion of lowly
Hugo. Bye-bye Lara. Bye-bye dear family. Good-bye Mother Earth.
Wonder what Lara will think when she finds out. ‘Oh, how sad,
but how convenient’.
The preceding tale is based on an actual suicide that occurred in