Pedro Ávila

Jesus, what a weird night. Things have been hazy in the past couple of days, the return home dropping itself fully on top of me like a large bag of oranges or some other citrus. At first I thought it was jet lag that was keeping me awake through all hours of the night, forcing me to go to bed at 2 or 3 and waking up alert as all hell at 5, knowing that what you need is a 5k run.

Yeah, that’ll do it. What kind of bipolar maniac would think that’s ok? And then be so schizophrenic to wonder why you’re tired as hell come 10 in the morning and again at dusk. 3 days later the pattern continues.

Then someone sent me an article about a drug they’re trying on these monkeys, something that doesn’t just postpone sleep, it replaces it entirely. Fuck, I thought. That’s an elegant solution to my jet lag problem. I could USE some of that.

Then I thought about how the last thing this world needs is another sleep deprived, over-evolved chimp – least of all one who writes in that state. No, we don’t need that.

Now, late into the night, the bottle of Jameson almost gone and the two blunts my flatmate left me still sitting on the table for a lack of a lighter or anything resembling heat in this ancient building, I’m forced into all kinds of complicated things like answering emails about the apartment I’m trying to rent. What hope did I think I had? Craigslist wasn’t made for ads like this:

Death of an Era: 2 rooms available to share postcard apartment with occasionally drunk migrant

That doesn’t work, Pete. You’re only going to attract more degenerates with that kind of talk. Leave it off the papers, man. Get a grip. Sit down. Think. Maintain.

Or maybe just get some sleep.

But how? Later, one of the Katies, due to leave in less than a week’s time says there’s a film I must watch. It’s an oldie, and it’s scary, she says.

Ok. Maybe I’ll get some sleep. Good. Put it on.

“Don’t Look Now”, with Donald Sutherland and Julie something is, for the record of fact, a horribly confounding, twisted and in all other ways terrible movie. Its strangely placed camera angles and scene transitions do enough to trip you out throughout the whole movie, and at one point you start to think that none of it is an accident and that some brilliant art students must be behind all this razzle and dazzle that you haven’t quite understood yet. “I’m sure it’ll all tie together before the end,” you tell yourself.


Imagine that after all the confusion of the 6th Sense it turns out that instead of being a ghost himself, Bruce Willis is actually a Trafalmadorian spy sent to gather toy soldiers from autistic boys. What if THAT were the twist? Would you be pissed off that all the imagery and symbolism had gone to waste. Would you be confounded at WHY any art student would do a thing like that? Would you wonder what sociopath funded a movie of that sort?

Well, now you know how I feel. Sort of.

Because I sat patiently and confused through seemingly pointless scenes that halfway assured me they would make sense later, some creepy shots of blind old ladies and a half hour of a far-too-intimate sex scene showing Donald Sutherland’s hairy white ass. That is NOT a part of well-balanced breakfast.

And for what? The red-coated midget has NOTHING to do with his dead daughter? The murdering old lady dwarf dressed like a European little-red-riding hood and packing a meat cleaver has absolutely NOTHING to do with ANY imagery of the film? Her only purpose is to suddenly turn a drama flick into a horror movie with a single hack of his jugular? What?

Naturally, you’d have to watch the flick to know what I’m talking about in its entirety, but trust me: not worth the time. If you want to waste your time without being pissed off, just watch Transformers with the sound turned off. At least that way you won’t have to put up with Shia LaBeouf’s unwarranted antics and you can enjoy Megan Fox without the winging.

I am understandably upset. I imagine the scene in the meeting room where the art students that made this contortion of images at the moment when things go astray.

Lead art student: Ok people, they’ve cut our due date by a few days, so we’re going to have to wrap it up. No more scene additions.

Gabe: But I had this great idea for this symbol around the red candle that would…

LAS: Sorry, Gabe, we don’t have time for it.

Gabe: Fuck.

LAS: Ok, now we need to finish that scene in the dark and fog smitten building, right? Ok. So the midget in the red coat is standing, facing the corner, Donald approaches her, thinking it’s his daughter, the suspense is building, the music is climbing, she sniffles, he says “it’s ok, baby, I’m here,” he reaches out to touch her aaaaannnnnnndd…


LAS: Mitch!

Mitch: yeah?

LAS: Wasn’t that your scene?

Mitch: Wasn’t MY scene!

LAS: Loni?

Loni: Don’t look at me, man… I did the weird scaffolding scene.

LAS: Joe?

Joe: Nope.

LAS: Really guys? Really? NObody knows what’s under that red coat? The entire movie has to be based on this. NObody?

well, do we at least have any ideas?

Joe: how about an old lady?

LAS: What old lady?

Joe: no, no, the red coat. There can be an old lady under there.

LAS: you mean like the spirit of the daughter aged a century in the afterlife?

Joe: I don’t know. Sure.

Mitch: Won’t work. We’ve been showing a child running through the streets of Venice.

Loni: It could be a midget old lady.

LAS: will you guys listen to yourselves? A midget old lady? Does she look like the blind woman? Or her sister, maybe?

Joe: No, no. Just some scary-looking, creepy old lady with dwarf face.

_Mitch: Are you stoned? What the hell is dwarf face?


Joe: Are you drunk?

Mitch: Shut up.

LAS: Look, I’m not following this but let’s say ok, what then?

Loni: Meat cleaver.

LAS: What?

Loni: Meat cleaver. She turns around, looks at him randomly and while he’s trying to figure out who she is, she hacks his jugular with a meat cleaver.

LAS: Guys, c’mon! We’re artists. We’re better than this. Don’t we have any better ideas?

Joe: Well, Donald Sutherland could undress himself and…

LAS: Meat cleaver it is! Done.

Or something like that. Shit christ. What a terrible experience. Like that time Aaron told me the “Mr. Green” joke.


Pedro Ávila Pedro Ávila

For a reasonably sane & productive member of society (arguable, but let’s not complicate things), I’m far too mobile and unrooted. I travel quite a bit for a job that is simultaneously my greatest privilege and my worst burden.

So I write. And I write. Travel pieces, political journalism (a stretch from ranting but, still), short stories, poetry and other such riff-raff. I contribute to a handful of publications and will probably just keep going until something gives out, or someone gives in.


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