2

Stepping out, Barcelona was hot and clingy like cellophane. I was hot shit wrapped tight. I entered the first loud bar I found off Plaça Reial. Now, the place was nothing like in Blue is the Warmest Color. Immediately I got trapped in a pseudointelligent conversation based on apparent reality. (A man was explaining my appearance to me.)

“I’m doing my thesis on the semiotics of clowning.”

Oh god.

“With a focus on rodeo clowns.”

Oh no.

“It’s really about metaphysical comedy - clown cars and all that.”

“My research is an attempt at de-intellectualizing clownery.”

“Are you actually explaining clowns to me?”

“You come often to bars alone, huh??”

“Yeah, no, I came here with a friend.”

“I meant, you like coming to Barce–”

“There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you,” interrupted a soft dyke-looking pinafore-wearing woman. The guy looked absolutely confused. Thankfully I was saved.

“Hey… there you are.”

“Did you know she can only have sex with Groucho glasses on?”

“No, uh, we actually hadn’t gotten that far...”

“But that’s where you were headed, right? Let’s go, ”

“This is my friend—”

“Una”

“Una, shall we?” Una’s legs were fuzzy, but she was believably smooth. I could tell she was just another person trying to get out of something. Said she was here on holiday with her boyfriend. She never mentioned him again. I never saw him. Everyone’s trying to wriggle their way through life.

“So what’s a clown like you doin in Barça?”

“Came here to see the architecture -- i’m more than a clown: i’m a situational academic”

“are you serious? we can go back to the bar and I’ll leave you with that dude”

“nonono it was a joke! a joke! honestly i came here to see Gaudi”

“who?”

“the architect, i came to see his vision, the Sagrada Família”

“Oh you mean that whimsical church.”

“WHIMSICAL? It’s a masterpiece - a living, breathing building. YOu gotta be fucking joking, what do you even know about—”

“Ooh, tetchy. Chill out. Then it’s as you say, whatever. Stop talking, start walking, numpty.”

Una made me feel simple-dimpled. She couldn’t actually, genuinely think that the Família was whimsical. She was just trying to come off hard.

Every time you take a pie in the face, part of you dies and is reborn. You’re not there during the build-up. You’re playing the dupe, waiting for the pie tosser to wind up the pitch. When it hits people are probably laughing, but all you can see is pie. The pie tastes ok, but you’re gone, diving face first into an ocean of filling. Goodbye, greasepaint. Wipe the pie off, everything goes with it. Hello, it’s you again.

Sagrada Família, a big house all for the holy nuclear family. Just thinking about the place gave me the deepest feeling of wet. The skeleton of an ocean. A monstrous malformed crab’s shell. A looming barnacled shrine. All those curves and pearls and crusts. Its undulating curvature contained a mass of thoughts and feelings without consequences. The tide, the swell, the surroundings, full of oceanic mortality.

Sometimes when the pie hits, you wish it was heavier, more substantial. Something you’d feel deep, like a brick. Instead, it’s just soft filling.


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