I came to Madrid in 1987. I didn’t have a lot of money, I was twenty-three, I had a backpack full of books, a perpetual erection, a Visa for another year, and I just knew that life was about to change for the better. I don’t like to brag but at twenty I had a novel published, a small thing I wrote over a two-month stint where I did nothing but sleep and write. I barely ate, I didn’t see my friends, and my parents were worried. But the book was a success, or at least enough of one that I am still living off the money I got for it, and the advance for the next novel, which I am pretty sure I’ll never write. I say living off, but that means I eat little, I sleep cheaply, and I wear the same clothes every day. Some people, like Simenon or Aira or France, have an endless quantity of books in them, but me I am pretty sure I have just one. I don’t write at all any more, and really I never did after I finished my book. I didn’t see the point, and I still don’t. I really just like reading. According to my calculations the money will run out at the end of my stay here in Madrid, and then I suppose I’ll get a job of some sort. I’d like to be a bricklayer but I don’t know how. It probably isn’t too difficult. Not the job itself, that I suspect is a very difficult job, hot and tiring and intense. But rewarding. You could go home every day satisfied that you had added to the world in a tangible way. But I mean that learning how to become a bricklayer shouldn’t be too hard, and I’ve got the time.
When I arrived in Madrid I knew that matters were about to get out of hand. Call it a sixth sense. An hour after landing in the airport (and I am still amazed that the plane touched down at ten at night and the sun was still out) I was unpacking my things into the tiny cupboard of a meagre little backpacker hotel room in the heart of the city, near the Gran Via. The walls were thin, and I could hear the sound of sex on one side and arguing on the other.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.