The rain had chased Professor Plones from Buenos Aires to Santiago de Chile, at the airport, in flight and on landing. In Buenos Aires, a heavy but brief downpour.
In Santiago, a thunderstorm called into question the landing, which dwindled to dry conditions before the next flight took off. But in Bogota it had been raining for a month and a half, uninterrupted. The same density, for 45 days.
“The sky water will run out,” commented one arepa cook. Strictly speaking, it looked like a Bradbury story or an idea from García Márquez, whose face illustrated large denomination banknotes.
Why was he invited? Plones wondered. A confusion of state agencies? Perhaps his informal title of “weather expert” had created that misunderstanding, making the person responsible for his visit believe that he had a knack for meteorological matters.
In fact, the newspapers reported that, together with Plones, a precipitation specialist had indeed arrived, who was supposed to put an end to the precipitation discharges.
No one knew why it rained non-stopnor what was the remedy. But like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or Salk, or Sabin, if mankind were to stand, necessarily a redeemer, by science or art, common sense or chance, rose to put on cold cloths, until the next catastrophe .
The people of Bogotá had gotten used to moving between the shower and the ground, like Plones himself in general, who never used an umbrella. He bought a raincoat in a clothing store in the former Soviet Union. He embodied Marshal Zhukov, but without a battle ahead.
He had no idea how to deal with the endless rain. Probably not even the academic, because two days had passed since his arrival and it was still raining.
Plones had been put up in a hotel in the flirty section of town near Highway 11 and the Andino Mall. He hoped that at some point someone would explain why he was there. Fortunately, up until that point, breakfast and dinner were covered.
His interest in pre-Columbian history (cf The secret hour. clarion. 12/11/2020) pushed him towards the Gold Museum.
In the taxi transfer, endless as the rain, in a traffic that was a syncretism of the pedestrian of ancestral cultures with the chaos of modernity, the radio reported another misunderstanding: the rain specialist, Reyes Aparicio, was not an academic, as he had was initially believed, but a kind of shaman, descended from the Awa.
And instead of measuring pressure and hectopascals and atmospheric conditions, silence was called with men to deliberate with the gods. One part of the inhabitants of the city prayed for his triumph, the other for the disqualified.
In the Museum, the legends of those same divinities, their only inheritance, barely guessed the past: they did not affect the present. They were stories, fables, morals. But no effective steps to stop that storm in installments.
During the return journey, which was a little less overwhelming (despite the similar aquarium inside the car), the radio revealed that Reyes Aparicio had decided to climb Monte Monserrate and face the firmament with a golden lightning rod.
Plones, who had just glimpsed his photo in the newspapers, imagined him charred by lightning, and the drops that fell on his lifeless body. He tried to elude that premonition, but it kept coming back. Plones didn’t believe in premonitions.
He paid the taxi driver with one of García Márquez’s accounts and received the change in various unknown faces and species. The papers were damp, stained. They had to be handled with care.
The members of a group, men and women, also stopped at the hotel, identified by a blue and green label that read: “Ask me for the solution”. They weren’t referring to the rain.
They were attending some kind of anti-obesity or anti-smoking, or financial congress, and it coincided with that climate mess. “No man knows the solution, to anything”Plones mused. “But if for some reason, in the infinite variety of the universe, there was an individual deserving of a solution, he would not display it clipped to his collar, on a blue and green tag.”
But who could know? The solutions were as random and unexpected as the problems. On the other hand, an endless rain wasn’t the worst of the plagues that had hit the population of a city: it was water, after all; not even the flood. Though it was true that after twenty days some of his clothes, not Zhukov’s raincoat, had deteriorated. Mood down too.
Probably, if that rain continued for generations, amphibians would finally appear. Only those capable of living with rain would persist. There were romantically inclined people when it rained. Perhaps those would grow and multiply.
Plones had been condemned by the High Powers at never again live a love story. The Bogotá rain, not just any rain, was an accurate representation of her loneliness. That incessant rain was the graphic, material and sensory expression of his solitude. How to see a microbe under a microscope.
He was lonelier than the rain, the city it rained on, each of the people who couldn’t stand that pouring rain.
Plones didn’t understand if it was lightning, a malfunction of some device or an attack by one of the narco-terrorist groups still senselessly ravaging Colombia: the hotel went up in flames. Miraculously, each of the passengers was able to leave the venue unharmed.
But Plones has lost everything. The luggage, the documents, his credit cards, the little money he had with him. She almost amused him to see the hotel burn in the rain. The rain wasn’t even good enough to put out the fire! Just to annoy.
While consulting in a new hotel, for which he did not know how he would pay, sitting in the reception hall, he caught a glimpse on TV: a month after his arrival, Reyes Aparicio was returning to Venezuela without revealing himself as a miracle worker or scientist . It was still raining.
As if the country’s disappointment with El Salvador gave Plones a new opportunity, the concierge told him that his two-week stay had been paid for. Obviously, the inexperienced official who had summoned him didn’t know why, he guaranteed him subsistence, indoors, middle name and passport number.
With no luggage, no papers and not entirely sure it was himself, he tried to open the wrong piece. They had given him 102 and he inserted the key into 112. Speechless, two women opened the door for him. They didn’t dissuade him from his mistake. They let it through. On the carpet, Plones distinguished the gray jackets with the label “Ask me for the solution”, among the lilac and burgundy shirts, and the lingerie of the day, from each of them.
They integrated a sect that believed in the redemption of the world through lust. They had prayed to the gods that a lost subject would serve as a sacrificial offering. They entertained Plones with what they considered a sort of enforced ritual. The weather expert could hardly believe it had happened.
His loneliness hasn’t changed, but his senses have reached an epiphany he hasn’t remembered since the last time he fell in love. “Maybe There’s No Last Times”Plones told himself. When they invited him out of the room, while he was getting dressed, he noticed something strange in the light from the window: it had stopped raining.
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.