Warren Dekko (fiction)

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E.T and the moon and me

I have a mild hangover. It’s blazing hot and the air is pink and thick with humidity and pollution. Cigarettes are stubbed out on the terrace banister and some random comatose model chick is lying on my sofa holding a bottle leaking red wine onto the carpet. I must have been out for a good twelve hours. A gust of wind pushes the curtains out onto the terrace which triggers memories of last September, of hot tropical breezes coming off the Ligurian shore and the salty winds sailing across our faces and ruffling her jet-black hair as we stretch out in lounge chairs above hot sands. The wind. We had left for the weekend, rented a beach house in the hills of Santa Margerita, locked in the warm embrace of the Marin, a feverish, virile wind that usually would announce the advent of an intense thunderstorm. I would stand outside overlooking the ocean and I can still feel the warmth blowing in my face. I feel it right now, standing naked out on my porch, imagining the city as an immense arid wasteland scintillating in the heat. And I picture E.T. and myself and the moon, biking over the Parco Sempione in the direction of the Castello and from up here the city appears distorted. The fashion billboard of four models whose pants have fallen down around their ankles on the intersection of Orso and Mercato has disappeared.

I bike over Via Montenapoleone and the Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga boutiques are no longer there. No advertising, no sensations or commoditized experiences, just blank space. And as I maneuver the bike downwards towards where Piazza del Duomo should be, I find myself entwined by delicate, pink clouds, which keep getting thicker and pinker, blocking my view and numbing my lungs. When I hit the ground my bones shatter on impact. I realize that the Duomo has dissolved into bluish red intoxicating gas and it’s inducing me into disembodied euphoria. The square is completely empty. All that remains is a milky substance the shape of which only vaguely hints at the immense cathedral and the Vittorio Emanuele II statue that once stood here. In the diamond sky, instead of flocks of grey city pigeons,  I see a vision of one dazzlingly white dove, which slowly guides me towards a life-size replica of the monumental Galleria. Everything is there, inside the Galleria, all the fashion people and all the shops, the aristocracy and the lowlifes, and Gia is there as well disguised as a pythia, suspended in the air on a pink cloud delivering oracles to a roaring crowd, “This is the summer of love, a mad mash up of twenties jazz age gusto and sci-fi casual is the look you are going for.” Her phrases are met with loud, undivided applause. “This is no season for shrinking violets. Chartreuse, tomato red and electric blue are showing up at all the expected places.”

And all of this sounds meaningless, but the millions of onlookers seem to be swallowing her words like water. I consider and in doing so unconsciously adhere to the doctrine that it is not so much the content as it is the charisma and credibility to persuade. And as I look up I witness the aggregate mass terror of mankind being swept away in a single monumental flutter of Gia’s cape. This is it, what we’ve all been waiting for, this is the prophecy. The fumes keep rising and they are clearly making Gia drowsy. In the midst of a final statement on the cartoonish undercurrent of Miu Miu’s latest collection she collapses, falling to her death from the heights of the glass dome.

The rustling wind intensifies and as a thunderstorm obliterates the horizon it suddenly hits me that I will never see her again.

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by Warren Dekko

*This is an excerpt from Apartment in Milano a novel to be published by EUROHAUS books in September 2011.

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