It lived in the deep, mysterious waters of the Amazon river.(Featured in a WDC Newsletter)
FEATURED in The Writing.Com Newsletter - Short Stories: Resolutions of the "Ending" Kind... - Editor's Picks, January 12, 2011
FEATURED in the WDC. Newsletter - Short Stories: The Herald - Editor's Picks, March 26, 2014 by Shannon
Walter Launers was a Natural Science Professor at Iowa State University but one day, just like that and out of the blue, he decided that he couldn't stand his life and its routine any longer. He wasn't married and he had no children, no family and no girlfriends therefore - a really frustrating sex life, practically no friends; his students tolerated him in class and he had never heard of any female student having a crush on him. He rarely went out, spent Sundays reading, correcting papers, watching politics on TV or mowing the front and back lawn. He didn't even feel like having a beer once in a while, for Christ's sake! Was that a life? Would that be all? Would this be it? Would that be the story of his existence in History?
He was facing his sabbatical and he always went to the Smithsonian, in Washington DC but this time, he was going to do something entirely different - go on an adventure, explore somewhere different! Be somehow, someone different. He quickly and suddenly needed to capture life's essence before it was too late and to live the rest of his oblique life in a solitary nothingness.
He put his finger on top of his big, blue Traveler World's Globe, covered his eyes with one hand and turned it around many times. When he lifted the tip of his index finger from the Globe he read the name Manaus, in the Amazon jungle, in South America, Brazil! Why not? Explore the Amazon rain forest - a place out of time!
He paid cash for this long trip at the local Global-World Travel agency, sent his passport by FedEx to the Brazilian Consulate, took the required shots, and started packing his suitcase with light clothes. Safari clothes? No, Brazil wasn't Africa! While going over his clothes in his closet he noticed that Brazil had always been present in his life.
He found the Brazilian yellow and green soccer shirt written Pelé on it; he found a picture of the Brazilian exchange program student, Vera, that he dated many years ago (and that he fell in love with; later, she told him that he was too cold and too passive for her to have a life with). He found his Brazilian CDs and the Brazilian DVDs he had collected and that were scattered all over his drawers and bookshelves.
Was this a coincidence or what? He even had a hammock hung on his porch and a "How to Make a Caipirinha" kit in the bar that he had ordered on-line but which he had never opened. He needed cachaça in order to make it perfectly. He was going to order it on-line but hadn't. He would drink it, taste it in Brazil. On-line. Yes. He would go on-line and order a book about Brazil and a Travel Guide. He needed to read everything on Brazil, its people, its folklore, the Amazon jungle, its diverse and unique flora and fauna and its hidden secrets as well as the Brazilian mythology - so full of cultural elements of diverse origins, comprising folk tales, traditions, characters and beliefs regarding places, people, elements and weird entities... It was all about Natural Science!
After some reading and research, Walter's favorite story, among many others, was about a pink dolphin - an enchanted, pink Inia geoffrensis which could shape-shift into a handsome man by the mysterious Amazon river. So much folklore, so much richness, he thought, and so much earthly power. Also, so many curses and whispered enchantments in that confined region of the planet. He couldn't wait!
After many hours inside the plane he finally arrived in Manaus and went by cab to the Tropical Resort Hotel located right by the Amazon River. Everything looked so green, so tropical, and so... jungle like. It was hot and damp but very nice and different. He loved looking at the local people and observe how hard they worked on what they were doing. He went to his room and marveled - the force and strength of the Amazon River down below, brown and dark, calm and silent.
He saw river boats going in many directions and activities on the Amazon's banks. He felt sucked toward it as if there were magic powers in the air or as if there was an invisible magnet that controlled everything near the Amazon river. He had to go out. He had to go there right now!
He changed clothes - beige bermudas, a light white t-shirt and crocks. He put all what he needed in the backpack, sprayed insect repellent on his long arms and long legs and put on the new pair of dark sun glasses. He looked at himself in the mirror and thought that he looked like another man. He liked that other man very much. He was thirty-eight, nice-looking, still very vain about his appearance. "Now look at you --- silly whiskers and casual clothes and all this thing about the jungle and saving yourself. Where did you go wrong, huh?", he asked himself. He combed his short blond hair and closed the door behind him.
