Sunday, April 3, 2011

John Jairo Junieles / Some on the Phone

John Voight and Dustin Hoffman
Midnight Cowboy
By J. J. Junieles

Translated from Spanish by  Roger Montt

Before I started working at the newspaper, I had a job in a radio station for six months as conductor of a nocturnal program whose mission was to offer some company to the night's travelers. During the program we broadcast interviews, some music, talk about certain matters, and answer the listeners' calls who wanted to express their opinions about some subject, or tell something interesting about what they want. At the beginning, I didn't like it at all, it was a little boring and heavy, but after some time I accustomed myself.
Sometimes, used to call quite interesting people, like a writer who proposed to read twenty lines of his masterpiece, rejected by twenty editors and ignored in tons of contests. The writer assured that it was a great book, but the lack of understanding in the literary's world is amazing. At last, I allowed him read his twenty first lines that result worst that we ever imagined. That night, I did not say anything, but I made the arrangements to tell it the next night; however, before it, I received a lot of letters and zillions of calls congratulating me for that success.
The reason was the voice, and principally the writer's text had cured a lot of people of the insomnia, and they ask me fervently to I let him continue reading his novel every night. Really, it wasn't ethical at all, because my work was to keep them awake with exciting stories, but those listeners assure me that their radios were going to keep turned on; so, even dough they were not listening, the rating would remain.
That night, I told to the writer that we have a new section in the program: "twenty minutes for dream". It was a huge success. The writer received help from those that he had cured of the insomnia, and he published his novel.
Another story from that time, was one of a guy that had lost his dog and spent many weeks repeating a message for finding it. The amount of sweet and tender things that this man say to his dog praying it to come back, was incredible. One night, we listened a lot of barks from the radio station's entrance. My assistant went to take a look and, of course, he found “Bebé”, a Doberman strong as a fight bull and cheerful as a butterfly. I put the dog on the phone with his master, and I heard how they exchange affection's barks and phrases. The man came for it, he gave me thanks and went away with the biggest smile that I have ever seen in all my life. I remember that the man's wife came for accompany him, but nor him or his dog paid her any attention. The man treat the woman with scorn, he only talk to her giving orders and the dog growled when she tried to touch its face. I had pity on her, I asked myself what makes her carrying on sharing her life with that pair of animals. I never even knew her name.
Sometimes, people called to send love's messages, or gays who wanted to make friends. One night, called a murderer who wanted to send his condolences to one of his victims' relatives, and regards to whose will soon die by his hands. His favorite phrase was: "... You know already, you may put your head up so that you are not going to be bad beheaded." I tried to take him out clues with a detective by my side, but he told me that the curious radio announcers were between his favorite victims. The murder talked with a great style, and he was very learned; here and there, he mentioned Georges Bataille´s sentences, and principally Gilles de Rais'; that infamous holocaust's lord. He were also hurling, threats against the today world; and sometimes, he recited Keats or Shakespeare's poems. My assistant said that the murderer was, just a little crazy man, a simple nerd that surely had not killed anyone and he just made up those things in his fantasies. I insinuated it to the man, and he loosens an outburst of laughter. The next night, they find a priest decapitated twenty steps from the radio station.
But the most interesting story of all, was one of a woman that started to call me every night talking me about her sentimentals troubles; the biggest one, was the indifference of a man which she had been deeply fallen in love. I tried to advice her to start thinking in someone else, as “it was better not force things in love affairs”. The love is colder than death, I told her, remaining Fassbinder, but that woman was completely obsessed.
The object of her affection was a dentist's assistant, a little fat boy of low height, that according to her, has the same John Voight's dreaming eyes in “Midnight Cowboy”. She was an employee in a mall, and splurged the biggest part of her salary giving him gifts that he received without scruples; but he never accepted the girl's pretensions. She described herself as an interesting dark-skinned woman of wide hips, medium breasts and beautiful smile.
One night, after a month of calls, she did not appear, it seems very strange to me, but I knew that people were so; maybe, she had found already another “real love”, maybe, she had decided to spend the rest of her life, like me, watching classical movies on television. But, the next night, she called me and asked my opinion about if I believe that this love of her, was impossible or not. I thought it and I realized that the most convenient for that woman, was forgetting that bad guy. I think that he will never love or respect her, she may forget him and wait with faith and patience for someone who would arrive someday, always someone arrives, she can be sure about that. She told me: "I believe you, you are a sincere person. Bye." I heard the gunshot, and imagined the scene.
Next day, I resigned.

John Jairo Junieles
“Una voz al teléfono”
Con la luz que me queda basta
Bogotá, Panamericana editorial, 2007.

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