South of the equator. (Alessandra Piccolo)

by Alessandra Piccolo

Translation: Silvia Lumaca





She had an ass so hauntingly round it was hard on the eyes.


When she was crossing Plaza Madrid there was no woman man or child who didn’t turn to look at her passage. You saw that perfect protuberance swinging and squeezing to the right and left, to the right and left.

The first time i saw her i was drunk and desperate at the bar of an inn in the black neighborhood.

I was drinking straight tequilas, the most beautiful woman i had ever put my hands on had just left me, and on top of that she had betrayed me and used me for her career. At that time i was working for Vogue and i was in South America with the cameraman Alex Bonomo – known to be the best fucker in the magazine. We were there to write a series of articles that would have been part of a report on the emerging fashion in underdeveloped countries. A rotten trick to keep us out of the way.


I was rolling a cigarette without filter, with a certain difficulty for the binge i had in my body, and she had entered swaying, looked at me fugaciously from those black eyes without pupils and she had sat down on the farthest table at the bottom of the hall near the pay phone. The bartender looked at her snorting and in my delirium i thought it was right to offer her a drink. The guy looked at me, from over his glasses held together by some yellowed tape  – She usually drinks white rum – he said talking to him self while already pouring the rum in a glass, – but not here, no, here she only comes for those phone calls, – and in that moment the pay phone started ringing. She didn’t stand up immediately, she waited for the third ring and then with a sight she went answering. The noise of the blades over our heads was covering her deep hoarse voice, everything about that girl made you think about sex. I thought it could have also been a misfortune for her, but that maybe nature gives us what we can have, nothing more nothing less. And nature had been fair with her, more than anyone else.


The phone call was brief, she hanged up and stood there for a few seconds, the hand on the receiver giving us the back. She was wearing a cream-colored dress with small flowers, the skin gleamed with moisture and i noticed a sweat’s drop falling down her calf.

A movie frame.

  • What’s her name? – i asked the bartender. He shrugged and shook his head, i didn’t understand what he meant, if he didn’t know her name or he would not say it to a stranger. I let the matter go and washed down my umpteenth tequila. As soon as she turned the bartender raised his glass of rum, she moved towards us expressionless, – she offers you, – he said – thank her it is kind of her, – he suggested.

I laughed for the funny phrase and for the embarrassment, awkwardly, looking down. – Thank you, – she said – i will drink it over there though, – she went on with her lower lip trembling and half open, and those dark eyes staring off into space – i need to drink it alone, sorry, – she had a strange accent. She went back to her table almost dragging her feet. I decided i would have offered her another drink and so all night if necessary.

  • Ah, love… even for a chica like that it can be pain. –
  • Give me light, ok? –

The night seemed never to arrive at that time of the year, people were watching the still high sun from behind the blinds sighting, resigned to that wait, everyday the same, every day longer.

There were those who filled the wait by drinking, others by making love against a wall, some who simply fanned themselves with something. Almost no one used it to work. Most people made their living at night. And how to blame them, with that heat even thinking became exhausting and futile. I did not write a decent paragraph for more than two weeks. I was worried.

That night the girl left before i could offer her another rum. I kept drinking, going beyond the limit of intoxication to such an extent that i didn’t even feel drunk anymore. I kept drinking for three days and three nights, crawling from bar to bar, taking a new woman almost every night, and sleeping in their beds so soaked with sweat and sperm. The girls were happier to sleep with me rather than with a man, they treated me with respect and always offered a discount. In the course of those three days i never met her, but she practiced her profession right in that area of town.

Alex tracked her down before me, in a tavern near the beach, too bad that at that time i wasn’t eating much and i didn’t find out earlier the potentials of that place, my dear colleague described them on the first occasion, that he admired her charms as she danced a rumba with an American. Her name was Julieta.

Americans pay well, they’re the best here for the hookers. They get drunk quickly, and fall asleep just as quickly, sometimes even before consuming. Better than them there are only lesbians, the American ones.

On the fourth day Alex came to this slum to take me – do you think it’s bright to hide in a place like this? – he grumbled as he helped me to get dressed – it’s a fucking miracle if i’ve found you, you know that? – i didn’t answer and with my eyes shut let him take me away. I didn’t care that much if he was worried about me, after all if i was as i was it was his fault as well. He fucked my woman, but he was fucking all women, it was her who shouldn’t have done it.

It was her the dishonest, the despicable, the betrayer.

He was just a dick with two legs.

  • Look where you ended when ‘round the corner there is this place that i tell you is the end of the world, – i gestured for silence, the light was pricking me deep into the corneas, i was thirsty, my kidneys were hurting and i needed more sleep – i need water, water to drink. –

I woke up around evening. An orange glare was filtering through the white linen curtains that were inflating and deflating like two sails in the open sea. The room walls were a deep blue, and the wardrobe and nightstands stood out as of a lighter white. I laid and enjoyed that peace and that breeze, which seemed to be there on purpose to collect and dry some fast tears.

I went down and saw Alex sitting on the steps of the hotel entrance waiting for me. He raised an arm to call me, smiled shyly and drove me through his night.

  • Have you ever fucked the wind? – she asked me a few moments after we started talking, i looked at her waiting for the rest, – Hey, tell me! Have you ever fucked the wind? Yes? – i shook my head, not sure about what she meant, – No? It was a no? … and then what are you waiting for! – she was laughing loudly, dropping her head back, showing her thin long neck. She was very different from the first time i had seen her. She looked much less depressed.
  • Listen, the first day of strong wind, bring a bottle of water and go up to the desert at the foot of the mountains, there undress and you’ll see. –

I kept listening to her, amused, but in reality i was only listening because later i would have payed her to be my wind.

