Borges Jones wasn’t precisely a tailor. Neither a man who got his education at an elite fashion school in Milan. He would surf his way around as an ordinary fellow. The average colors on his American cotton clothes squeezed from Bangladesh sweatshops. But nothing on him, superficially speaking, was ordinary except for the number of limbs he carried and the number of blinks per minute his left eye executed. And because he had a tic on the right eye, I can presume, though not confirm, of his dubious eyes synchronicity.
By nature or nurture, Borges Jones’ way of seeing had the manners of a lobbyist, usually negotiating asymmetries. Supporting lunch breaks with antagonisms. Requiring cocktail talks with paradoxes. No white could ravel in its whiteness without a black opponent. The radius of a circle would be challenged as he made a counterclockwise revision. He would force verticality, no matter how cruel the blow the slam the humiliation, to kneel down until it broke off to horizontality.
Janus was the two faced Roman god trading his greeting and farewell, permanently. A monster, as all gods are, Janus had been born out of an alter ego explosion in a megalomaniac’s dream. Jones’ face was a lacerated half of this monster. With a hello rising from the eastern edge of his lips to a fading good bye by the time it reached the west. A mournful violin unveiling extremes without transitions. (My own god, the result of my private monotheistic religion, is a monster as well, but I dreamt of her, the illusion of a perfect synthesis –mind not the oxymoron; yes, she fails me, I never expected perfection in my spiritual Galatea.)
But Borges Jones was no different than any other human I’d gotten to know until then. Intersected by beginnings and ends, his existential journey was the constant disturbance of wishing for peace while enjoying war. As the god of the past and the future, Janus held the door knobs, tensed the bridges’ suspensions, kept open the mouths of tunnels and caves for extravagance entrances or introverted exits. Borges Jones wanted to be the scissors for each umbilical chord, the eyes and sockets of a traveller and the contents of his pockets, the sender and the addressee almost as much as the script of the hand written letter, which he’d straighten up to a tight rope wire and whip with it every writer’s ass.
His job at the workshop was to craft custom orders of human size crosses, gibbets or gallows. Crosses were popular, especially this year, with the renovations of Our Lady of the Sea to commemorate her 800th anniversary. A group of artists, philosophers & writers had been commissioned to rethink and redesign the fourteen chapels of the Basilica that flanked the nave. Creativity was finally permitted to land on fertile soil: the Catholic Church real estate. I’m not sure this was the secret scheme of an artist, a mischievous anonymous soul, or a Cardinal in disguise. What mattered to atheist Borges Jones was the fact that the production of crosses was about to increase and he might even try one for himself, why not. The new catalog of crosses, available to individuals and institutions, offered a wide range of choices. The wooden beams could come in a lacquered birch, assemble yourself Ikea-style; or in mahogany from the Roche-Bobois top designers. Alternative material to wood is the polyethylene cross, a commercial hit at first because of its affordable prices. As a result of concerns about being green in the 21st century and an ethical & conscientious industry rather than an environmentally neglectful one, the engineers manufactured a bio-derived polyethylene cross, made from sugar cane. (The question on the fair treatment and retribution to the almost-slave Brazilian workers got lost among the roars of the machines when the eight year old daughter of the principal shareholder of the business uttered it in sad yet hopeful tones). There was also a variation to this recycling cross: an ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, better known as EVA, a material widely used in sporting goods, that would resist the pressure and depth of any type of nail without scarring or breaking the beam.
Borges Jones was feeling some unusual satisfaction that morning. He stepped out of the shop to get some fresh air and buy a pack of smokes. Down from the alleyways of the barrio del Born the blue sky of Barcelona looked like a suspended beam of light, one of those pieces by James Turrell. He thought it was James Turrell’s turn to be his private secret God during that stroll. Once he got his Ducados he walked down to Our Lady of the Sea. Leaning on the medieval stone of its Gothic construction, he lit a cigarrette and debated on the rhythmic nature of existing. I have the right to interrupt my breathing, to skip an inhalation. What is one inhalation? One inhalation, one as nothing, one such a short number, reduced to the minimal, one as one unnecessary. What if I skip a day of my past, or a year, what’s a day when I’ve accumulated dozens of thousands. History is on the H, on the capital ACHE.