WHAT IS MAPPALUJO?


CHAPTER 19

THE BALL of your foot rides the gas pedal, where are you going to? The palm of your hand steers the wheel. You are the man with the road in his eyes. The highway unwinds through the darkness, where are you going to? The radio bathes you with news and static. You are the private investigator.

We are the people you are running from.
We are the dead.


Sodium lights are flickering, all the roads you're travelling down. The photograph is whispering. You are the man with the dust in his mouth. Past the power stations and cinemas, all of the roads you're travelling down. Past the vacant department stores, the mannequins in their living rooms, the car parks. You are the private investigator.

We are the people you are searching for.
We are the dead.


Entering the zone where the night meets the day, where are you going to? Through the lonely city, awakening. You are the man with the ghost in his eyes. Past the silent architecture, the glittering petrol stations, where are you going to? Across the lake of perfume, along the bridge of sleep and forgetfulness, through the shopping malls, the glass enclosures, past the vending machines with their soothing tones, the fairground, the salad bars, the hotel of memories. You are the private investigator.

We are the people you are running from.
We are the dead.


Surveillance cameras are watching, all the roads you're travelling down. Celebrities are gathering, haunting the plazas. You are the man with the salt in his mouth. Radios are breathing, televisions are whispering, police sirens are calling. All the roads you're travelling down, all the feelings in your heart. Past the corporate headquarters, the chambers of ice, the ziggurat towers of the financial district, the mirrored escalators, the smoke-filled industrial estates, the meat markets, the money markets, the dream markets, the chemical laboratories. The photograph is shivering. The city opens up around your vehicle. You are the private investigator.

We are the people you are searching for.
We are the dead.


Through the outskirts of town, where are you going to? Through the gardens and theme parks, the suburbs, their cabinets and screens. You are the man with the gun in his hand. Through the poets' quarter, the ghettos, the holding camps, the red-light district, where are you going to? Alongside the river that twists through the country, down to the wasteland, the plague village, the tar pits, the mystical symbols drawn in the soil. The witch's hut. Through the forest of billboards crowding the highway, the one thousand images beaming their smiles, the words and the pictures, the logos and promises. Alongside the abandoned cemetery, the broken tombs, the congregation of mist that rises from the earth, dissolving. You are the private investigator.

We are the people you are running from.
We are the dead.


Into the desert, the clouds of sand, the vapour trails, mirages, all of the roads you're travelling down. Reading the exit signs, taking the hidden turning. You are the man with the word on his tongue. Watching the sun rise over the shantytown, the hushed bell of the church, the dice pit, the refugees, the horses. The dust blows forward, the dust blows back, across all of the roads you're travelling down. Walking away from your vehicle, into the howlings, past the cowering shapes, the stench, along the winding course of the theatre of animals. The photograph is crying, coming alive now, singing along to the music that draws you forth along the pathways. This is your assignment. You are the private investigator.

We are the people you are searching for.
We are the dead.

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WHAT IS MAPPALUJO?