The tavern was actually a real brothel, but there were no tourist, those were local women and local men who wanted to have fun, period.

To get there we crossed the old town, walking through dark run-down alleyways, with fat women looking at us from the windows and the crying of babies and some hypnotic percussions in the background.

I was only trying to look around a little, watch the others having fun, watch their clothes, their kisses, their fashion. Then rush to the hotel and start writing at least one article. At least one.

The last few days had exhausted me more than i could imagine, i walked inside a soap bubble, everything was so far away. Above all else, illusion was guiding me.

Julieta talked of wind and sex and drank a lot. Shortly after we found ourselves on the beach, with our fingers stuck everywhere, panting and sadder than sadness herself.

They were technical orgasms, no mystery. Then she asked me for a cigarette, i paid her and she went back to the tavern.

I remained there, without thinking, without being able to stop thinking.

We kept seeing each others everyday, i was paying her to be my woman. We were going together to the market to buy fruits, but most of the day we were staying in my room, going out for dinner at night and sometimes going to dance.

And i continued not to write a single line.

Alex didn’t mind, he could extend his stay, without having too many charges against him, but the days flew by and we didn’t have our entire lives to finish the report.

Once i asked Julieta who was her lover. She looked frightened at me. I explained then that time in the bar when we had seen each other for the first time.

  • He’s not my lover. –
  • May i know who he is? –

She treated me like a fucking American client. A female client. For her male or female didn’t make any difference, she was not grateful like most of her colleagues. She didn’t appreciate the fact that i wasn’t fucking her like a man. That was it.

She didn’t like women.

When we were not together i was following her. She was a hardworking girl. I didn’t mind, i was glad she was having a good income, and i was under the illusion that one day she wouldn’t have asked to be paid.  At least to me.

She was rubbing like if she was a dog, she was not good at making love with women, maybe i was her first. She didn’t touch much, didn’t apply much, didn’t follow my instructions.

It was more beautiful to look at her than to have her, and that was something i suffered much.

  • Where do you come from? –
  • From here.. –
  • No, i mean, what part of town, –
  • Why do you want to know? –
  • I don’t know.. because i think you’re not from a poor family. –
  • No, i’m not. I don’t come from the slums if that’s what you mean. –
  • I imagined that… –
  • … –
  • Don’t you ask me how i figured it out?
  • How did you figure it out? –
  • Leave it.

One night she insisted on going out. She brought two bottles of water and told me it was time for me to go with her to a place.

We walked in silence for more than an hour among slums and trees, then sand and the desert. Everything was illuminated by a large red full moon. I felt strange, as if we were to confess our darkest secrets, as if we were to take part in some pagan ritual. We stopped in a point where a light wind was blowing, peculiarly scented. She told me that that was the place where warriors’ souls from around the world met and mingled. Then she began to undress. I was watching her not knowing what to do, then without understanding i my self began to undress. She laid down in the sand, closing her eyes and slipping on it, moving like a snake. I was enchanted.

  • Come, lay down, – she said – for the first time looking at me in a different way, as if she wanted me. I followed her orders like a child. She caressed my skin with her fingertips and meanwhile she whispered that i was going to live an incredible experience. I was staring at her black eyes restraining my self from biting her all over. She was different, much closer to an animal than to a human being, i saw her excited for the first time, she was going to fuck me like never before. The heat of the ground came into me and with her mouth she did things that made me crazy. It all happened slowly, speed time and space swallowed into a black hole.

After that things changed between us. I even convinced my self that maybe i could have taken her away with me.

One afternoon i received a call from our chief editor. Articles films and photos had to be ready and edited for the following week. I had lost the sense of time, i had simply forgotten the reason why i was there. I immediately called Alex to set a meeting. He answered agitated and breathless, he said we could have met in an hour in Plaza Madrid.

As i hanged up the worm of doubt started creeping in my head. Julieta was not with me. And he was short of breath. It was 4pm, she had gone out after lunch, with a certain haste, after a bath and having curled her hair, thing she’d never done before. And she had always liked him. Moreover, Alex had arranged the work meeting outside the hotel, something that had never happened.

I tried not to think about it, tried to occupy my time, sat at the laptop, trying to write something for one of the articles. I wrote about her. I wrote about her gorgeous ass, about her long legs, about her smell, about the desert.


I had to go to Alex.

I arrived at the end of the corridor, walking back a couple of times before getting in front of his door.  I stopped. I was thinking “no Alex not again, fuck please.” But i couldn’t open the door. I decided to knock.


Then some noises, distant, as if they were not even coming from his room.

I knocked again, louder.

There, now yes, a dull sound as if something had fallen, surely coming from his room.

Openopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopen. Fuck.

Nowienter. Nowienter. Nowienter.

  • Hey, who’s there? –
  • Alex, it’s me, i thought we could make it faster if i came here, –


  • Alex? Do you hear me? Open up, it won’t be the first time i see you half naked, come on, i won’t jump on you you know that! –
  • Sssssh lower your voice, fuck, you’re screaming – he said slightly opening the door – the girl is naked and ashamed, i join you in a few minutes. I come by your room.

–  Oh, please! – and with an arm i pushed the door, opening



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