book of days serial #5

He lived an apartment house above a place where a family of Mexican émigrés stayed. They were a transient pod. These new patriots had quickly converted the bedroom, which was directly below his own, into a day room, with a stereo of what seemed to be unimaginable proportions and inexplicable power. The thump of the incessant ranchero drove him to live in the front half of the apartment and to seal the bedroom with blankets and shirts where the sound grew from the floor. This was adequate for the time being as long as he remained hovering over the futon and did not touch the floor to receive the transmitted vibrations. He was sensitive to that.

Even now, the older houses just off the main thoroughfares looked like slums, and the new bungalows on the outskirts of the boroughs are at one with the flimsy structures of world fairs in their praise of technical progress and their built-in demand to be discarded after a short while like empty food cans. Yet the affordable housing is designed to perpetuate the individual as a supposedly independent unit in a small hygienic dwelling and make him subservient to his ambitions and his neighbors.

This one was a two-story pink stucco place with big slabs of stucco wiped from the walls by the earthquakes. Every night the stucco absorbed the fog like a blotter. In the mornings, the walls were a damp red instead of pink. Had it not been for the auroral rumblings of the promptly circadian family below, he may have continued to sleep through the red. As it happened, he began evacuating the house at nearly seven-thirty antemeridian every morning to seek refuge at a bourgeois coffeehouse in the production sector of Santa Monica. It was quickly decided that the red was superior.

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