Ariel Glaria Enriqez
HAVANA TIMES — On the dirty doorjamb of a tenement building in Havana, right across from a produce and meat market, after the rain stops, two flies – Trash and Spit – have a chat. A heat wave rises from the asphalt.
TRASH: After the rain, the best thing for the cold is the juice that comes off garbage bags.
SPIT: I prefer the juice from rotten tomatoes. But I’m gonna wait for the meat today. Yesterday, I licked a few bad pork ribs that no one bought. The butcher swore, before leaving, that he would sell them this week. I’m waiting for him to put them out.
TRASH: I heard your neighbor, the old woman, died.
SPIT: Yes and, that same day, some relatives from the sticks showed up. The first thing they did was unclog and clean up the toilet. They said terrible things about her. That’s why I moved. Now, I live in a tenement building with my nephews. Every day, when the evening news come on and the neighbors go inside, we meet at the center of the courtyard, right next to a clogged-up pipe. We’ve even come up with a game. We all rub our legs at the same time, and the fly that gets out of step with the rest gets a punishment. Join us whenever you want.
TRASH: They haven’t picked up the garbage in seven days and, since it’s been raining so much, the truck will probably come today. If they clean up the dumpsite, I’ll be going into the building.
SPIT: Have you heard anything about the Argentinean fly.
TRASH: I heard he lives like a king at public bathrooms in different bus terminals in Havana.
SPIT: You and I met in a coffee shop bathroom, remember? The toilet was always clogged up and dirty. The bad part was that it had no window and we had to fly through the main hall. We spent some good weekends there.
TRASH: I thought that was going to change when they started charging people to use the bathroom, which is why I stopped going to coffee shops. But I’ve heard things haven’t changed there. We should go back some day.
SPIT: Yes, before they privatize all coffee shops.
TRASH: There are many flies worried about this. I think that the clogged-up toilets and dirty bathrooms, like the garbage, are a cultural phenomenon.
SPIT: What if they lift the blockade and, despite what you say, this changes?
TRASH: In that case, we’d have to live on the remains of animals people sacrifice for Santeria rituals.
SPIT: And if communism couldn’t do away with that, whatever’s about to happen won’t either. Trash, you’re a genius.
TRASH: If they don’t pick up the garbage when the evening news comes on, I’m off to the pipe.