By Nicolás Vergara
It was a rainy and dark day, a type of day where dogs and cats were making it impossible to even see a metre in front of you.
It was a dangerous day for driving —it was raining cats and dogs. The chance of crashing into one or more cats and/or dogs and also the chance of stopping the eternal fight between cats and dogs over the sky for —everybody knows— sending us rain and agriculture, was real. At that moment, there was also a man in his early 30s, thinking as If he were 44 years old and suffering as if he were 11 years old. He was trying to follow Joseph Brodsky´s advice —we should fight against boredom because this fight is preparation for the real fight (or something like that)— but he gave up and made a call, looking for someone who would lend an ear.
On the other side of the phone, a friend said: Come here, we are watching the Jungle Book. Our character called a cab and travelled through the city. During that time, the cats and dogs were developing a civilization, writing epic poems, building epic buildings, killing each other in the name of God or democracy. When our character arrived at his friend’s place, the first words that he heard were: “Shut Up!” These words were sang by a chorus of kids between 10 and 15 years of age. He stared at his bottle of wine and compared its colour and content with the colourful candies and popcorn on the coffee table. He camouflaged the bottle behind the sofa and sat down.
The Jungle Book is a beautiful movie that talks about Rousseau’s idea of freedom, which is basically humans escaping from being determined by nature. For that reason, we develop culture. That is Mowgli's lesson and the reason that he must abandon his life in the jungle.
For a second, our character thought about what would be the right way to communicate this idea to the kids, without looking like an idiot. Fortunately, his sadness didn’t devastate completely his common sense, and he just ate more popcorn silently.
While the movie was playing, one of the kids was playing with a Rubik’s cube. At the end of the movie, the kid explained to our hero that there were basic rules to completing the cube. One of them is following the square in its center as the main clue. Our character thought: what would happen if we took out that center cube? Could the Rubik Universe be destroyed? A Rubik’s cube, in some way, is similar to Borges’s Pascal's Sphere, he thought, then took a long sip of Fanta.
Sometimes the will of thinking could be helped by the suppression of one element: if we were capable of making, for a while, the center of the Rubik’s cube disappear, its mechanism would be evident for us, our character thought, while his friend was doing an out-of-time visit to the washroom.
The two friends spoke about politics, people that had passed away and how weird is time when you measure it with the changes that kids go through. Hours later, the friend drove our character back to his place. Upon arrival, he opened the door and lit a cigarette.
He petted the cats and dogs and went to sleep.
Poet Nicolás Vergara (Santiago de Chile, 1981), lives and works in Toronto.