Cotard rides his bug around the streets of Rio. it's slow-going. his beetle kisses a taxi.
Cotard: i've infected you. just be glad i didn't eat you. hey buddy, know a diner? i am so starving. i need to sin.
Brazilian cab driver (singing "Billie Jean"): where you from, patna? haven't seen you round these parts.
Cotard: it's a big city but i'm from California, a big state. but i'm home now. this is Brazil, right?
cab driver: yes, we are located in Brazil, because this is where the show takes place.
at the diner, the tv is on:
Cotard: no, i ordered soup. my last name is Bread.
Erneste (drinking beside our favorite monk): FIFA is a four-letter word.
a bar brawl breaks out blocking the tv. one man shouts "FIFA you!" and punches the other man in the bladder.
Cotard: quit blocking the fucking tv!
Cotard is having trouble gripping his free water glass.
Erneste: you'll get along here fine, stranger. anything you want to do our city is more than gracious to provide. cover a sin with another sin. it's all out there, hanging out. here for our famous wax?
Cotard: i love Mr. Miyagi as much as the next world citizen but that technique won't work, my fingers are filled with loneliness, they are heavy like stone, can't hold, i can't hold things. here for my mae. i have her urn of ashes in the backseat with my cat. her last wishes were to spread them on the family farm back in the old country. i don't even hear myself as Brazilian, i'm a California surfer dude through and through. what do you speak here? it's like some out-there Spanish, right?
Erneste: your mother has a pretty name. ah, being the dutiful son, good son, bom filho. get all that good stuff in before the new Satan takes over. i could introduce you to your soul mate, she works right around the corner, the one with heels, a boa, and smeared lipstick, you can't miss her.
Cotard: i'm not good with women, especially the only one i truly knew. my mother made it a point to tell me on her death bed that she didn't want to be buried, going against her long-standing religion. she was afraid of grave robbers digging her body out and playing with it, messing it up. ashes are cleaner. she wants to provide sustenance in the soil for the next generation of her family, she wants to help grow the next crop of corn or whatever they grow out here, for the children, it will be an everlasting crop, that will be her sustainable legacy.
Erneste: the maize maze is the native term, so long and broad and confusing scarecrows planted in there since before man are still lost. forever is a long time, people don't realize just what forever actually means. wait, is this Berte's ranch, the big one down the road full of dusty rows?
Cotard: yeah i think. my mom told me to go to Rio immediately and seek out a man with kind eyes, i'll know him when i see him through the crowd of blind debauchery. i'd like to stop talking now, bringing up my mother is making me sad. i still can't believe she's gone and i didn't deal with a lot of shit with her in the living years so i have the feeling it's all gonna spill out in an explosion soon. it's like that one guy during a traffic standstill who's mad as hell, doesn't want to buy a bag of oranges, and is not gonna take it anymore. i ran away to the monastery when my school friends were running to spring break. i tried to forget everything, which i did, but then she had to go and die on me, bringing it all back in a flood. my own mother, my only mother, the only woman on this pale blue dot who will ever ever ever be my mother, the only woman.
Cotard starts to tear up. his tears fall into his water, he drinks that water.
Erneste: as you say, your soup is getting cold.
Cotard: it's consomme. hey what the fuck are these purple bits in it?! waiter, there's Spanish fly in my soup.
Erneste: easy, cowboy, he's in the kitchen mixing us some cocktails. you're starting to creep into Ugly American territory, you were doing so well. different customs, that's all. we like to put purple in our stuff. y'know my grandfather always used to tell me that purple onions were the fruit of virility for men. little boys should eat as much smelly stingy biting onions as possible, it's good for the machismo.
Cotard: i've never liked them. that explains so much.
the waiter returns with the drinks. Cotard takes the onions and puts them on top of his cocktail.
Cotard: waiter, go to the back and strain the onions into the purple drank or whatever this alcohol is until you're left with a smooth, crisp, devastating vintage vodka of the highest proof, now that's a man's drink, no fruity pink wine coolers with tiny umbrellas here. onion cocktail.
the waiter returns with a side dish of cocktail onions.
