Maverick

Some scenes from Maverick:

Sweating alcohol under the incandescent iris of dusty Christmas lights, in the corner of one bar or another, I romanticized the profoundness of this trip to the max, flaunting the opportunity to not just do something drastic, but something important, something to remember, that travel offers us these vestiges of freedom. Words were flying in all directions, but finally, via the tangled expressways of hyperbole spewed at autobahn-inspired speeds, I drove my point home.

“Think about it, this time tomorrow, we could be getting drunk-” whispering this last part with reverence for added effect,

in Montreal.”

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We’re here, we’re queer, let’s drink. Sarah and I spent the night pacing from the ATM to the bar and back, draining our expenses on top-shelf liquor we’re used to being too broke for in New York. We were impressed by the dandy, balding bartender that properly measured the contents of our booze with archaic little instruments, like an apothecarist prescribing our materia medica. What’s he doing in a dive like this? we wondered.

*

After a few quick phone calls we boarded the Metro to meet the dealer, and, broke, walk home on foot for hours. What do you say to your hosts’ roommate you just met and bought drugs with?

Anything. Everything.

Alejandro’s from Aguascalientes, Mexico, tall with shadowy hair and small glasses. After two years of working undocumented as a restaurant’s cleaning guy, he’s proposing his case to stay in Canada next week. All I could say was, Buena Suerte. We shared a joint in the house’s naked backyard, overgrown with scandent vines that yield wild red grapes in the summer, but it’s not even spring, and mad cold. A laundry line spangled with women’s cotton underwear hung directly over our heads like good luck. Alejandro told me about locking up his bike outside the Jean-Talon Metro stop three days ago and losing the key. Our laughter woke up the neighborhood dogs.

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Got lost in the Mile End, a historically working-class Hasidic Jewish town that’s long been gentrified by hipsters, punks, queers and students. Like a little Brooklyn but with hardly any black people. Montreal is really white.

My next host Sarala lives around there but wasn’t home yet, so I wandered around and realized all the cafes had full bars. Sold. The downside is you have to buy food as well, and cheapest at Le Republique is the caesar salad, like the loser of salads. A huge plate covered in a confetti of iceberg lettuce that’s smothered in mystery dressing and topped with an afterthought of bacon pieces, like an apology. Instead of flowers, say it with bacon! But I did it all for the sangria.

Glass after glass, I kind of fall in love with the place.

13 thoughts on “Maverick”

  1. In Costa Rica, in response to every thank-you (and in response to almost every request), they say “con mucho gusto!” With much enthusiasm. It’s a great way to welcome life.

  2. Bani, you are an accomplished writer… So poetic without being over-wordy. People don’t often hit that balance. I’m off to read some more! And I’m glad you liked some of my work too since it lead me to yours 🙂

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decolonizing travel culture