Pacheco felt a spontaneous shooting against the sand. I had never known the soft sands of the East or the Caribbean. He loved Mar del Plata and his center of operations was Bristol in the summer. But he hadn’t been able to reconcile himself to the composition of the soil.
The sea, the wind, the tents, the sounds, the vendors, were delightful to him.; except the sand, which annoyed him to the point of being angry with himself. Why am I here?, he wondered.
However, still disagree, he was the conspicuous user of tent 47. Right there he had celebrated his homonymous birthday, 15 years ago. The sand chafed at his feet, he gnashed his teeth, it haunted him in the twilight. But it was like the difficult temper of an essential lover: he couldn’t leave the Bristol for that.
“No one goes to Bristol because it’s full of people”, fired those who complained about the crowds. At 62, he never spent a summer outside those borders. He had seen the world and its toils go by: the planes drawing cream-colored signs in the sky, the cardboard cups overflowing with iced drinks.
He has witnessed the transformation of the waffle cart into corn, the Octopus rubber balls into sunglasses, the Cubanitos into I complain grilled. “I Saw Honor”parodied Brando in Apocalypse now: going through puberty on an Argentinian beach in the 70s. The best of the 20th century. The cone, the wild churros, a civilization without a chinstrap or health superstitions.
The planet never got better: but its memories were sweeter, as in Serrat’s song. However, he suffered from a contemporary and puzzling problem.
Pacheco was the hidden author of the comic script May 5th, and enjoyed a secret popularity. The cartoon, perhaps one of the first family parodies in Spanish, had been a covert success in Mar del Plata and on the Buenos Aires coast, with something of the broad regionality of Hydrangea, piturro or cross-eyed mary.
But less widespread over time and, paradoxically, even if not as mischievous as those mentioned, because his focus of humor was family, it was read with some caution. Piturro’s kiss of Titina was less irritating than the mocking of Juan DiMaggio’s supposed paternal authority. We should wait for the arrival of The Simpsons overcome this heresy. Neither The Bells they dared so much.
pacheco walked along the corridor of tent 47 like a discreet celebrity. The trick players invited him as a joker to their tournaments, the sixty-year-old widows of tent 53 gave him homemade cakes, he played head to head with the couple’s teenage children in tent 38.
Strangely, someone unaware congratulated him on this or that chapter of DiMaggio; certainly a neophyte who was unaware of his strict adherence to anonymity. He had never signed a copy: neither printed nor autographed. He also didn’t like being called “Pachequito”: he didn’t like diminutives in general, that one in particular reminded him of a macabre bad taste joke from the magazine satirical.
Saving these isolated explosions, his presence at the baths was peacefully celebrated. Until one day, like the imperceptible rolling of a stone that unleashes an avalanche, the head of the family in tent 38 returns his greeting. Pacheco considered it a distraction. But a few minutes later, the sixty-year-old widows of Tent 53 watched him go by without offering him one of the beach-fresh scones encrusted with pecans and blueberries.
He fully realized the change in the social climate only when, in the absence of one of the participants in the rooster joke, he was not asked to take a seat on the plastic wicker chair. “I died without knowing it,” Pacheco told himself. But the sieve of sand in his body contradicted it. Only a living being could feel that discomfort. Obviously they were ignoring him, keeping him in suspense. what happened?
That evening he went on a romantic date with a contemporary lady and tried to forget the strange day and evening atmosphere on the beach. The next morning, the corridor turned to him again. Pacheco resigned himself to the imponderability of existence, resorting to the ever-wise proverb of Somerset Maugham: “Regular is the hardest to find”.
He devoted his attention to one of his own companies that occupied the coast: the egg man. Half a dozen vendors dressed as eggs, strictly in white, traded all the derivatives of that noble food: hard, poached, soft-boiled, omelettes, fried. Only the potato tortilla, one of the greatest successes, surpassed the hegemonic raw material. The novelty worked.
From time to time he renewed his gastronomic or recreational creations. His position as a modest businessman came from the timely savings of the royalties of May 5th. He lived comfortably, if the metaphor suited this seaside citywhere the literal relief of the bathers, by the heroic lifeguards, was crowned with massive applause.
But on the fourth day of indifference in the corridor, he decided totally against his usual disbelief in the logic of human relationships: to try to discover the reason for that silent earthquake. The initial drawback to the investigation was precisely the deliberate isolation of tent neighbors.
Providentially, that summer, Elías Borgovo, detective by profession and writer by profession, spent his false free time in a residence run by a producer, rereading the complete works of Bioy Casares and taking notes on the suicide of Alfonsina Storni, for a melodramatic miniseries.
False laziness, because when Pacheco approached him – they both knew each other from the golden age of the DiMaggios and from Argentine comics in general -, Borgovo immediately gave his time to look for a comeback to that crazy equation.
Borgovo has rented tent 67, mysteriously empty. Silent and solitary by nature, he was able to promote dialogue when he was justified.
A few days later, during a fictitiously casual walk along the avenue, Borgovo was able to reveal the hypothesis to Pacheco.
“A double,” said Borgovo.
Pacheco looked at him like Condorito: he demanded an explanation.
“There is someone identical to you, Pacheco,” Borgovo explained. He behaves unexpectedly. He lost a ball overboard to the teenagers in Tent 38. He cheated in the trick. It even seems that he annoyed one of the sixty-year-olds in tent 53.
“But how do they think it’s me?” Pacheco exclaimed puzzled. I’ve been down that aisle for decades. Never an accident.
-I should explain to the author of May 5th the inconsistencies of human behavior?
Pacheco felt he was answering to himself.
– What do we do? she finally asked.
“There is a detective who looks alike”, recalled Borgovo, “Ezequiel Najón”. But he’s on vacation. Don’t get the Caribbean one. I can only think of summoning Plones.
– The weather expert? Pacheco asked.
– It won’t be yours competencebut he is a good companion. We will need it.
(This story will continue next week.)
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.