Cotard: good, now i'm crying the right way.
Cotard slurps down his soup in one bite and begins to eat the plate it was served on.
Erneste: what are you doing, cowboy? don't be that much of a cowboy, it's not attractive.
Cotard: oh i figured the plates were made of decorative hard sugar. i read that about this country online.
Cotard drinks the rest of Erneste's drink and eats the salad of the gentleman---the winner of the fight earlier---next to the monk on the other side.
Cotard: a clean desk is an efficient desk. i've found that eating someone else's food is the best way to get close to them, to partake of their sustenance, you drink their milkshake, you get to know them intimately quickly, you join with them, become them. one nations, one love, one staff of life. different customs, right? you wouldn't hit a man with rose-colored glasses...
waiter: here's your receipt. and the receipt of your receipt.
Cotard leaves without incident, his large wood pointy rosary around his neck keeping the vampires away. now if only he had a way to keep the toll bridges at bay. it wouldn't hurt if he had a flying car that could hover above this insane traffic. the grid is locked tight.
Cotard travels at a snail's pace the strange confusing winding congested roads of the city for 30 hours. it's cold, freezing cold. it's raining on the gridlock. his kitten Kiss sleepscampers and eats a snail she scrapes off the road along the way.
eventually Cotard finds a reason to pull down his car windows willingly, it's blue night and a large pale moon illuminates the dark night streets reflecting off the highest mountain's statue in the area. music palely plays in the distance. must be samba or something. Kiss has been napping this whole time in the back with her tail wrapped around the urn. Cotard's been driving all day into night. his weary eyes notice a group of four bums encircling an oil-bin fire between two brick walls. make that two bums, two of them pulled out shivs and knifed each other to death right there in broad nightlight.
Cotard: damn, it's hard out here for a barfly.
Erneste: they don't kill me cos i'm a gangsta with ideas. i know how to survive. i just need a sponsor.
Cotard: takes guts. i got the mighty power of the Vatican behind me, my friend. can i bum a smoke? get it? le sigh, it's been a long day. got a bus schedule or something? my bare calloused feet are beat pushing on the brake so much. i need some new sandals.
Cotard looks into the kind eyes of...Erneste.
Cotard: oh hello again, where've you been hiding? you're homeless? you were talking such a rich game earlier.
Erneste: confidence is a devious thing, anyone can have it strongly in spurts, it's a good way to deceive yourself most of all.
Cotard: that's why i always really wanted to become an actor.
Erneste: you're the one who's homeless, my friend. but not any longer. i know the way to Berte's and i can show you the way. i can take you there. it's the least i can do for family, he is my evil brother after all. i must warn you, he is pure, one-dimensional evil.
Cotard: no fucking way.
Erneste: i knew your beautiful mother. she was a babe inside and out.
Cotard: well she was hot, i've seen her high school yearbook pics. deflecting again. lead the way, lion, i have your front as the scarecrow.
Erneste: that's healthy fear, dumbass, you should be scared, too. ol' Black Berte is no joke, he wears a black cowboy hat and triangular goatee and everything.
Cotard hears the samba music getting louder. it comes from on top of that mountain, a concert there. but Cotard thinks it's coming from his car radio. he turns the volume knob up and breaks it.
CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK FOR THE CONCERT.
Cotard: now that's beautiful. inspiring.
Erneste: like your madre.
Cotard picks up a busted-up powder-blue guitar with a large hole punched through the back lying in the gutter and starts to strum it. no music comes out.
Erneste: it's electric.
Cotard: yes it is, all music is. i've always wanted to be a musician. band, groupies, the works.
Cotard opens his mouth and starts to sing the Eagles song. it's horrible.
Erneste (fingers in his ears): stop that! stop that evil screeching! you'll wake the dead! sounds like a cat in heat.
in the backseat of Cotard's white VW, the urn begins glowing yellow then white to match the car shell. the ashes leave the opened urn, swirl in the air of the inside roof, and begin constituting again into the body of Cotard's mother. Kiss does not wake up.
Cotard: i can't sing.