He got a small cab downtown in order to check the Amazon Journey Riverboat Tours. He wanted to see the Pororoca (an immense wave resulting from the encounter of the Amazon River and the ocean waters) and the famous Encontro das Águas or The Meeting of the Waters of both Rio Negro and the Amazon river - the waters of two rivers that met but never, ever mixed - two colors flowing together in the middle of the jungle.
He wanted to see the native Brazilians, the Macaco Dourado, the huge blue, yellow and red Arara parrots, the Bicho Preguiça or the three-toed Brazilian sloth and the mean Jacaré or the Cayman alligator following you hungrily down the dark waters. He wanted to explore the wilderness on board cruises. He wanted to forget the noises and contamination from the big cities and explore all the natural wonders and abundance of nature in just one, big place. Oh such unknown beauty in Brazil.
There were trees that contained more than one thousand variety of insects; you could spend many days bird watching or just stare at the many giant trees, observe but not touch the poison arrow frog and maybe... see a pink dolphin - he had become extremely fascinated with the story of a half man, half fish called the Boto Cor-de-Rosa, that on full moon nights enchanted women with his beauty and seduction and then... they secretly became pregnant. He walked down the narrow streets downtown in search of the Mercado Central, full of different people. It was like a melting pot of the grotesque and the beautiful. There were tourists from all over the world! He crossed the streets and walked through the busy fish market.
He immediately smelled the fish in the air and saw all types of strange looking fishes - one of them was so big that a child could fit inside its stomach. The Pirarucú. Enormous. He saw a Piranha. He stretched his arm in order to touch its shinny, red body and feel its tiny, sharp teeth but the vendor screamed and said something about the fish not being dead. It was still alive and would have eaten one of his fingers! Man, that was so close. His finger nearly got caught... no - devoured by the small, twisting fish in front of him.
"Didn't you know that Piranhas can live for hours after they're caught?", a musical voice said from behind him.
Walter turned to see who spoke and he caught his breath. He was spellbound by her beauty.
"No, I... I... didn't", he managed to say, stumbling on his own words.
She was exotic; intoxicating. She smiled shyly and slowly walked away. She was maybe 25 years old and had a sensual body, long, black hair; needy black eyes. She had a lovely, darker tan and was barefoot. She was wearing a dark green and red dress and was holding a red basket in one hand. Oh my God! She was stunning. She had to be... his. They had to be together. He had to make love with her. He wanted her so bad. Her breasts were perfect - two beautiful, full-grown pears. He removed his small square glasses and cleaned his forehead. He blinked. He had never seen such beauty in a woman. He felt the sweat rolling down his neck and slim back.
He forgot about plans, river boats, cruises, the meeting of the waters, sunset in the Amazon river; the 200 types of trees, the 1,400 types of fish, the 1,300 types of birds, the 300 types of mammals and all about that Peixe-Boi fish; he forgot about the dark, muddy waters of this intriguing, biggest river in the world that flows about 80,000 m3 of water in about 10 kilometers per hour and... he quickly started to follow her down the streets. He didn't care anymore. Nothing else mattered. He didn't care about the rain forest and the jungle. He simply had to meet that woman in this mysterious and exotic, far away country.
She noticed him following her... and her red lips smiled. She stopped, looked at him curiously and started walking again, moving her body sensually. He was hypnotized and... in love. She laughed. He smiled and followed her down the road. The sidewalk was busy. People scurried by, the warm wind floating heavily around him. She stopped again and looked back. She smiled and offered him a handful of Jabuticaba fruits. He accepted. Oh so sweet. She was Oh so sweet and so... sexy. He would melt inside of her. He wanted to hold her, take her home, feed her, love her and give her everything she could ever want.
