My name is Jonathan Sorrow and I’m a private detective.
“Dick”, they call me, half joking, half serious. It’s not as glamorous a profession as they made it up to be. The fedora? In a closet, with a lot of bad ideas and broken dreams. But hey, ‘we may never make it home’. The days fritter away from this office overlooking Madero, once a street bustling with busy traffic, now another piss poor walkway for these imbeciles ruining the once groovy city.
The days get more and more moody, the bank account veers towards gloom, but, hey, see if Johnny Q. Public knows about what goes behind closed doors. I thought I would be taking down major criminals and having all the babes I could while engaging shootouts, but no, stuck with infidelity suits, paternity suits and banks wanting to repo someone’s house in Lomas Verdes.
Yes. ‘We may never make it home’. Morose and heartfelt. That could work. I jolt it down in the notebook and head off to Lukin‘s.
The old speakeasies of Mexico City. Once the dens of a thousand ne’er-do-wells, they now stink of disinfectant and tourists. Blame Amores Perros for selling that “gritty” image of México. That made all those tourists looking for excitement venture into every decent cantina we had. Fuckers. Even worse are all those trust fund babies from La Condesa or La Roma, with their “vintage clothes”, thinking they are “one with the people” by coming to this place. Idiots, my clothes are vintage not by choice, but because I can’t afford anything else. My money is in the mattress, where it fucking should be, and don’t give me no lip or I’ll show you ‘the other side of the gun’. Yes, my mood might change from easy going smile into full knuckle sandwich. A voice turns into a thundering distortion. “Five years in this, waiting on a red parole”. I disregard it and walk out. The city calls.
I used to have dreams. I used to be someone. But the call of glamour was the siren’s call to my doom. A packet of sunflower seeds later, I’m walking these streets, once the best place for a detective like me, now too sanitised for their own good. Where did we go wrong? I wander along, the gun dragging my torax to each side with each step and a lonesome, overdriven guitar in the distance makes my old mind wonder. Why did we kill all the villains? When will we start ‘killing the angels’? I wonder long, for far too long and a slight drizzle becomes a rain. I slip and slide in the pavement, like a metal slide tripping back and forth over a delicious guitar tone. High tone, low tone, trembling, tremolo and everything goes dark.
The idea stinks. Getting an assistant was the last thing I wanted, but that fall so many years ago made it physically taxing to go on my usual foot patrols. Not that anything happened. I still have to do all those infidelity cases. I wish I still had a wife so I could be unfaithful to her. My assistant is a fat slob with a 5 o’clock shadow. He always wears stupid baseball jerseys and dances to some electronic noise that passes for music. He tries to make me a fan, plays something called ‘Sail straight into the bombs’ and my scowl says it all to him.
I pick up an old record, dust it out and put it. There was some ‘black sand’ on top of it, wonder how that got there? My stupid assistant does not get the atmospheric rich music with those cranked up distortions that are stylish enough to let you savour what sounds. He still wants his electroshit in my stereo. I dock his pay. That’ll teach him.
I mean, that solo… I don’t care about the ‘black sand’ all over it, the song was such a classic. Bah, this young generation. I get my old service revolver, from those days in the army and polish it. My one true shining light in life; the one thing that never walked away from me. I get a call from Nature and leave the gun for a moment. The call is a long distance one. Age. When I return, I find my revolver gone and my waste of space of an assistant knocked out cold in the ground. I can still hear the steps running away and I make haste. I will chase them to ‘hell and back’, with steady beat and a voice like a bat out of hell.
I thought about those words in the bar so many years ago. What is a “red parole”? Oh, it’s been five years now, to the day. Strange coincidences of life.
I make my way out of the office block and I find myself surrounded my a squad of goons. The one person who stole the revolver was a total babe of a dame. Figures. They always spell trouble. She walks towards two low life idiots in a pink Cadillac and hands them my revolver. They giver her a suitcase. I engage the goons, but they overpower me easily. One of the idiots in the car yells ‘disengage’ and the brutes let me go. I should be used to the agony of defeat by now, but somehow, this feels the lowest I’ve been in my life. My voice wants to croon away the pain in a slow, rhythmic atmosphere enveloping me. But I muster up some courage and make a run for it. I’d rather die on my feet that on my knees.
The two idiots step on the gas but I jump inside the car. The winding streets of México‘s Zócalo are a challenge for any driver. Imagine trying to sail through them while a 56 year old detective punches you in the ear. We swerve, we fishtail and we skid, but we still are firmly attached to the road. I grab the fattest of the two, the one riding shotgun and show him you can be defenestrated from a moving car. It’s now a mano a mano duel and we struggle for a bit. He punches me and I almost fall out of the car. I stand up, stabilise myself and get a good vantage point to kick him. Just when I finally seem to be able to win something in my life, a cold, hard pain hits me on my left temple. It’s the crane of a tow truck, badly parked on the street. I fall to the ground and see the car disappear into the distance. My life starts to fade too and the last thing I hear is ‘the winch’ of the tow truck wind…
From the moment I was born until this moment where I depart to those promised ‘Elysian Fields’, I have been a failure. I let everyone down. I waited five years to find out what a Red Parole was and I couldn’t even do that. Five long years. I drift alone, slowly, soothingly as a celestial music and that promised ray of light appear. Maybe I will get a second chance or maybe, just maybe, I’ll met the creator of this life of mine. I’ll introduce myself, we’ll drink a few Vodka Sevens and I’ll sweet talk my way through the pearly gates.
My name was Jonathan Sorrow and I was a private detective…
Words: Sam Valdes Lopez.
Special thanks to Mat Herron (Karate Body Records) and Victoria.