Saturday, December 14, 2013

Vulture


This vulture is waiting for a tourist to die. The death will most likely occur due to natural causes, such as sunstroke, dehydration, food poisoning, hepatitis A, or a reckless bus driver fueled by too much pisco sour. The vulture will have no hand in it. She doesn't care what sort of structural damage is caused by impact with the bus; she doesn't care about the condition of the human carrion's exposed liver when she prods it with her beak. All the tourists look delicious, Australians and Brits and Germans walking in orderly lines to their potential deaths, but the rotund American man in the polo shirt would be ideal. His dark pink flesh could feed her bald children for weeks. The one with the tiny backpack. Yes.

***

There are buses here called "killers." They are red and yellow and green. No one knows when they come and go or what route they will take to get there. There is no formal schedule. The districts in which they stop are listed on the side of the bus in no particular order. This is the only information prospective passengers have to go on. For the leisurely passenger with no attachment to plans or even the prospect of arrival, it is the most cost-effective form of transportation available in the capital and the only form of public transportation at all. One or two soles for a hazardous rollick through the streets of Lima. The buses speed, turn sharply around corners, and infamously careen into neatly parked vehicles. On the bus, women sit wedged between strange grinning men and hug their purses. As the bus jerks onto a side street, questionable characters feel up unsuspecting human ornaments hanging from the overhead bar and probe their jean pockets for change. Just stay at home.

***

A stranded American man hunches under the insurmountable burden of his backpack in the park outside of the Plaza de Armas. Sweat soaks the armpits of his polo shirt and leaves two moist spots over his nipples. The sun colors his face a blooming shade of lobster and he desperately looks around for a street vendor purveying chilled sodas. Crippling nausea seized him just fifteen minutes after he left the restaurant and he couldn't be sure whether it was the desert sun beaming on his face or food poisoning from the disappointing lunch he ordered, which unexpectedly turned out to be octopus. When he saw the word pulpo, he supposed he was ordering something fruity. With terror he wonders if his hepatitis A vaccine was actually making him sick. If he could go back to the hotel and get an antacid and a cold drink, he would feel a hundred times better. He sees a bus coming towards him and "Miraflores" is written in bold letters on its side. He steps into the road, but the bus only seems to be flying faster.

3 comments:

  1. Scary end to the story! Someone please help this gentleman or the vulture will eat him!
    There's so much great imagery in here! The part with the vulture was my favorite!
    ~Sara

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  2. Thanks, Sara! It's kind of scary seeing vultures chilling under park benches in touristy areas.

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