Dancer, by Fernando Botero
“The dark side is real.” he said while gripping her shoulders, balling up her flesh in his palm. “I’ve always known I was special, but now I have proof. They are coming after me.” He gasped for air and grabbed his throat in the corner of the ballroom.
He continued, “I feel it. I’m cursed. They have resigned me to elastic waistbands and lemon juice diets. I can’t even hear myself think…”
He was so changed, his wife thought. She let her mind wander back to their wedding day. They were just children then, and had worked for three years to be able to get married in Goa, India, right on the beach.
“Where you are Gaius, I am Gaia,” she had said, eagerly clasping her hands to his in holy matriomony. They walked back down the aisle togther over to their speed boat they had rented. His elbow was jerking uncontrollably from happiness and as he turned again to wave to the crowd, his funny bone smashed into a statue of Vishnu. A little Indian girl had ran over to them with her doe-eyes stretched open so far that you could see the whole curveture of her eyeballs and whispered something incomprensible in the same way that Jews say “Hashem.”
They immediately had to flee the country because India had declared them the most powerful of all the gods, capable of such destruction, and the Ayatollah Khomeini had called them on the phone, congratulating them on their marriage. Now they were in hiding and her husband’s reason was on fire because somebody had brought a hookah to the party tonight.
She saw that his paranoia was coming back, took a deep breathe, and pleaded, “Let’s just dance, OK?” They began to twirl around with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths as they always did when he stopped. Grabbing the back of her knee, holding her leg up at a 45 degree angle he said sternly, “No, it cannot go on like this. I must confront him.”
He walked over to the elderly gentlemen and said “Namaste.”
“Namaste” he answered, his voice trailing off.
“I must ask you why you brought that thing here today? I have a bit of a history with Indian people.”
“I am celebrating. My son has just become the President of his company in Goa”
The husband let out a cry of outrage and ran back over to his wife. “We must leave this instant! He is one of them” putting special emphasis on the final word.
“But where can we go!? We have already been to Uruguay, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo and you keep insisting that this dark force follows you everwhere. You cannot run forever, though if you did you probably would not have these health problems.”
“Shut up! Shut up! I have the answer this time” he said as he gazed meaninfully at the cat curled up under the table next to the broken wine bottle.