Home > write365. > Day 6: jogging my memory.

Day 6: jogging my memory.

Carter’s problem with whores started after la cena the night before we’d see the Museo del Prado. It was seven oclock after the two classes, conversation and culture, at Estudio Sampere let out, and for a while we all lingered on Lagasca making smalltalk, plans for the night. Those who smoked smoked leaning against the stone face of the school and at length we paired off with our roommates and dispersed, Will and I taking a tinto de verano tucked away in the cool of a small tapas bar. We tipped a euro apiece and left for the metro at Retiro on Línea 6 of Manuel Becerra to O’Donnell.

On Calle de los Peñascales we had a small lager and a croqueta at Tío Paco. Heidi the bartender had a telenovela on, La Tormenta. By the time we arrived at the flat it was eight and our host mother, becoming slowly crippled by a degenerative muscle disease, would already be asleep, stomach of painkillers. Will lit up outside and through the blue plume of smoke said he’d be up in a minute.

Because she slept so early, Mamá left out dinner on the narrow counter in the kitchen. I microwaved it, saffron rice and chorizo, knowing there’d be no way to finish it all. There had always been a mound of food waiting, every night, and each dish sat in our guts like stones. The microwave binged as Will carefully opened the door. He knew the proper way. It had two locks, one you had to unlock four times, and in the silence of the house in the evening I would invariably rush through it—each turn of the thing sounded like artillery fire.

We finished what we could and rewrapped the rest and dressed, casual like, button-ups and jeans the both of us, white shoes for me, sandals for him. The group was meeting near Gran Vía, the main road, to barcrawl through Centro and Chueca.

The Madrid metro did our wallets little help. We hurried downstairs into the O’Donnell station, through the long fluorescent corridors, and bought ten trips or viajes for nine euros, put the stub through the turnstile, and within twenty minutes, after transferring at Alonso Martínez, we came up on the outskirts of Chueca, one of Madrid’s liveliest neighborhoods. There some of the group waited, all the guys and three of the girls, both Claires and a Katie.

No one knew where anything was and when Pat, who had gotten us lost around Plaza de España, volunteered to Magellan us into the dead of night, we all politely declined. Carter said he’d find something, we believed him, and we were wrong to.

Two things, I feel, are generally true Madrid’s nightlife: it is warm, and you can’t not find a bar.

Half an hour into our adventure, most of us were sweating down unlit backstreets. Weaving through narrow alleys. There were no bars but there were two whores standing at an intersection, indiscriminant in their propositions.

—No, no gracias, the girls said.

—No, lo siento, the guys said.

Carter didnt say anything though and to one of the whores, marginally unattractive, probably too many years put into the work, silence was as good as a contract. She followed us through terrain familiar to her, labyrinthine to the Americans she pursued.

—No, Carter said. No te quiero o. O tu. O tu servicios.

—¿No, por qué no? she asked.

—Keep moving guys, Carter said. I’ll call one of you soon, all right?


In time I want to write about my time in Madrid. I think I had made that clear in one of my earlier entries. The problem is, though, that I’m half a year or so removed from that experience, so memories come into focus and fall away again. Those I see clearly I need to capture down, in some version of them—there will be some inaccuracy, of course (that should be a given), and in what you just read there is probably a handful of such instances. I dont truly recall who was with us this night, but it doesnt matter. To be honest, how I want to use this isnt fit for a travelogue. I dont care for that. These experiences will be filtered into fiction in some form or other, probably for one of my two long story ideas.

That said, this was a real occurrence—abbreviated here though it is. I need to sit down and put real time in polishing it. It could be much brighter than it is now.

Categories: write365.
  1. 7 January 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I actually think it’s better to write about your experience now as opposed to when it just happened. These blurry memories make for a better story, I think. I like what you have here, and I especially enjoyed the sentence, “There had always been a mound of food waiting, every night, and each dish sat in our guts like stones.” I want to see more of your Madrid tales, with some characterization and plot. It’d be pretty interesting, I think.

    • ad.
      7 January 2011 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks, man. I found the schedule we followed most of the trip and I’m trying to recall everything from it. What I’m most concerned about is accuracy — at this point I won’t be able to recreate exact conversations, you know? Characterization has slipped away in increments since then too. I’ll have to take creative liberty with it.

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