July 14, 2000

Chapter VII
By Jeannine Diego

A rustling sound came from behind the front door. Another flyer for some incredible deal on pizzas, just as long as you ordered some inedible amount, he thought; he ought to go outside and ask this guy to stop leaving these things under his door, explain that it was a waste because he was never going to eat that much, that he lived alone, etcetera, etcetera. He walked toward the door as he reconsidered. Poor kid. Just doing his job. Sal opened the door, expecting to find a colorful, visually assaulting coupon. Instead, it was a package. Something in him recognized this shape, this size. It was another video.

Alright… Alright, I'll just look at it. What have I got to lose? Somewhere along the route from the kitchen to the front door, he'd dropped his paranoia, and couldn't seem to find it anywhere. Or, maybe he'd lost it over the past few days, without even noticing. Sal walked over to the VCR and inserted the tape. He sat on the floor, from a distance that would allow him to watch without his eyeglasses on…

On the screen, there appeared a news broadcast in Spanish. The subtitles explained that `a video distributed in Tijuana has been cause for alarm among residents of a neighborhood.' Faces of apprehensive people speaking about their speculations, followed. Some believed the tape was pornographic, others assured the camera person the video was hypnotic, and still others stated it was political propaganda. Shocked and relieved to know that these people were referring to the same video he himself had received, Sal watched on. From behind a desk, a man in suit and tie corroborated the news reporter's version that this was an artistic project, that the artist distributing these videos was a respectable individual, that he had international projection as an artist, etcetera. Sal was dumbfounded. He didn't believe a word of it. Art is something else, he thought… he knew what art was, and this wasn't it. Nonetheless, he watched on. A series of images came upon the screen. A rooftop full of plants, accompanied by a voice which spoke, in Spanish, about emigrating plants, followed by images of someone walking through gardens with different people, as the voice continued speaking about these people and their gardens. Surely, this was some kind of effort to bring people together on the issue of immigration, he thought. Some kind of subliminal political propaganda, indeed. He just wasn't up to it. Not in the least. But he watched on. The last images were a succession of takes of red cars. A text flowed over them, narrating the story of Casanova and some spiritual group that followed Casanova. Immigration and Casanova? What was this about? He just couldn't make sense of it. More importantly, why on earth was he receiving these videos?

He could go out and ask his neighbors if they'd received the tapes as well, but then that would involve an endless chain of questions that he had no wish to answer: where he'd been, how was Lauren, why had he been hibernating for so long, when are we going to get together, etc., etc., etc. He just couldn't bear the thought. Just then, a knock on the door startled him to the point where he turned off the television and ran to the bathroom.

Shutting the bathroom door, Sal suddenly felt a tremendous sense of self-ridicule. Oh, my God, he thought, what am I doing? The knocks persisted. A female voice called out, muffled behind his many-times-bolted door. "Sal, Sal! It's me, Geri. Sal! C'mon, Sal." Sal couldn't contain a nervous giggle. "I just saw you outside your door!," insisted the voice, "Sal, please!" He knew it was pointless. He had to open that door.


….to be continued…….


(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Rainbow Chronicles is a sponsored project of inSITE2000, a non-profit arts organization operating in both San Diego and Tijuana. The Chronicles will be published in La Prensa San Diego for 19 weeks. For information on the project visit www.insite2000.org.)

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