piss your brain right out

Cacti shriveled that time of year.  You couldn’t tell if it was glass or sand you were walking on.  Sandals and boots smoldered and gasped under the steps of the village men, marching stern-faced in lines.

“Where are they going?” Pedro asked his grandfather.
“They are going to the edge of the world.”  Abuelo answered.
Not less than three years ago his father would have fielded these same questions, but he died of thirst.  It wasn’t long after alcohol arrived in the village that men became worthless and children sprang from nameless virgin wells.  So many diapers unchanged.  So many shots fired vaguely at hostile hallucinations.
The scorching, pollen-yellow sun dried his grandfather’s mouth to where he could no longer pronounce words correctly.  His swollen, dry tongue stumbled over itself.  He told his grandson to take note of the mistakes he made.
At the age of eleven, he remembered, they traveled from the desert to the coast, on a bus that took the perseverance of a saint to ride.  Stray dogs fumed and drooled on every part of you no stranger would dare touch.  Dust flew into the windows faster than it escaped; infants wailed.  He sat on his grandfather’s knee and stared at his creviced face, admiring the earthy brown tone of his leathery skin.  As they passed the town square he observed from the dusty window a squadron of soldiers dehydrating in the sun on the patio of the beer garden.  Looking at them you wouldn’t have thought they were heros.  From the bus, in this glaring hot sun, they looked like melting wax effigies, each demarcating the loss of the prior.
And through it all the child couldn’t help but hurt.  Can’t heros come home?  Have we asked too much of these poor uneducated sons of liberty?  He looked to the stern, caramel face of his grandfather and hardly had to ask-
“My grandson… chemically speaking, you drink too much, and think too hard… you’ll piss your brain right out.”

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December 2010
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