Five Dispatches from the Lobby of the Chateau by Fortunato Salazar

I daydream about vampires, Asterodia, and your voice comes to me. They’re making small talk, the vampires, small talk about how to pronounce the word “fiasco.” I always feel the need to clean up after a dream about how to pronounce that word.

I was lounging in the comfy chair that you landed in like a baby leaf—those baby jacaranda leaves that drift down upon our fluffy omelets—omelets with citron jam—and I was sketching, sketching the drifts of leaves, the leaves in drifts, the Art Deco chair, Asterodia.

*

Their words rolled around and got sticky and did not come out. Uh-huh, it was good and then it got better. Photos of vampires that capture the high notes when they argue with vehemence. The squeaky sticky high notes and the icing that they keep in secret in their stoves.

I stroll out to the blue pill, its surface cradling the reflection of the oven-red neon Buddha. The fumes that issue from the pill make me think of rain upon the sidewalk; you know what I mean by sidewalk. Your hinges working freely suits you in your Ferrari-blue pajamas.

*

Their utterances grew in their minds as their opinions about how to pronounce the word “fiasco,” uttered, grew more virulent. Their rooms, in the dream, were on the second level, the exterior walls hugged by vines: a kind of hugging that has nothing to do with survival.

My Russian friends tended to be wild, and I hid, even if guided by the wrong map from an unreadable bystander, Asterodia. I don’t remember exactly all the stages of the one-shot pass that brought me to this nexus of stone walkways.

*

I had a premonition about the dream. A lanky vampire complimented me on my sweater, its unique color, in the dream; this was after the premonition, obviously. I thought about how to answer the compliment, my mouth opened, I asked myself if I was about to make a good choice.

You walk around barefoot, doing soccer and cooperating, tucked behind a wall. In the daytime you drape the brickwork with your summer skin, evolving in your own way into a formidable little performance brimful with confidence and self-possession.

*

Of course, they’re immortal, and their children (in the dream) were immortal, too, and the children trundled fragile wheeled playthings that sucked something vital from all the people in all the cars that passed below—the people who could not afford a certain kind of insurance, Asterodia.

I wake up on the couch. I try not to look surprised that you’re gone again. I order in some maple grilled cheese and feel my teeth; I run a finger along my teeth because they feel somehow rarefied. I bring a fork out to the drifts and to the red gingham shirt that’s the best half hour of the dusk.


Fortunato Salazar lives in Los Angeles and is an occasional visitor to the lobby of the Chateau.