She continued walking and looking behind her to see if he was there. He was some steps behind. She walked all the way to the Amazon river's bank. It was getting dark. Really dark. He could hear the noises coming from the trees, the movement of the waters, the insects, the bugs and the birds, settling for the day. It was all alive and magnificent. The powerful Amazon. She sat by the river with her legs open and washed the fruits in the basket. He came closer. She looked up and laughed. He sat near her and dived his small, green eyes into her deep, black eyes. He touched her long hair, silky, soft... so sensual. It was getting darker and an orange moon was coming up from inside the Amazon.
They observed all this beauty in silence. They sat side by side, holding each others hands. They kissed a long, passionate kiss. They felt the silence around them; heard the mother of all rivers, wiser, ageless and endless move silently into the darkness... and Walter wondered... in an universe of options, why was he there. He held this beautiful woman's hand tight... and he somehow, peacefully, began to wonder and daydream and soon... Walter fell asleep midst it all, silently and quietly like a baby in its mother's warm arms. The heat of the jungle was so comforting and welcome. He was so tired. She was sitting next to him, quiet and calm but staring at the river, hypnotized by the moon's orange flames.
He abruptly woke up when he heard a long and anguished lament but... it wasn't human. He stood up. Nervous. She wasn't there. Where was she? A full moonlit night... and the reflection of the moon on the river was mesmerizing - yellow and white. He heard the rainforest's noises and became involved in its darkness and stillness. He heard a soft but nervous woman's laugh... and then... he saw her by the river, talking to somebody inside the water... but it wasn't a person - it was... something else... it was... a pink dolphin!
Unbelievable! My God! The Boto Cor-de-Rosa, holding her arms tight, whispered words into her ears and kissed her lips avidly, sucking her breath; he was coming out of the water and standing upright, right in front of her, half man, half pink dolphin... and with an erection. What an erection. Pink, throbbing and enormous. He couldn't stop looking at it! Fascinating! Amazing. It wasn't a folklore tale after all... or was it? The man... no, the Boto was tall, pinkish and handsome and wearing a black hat that covered his face now fully shown by the moonlight coming from the deep Amazon river. He was naked, sensual and it was really maddening because... he was making love to her now, wildly, passionately and she was screaming with pleasure and begging... for more and more and more. Walter froze. Walter watched. Walter learned.
When Walter, sweating, dared to move, he noticed that the Boto Cor-de-Rosa had looked up and had been observing him from the distance. He... smiled at him and Walter saw the steely pinkish cold fish eyes gazing back at him. The Boto gave him a look that, at first, made his skin crawl. He got goose bumps from head to toe because he was... afraid yet he felt a sad, longing, secular feeling inside his body --- coming from the Boto's eyes. Was it coming from his soul? Strangely enough, he also felt an unknown desire for adventures, pleasures, secrets, river banks and many endless moonlight love encounters... He felt all this... Why? Why was this feeling so intense?
All of a sudden the Boto Cor-de-Rosa jumped into the Amazon river which now looked like a twisted Sucurí snake and it disappeared. Walter walked up to where the Boto had been. He looked at the woman. She slept, pleasantly. She looked plentiful and happy and he wanted that, he wanted more, he needed this more than anything else because his life had been insipid and dull. He had no life. He wanted a life. He looked at the Amazon. He was living one right here, right now. Where was the Boto? Come back. Rescue me. Don't leave me here to my nothingness. Come back!
He climbed on an old, thick and broken tree trunk - half inside the river and half coming from inside the dark rain forest. The young woman moaned and sighed and turned her naked body in her sleep. She was smiling. He looked into the water, curiously, trying to find the Boto in the darkness... and then...there it was - there he was!
He saw the Boto's face - a fish now, long, powerful and reddish pink, still smiling; yes, smiling at him. They stared at each other for a very long time... in a kind of a yearning recognition of themselves and then... the Boto submerged. Silence. And so, slowly, Walter let himself fall into the Amazon's dark waters. It was a feeling of liberation. No man was there now but the endless Amazon river. He was the river. He was someone else. He was the Boto Cor-de-Rosa. No more Walter - only the Boto, forever, inside the Amazon's snaking, mysterious waterways and its eternal unfolding secrets.