portion of the artwork for Trevor J. Houser's fiction

The Pampas, 1968
Trevor J. Houser

On the pampas my father spent a few weeks unsure of where his wedding was so he vaguely headed north.

He slept and ate and sometimes bought a bottle of wine and drank it under a tree or on the side of the road near some Argentine cows.

One day he ran into two Norwegians with hookers and went fishing with them.

They wanted to see his machete so he let them look at it.

“Why do you have a machete?” one of the Norwegians asked.

“Why do you have hookers?” my father asked.

Everyone just looked at him and sort of laughed.

The Norwegians were friendly, but he told them he had to go north to find his wedding so he gave back their fishing pole and started vaguely heading north again.

“Am I heading north?” he yelled back at the Norwegians, but he was too far to be understood so the Norwegians just waved back as if he were saying goodbye one last time, which he realized in a way he was.

One day my father found himself near the ocean.

He started walking along a road until he saw a castle-like mansion through the trees.

It turned out to be a bed and breakfast with a golf course so he got a room for the night.

“Do you want dinner in the dining room?” an old man in a worn red server’s jacket asked.

“No, in my room’s OK,” my father said.

They brought him chorizo and some bread and a bottle of wine. He ate on his bed. It was pitch black outside his window. He carefully put his machete under his pillow. He looked at old books on a shelf and pulled out an almanac. He got in bed and looked for places in Argentina that were good for weddings.

In the middle of the night my father went to the kitchen for something to eat.

He made toast.

He checked his pulse.

He smelled the bread beginning to burn.

Outside the kitchen window he thought he saw something run by, but he didn’t go outside to investigate because of being too tired and a little cold.

After eating the toast he went outside in his boxers anyway, but there was nothing there.

The next morning he played golf by himself.

On the sixteenth hole he hit it out of a bunker and it went in. He ordered a cognac on the patio overlooking the golf course, mist leaking through the trees like smoke.

He swished the cognac around in his mouth pretending he was some kind of vassal.

At night my father got into bed with a cognac and read a book entitled The Greatest Weddings of Modern Times.

After reading my father was convinced he would find his wedding and fell asleep feeling OK for the most part.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 35 | Winter 2012