julioh A V I S U A L T r i p b y luis p r a d o
JULIOH A Visual Trip by Luis Prado Copyright ÂŠ 2009 by Luis Prado All rights reserved. Production: 1806 Works
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julioh A V I S U A L T r i p b y luis p r a d o
A c k nowle d g m ents The author is deeply grateful to his family and friends, to the Seattle School of Visual Concepts, to all the people and organizations that in one way or another helped make this book a reality, and to all the advertising agencies that did not hire him and gave him the motivation to create it. Thank you Sean Anderson; Larry Asher; Josh Brown; Larry Gutiérrez; Cities of Cannon Beach, Denver, Forks, Long Beach, New York and Olympia; Steve Clabuesch/NSF/ USAP; Jane Chavey; Ray Cheng; Kevin Connors; Abbey Corzine; Jim Copacino; Antonio De Lorenzo; Denver Art Museum; Denver Public Library; Jeremy Edwards; Dennis Flannigan; fotolia.com; Mitchell Fox; Fred; Ed Glidden; Grafixar; Tom Habibi; Selden Hall; Linda Hunt; Brian Huseby; Eric Isselée; iStockphotocom; Tomo Jesenicnik; Martin Kawalski; kici; Library of Congress; Barbara & Kenny Loehner; Carlos & Chris Martín; Michaela from Australia; Bob & Holly Miller; mconnors; Sara Lía Molina; morgueFile.com; Barbara & Tim Morrisey; Kentucky Museum; NASA; Olympia Police Department; Andy Ornberg; Radomił Binek; Joanne, Martín, Lucas & Olivia Prado; Humberto & Betty Prado; Stella Prado; Paul Parker; PAWS; Radomil; Mark Rasmussen; Bob Redling; Kurt Reifschneider; Joe Ries; Jessica Ryan; rosevita; Ildar Sagdejev; Jerome Salort; Dan Scamporlina; seriousfun; School of Visual Concepts; Kyle Shorin; Dorian Smith; State of Washington; Arturo, Jennifer & Antero Sievert; Melinda & Keith Spencer; Cullen Stephenson; Von; Bob Wadsworth; University of Washington; David Scherer Water; Sam & Donna Watson; Wikipedia Commons; Jos Wissink; Lenny Young; Bob Ziegler; Michele Zukerberg.
julioh A V I S U A L T r i p b y luis p r a d o
“Push. Push!” “Aaaghhh!” “Now hold it! Hold it dear!” “Aaaghhh!” “Now push, push! Give it all you can. Push now... Yes, that’s it.” As any mother will tell you, this type of pressure can get any woman pushed out of shape. But by golly, this woman was inspired.
They put him on mammaâ€™sâ€Żbreast, and she immediately noticed how round and smooth his head was.
They named him Julio, after Julio CĂŠsar, his grandfather, conqueror of grandmaâ€™s love. And everybody liked him, especially aunt Roberta, who despite her good intentions, was at times a little ... pushy.
His head was smooth all right, but his family loved him, and they read to him. He must have been six when one night his father was reading ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: ... Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes... “That’s not true!” replied Julio, jolting up on the sofa, “pictures are essential.” He grabbed the book from his father’s hands and threw it out the window. “You can’t do that Julio. This will have consequences. Tomorrow you’re not seeing any fireworks. You are grounded.” Julio was devastated. He had been waiting for the show all week. He ran to his room and slammed the door. His mother found him crying in bed. “I wanted to see the show Mom. Now it’s all over,” he sobbed.
“Get dressed Julio. We are going to the hill tonight,” his mother announced the next morning. “Why Mom?, the fireworks show was yesterday, I already missed it.” “It’s alright son,” she said. Going to the mountain was something she had done with Julio ever since he was a baby.
On the hillside Julio’s mother found peace and relief from the daily grind. And Julio was glad to be with her. Besides, how many times did he get her attention? Héctor and María always got in the way. Evening set and they curled up in their blankets. “Tell me a story Mom.” “Once upon a time there was a child that loved to see fireworks,” she said and smiled. “Now close your eyes. Don’t open them yet,” she continued, and gently led him out of the tent. “Sometimes Julio, things don’t happen as expected. You just have to make the best of it.” She then paused and added: “You wanted fireworks right?” “Yeah,” he said. She then held his face up to the sky and whispered in his ear: “Boom!” In a jolt, Julio’s eyes opened...
The starry night couldn’t have been better. Oh, he loved his mother’s gusto for life. And he took note of it. ...................................................... “Smoothie, Smoothie, Julio is a Smoothie!” children teased him. This enraged Julio and unleashed his fury. His friends soon were also seeing stars, at daylight of course, thanks to Julio’s generous punches. Before long his mother got frustrated at Julio’s lack of problem-solving skills. He shared a small room with Héctor, his older brother, who quarreled with him. Héctor wanted a separate room and argued he could not sleep because of the light coming from Julio’s side. Eventually, Héctor found a solution...
Time passed and harsh times descended upon Julio’s family. His father left town for weeks looking for work. And his mother learned to survive with a vegetable garden, some chicken, Biby the cow, two sons, a daughter, and three hungry cats. Oh, wait, a few hamsters too. One cold October afternoon Mom noticed the chicken coop was not quite in order. Hay and eggs were scattered all over the ground. Not happy, she asked Julio for help. “What do you want me to do Mom?” “I don’t know Julio. Do something about it. I need help. Now move! Get me some eggs and clean up this mess for heaven’s sake!” she snapped and went back to the house. An hour later Julio was back to Mom’s surprise...
I brought you something better Mom. They’re ideas. Extra large, and guaranteed fresh.
“What the—? What happened to the eggs? What have you done with the darn eggs Julio?” she yelled while shaking his fragile shoulders. “I sold them at the market Mom. Here,” he said as he handed some coins to her. “This is what they gave me. They’ll pick up more next week.” ....................................................... Years went by and the light bulb ideas— though helpful at times, were taking a toll on his family. They had become Julio’s obsession. But it was amiable Grandma the most bothered of all. She cut her visit short, upset at Julio’s exhausting creative sessions.
Dammit! Julio’s been brainstorming again.
Something deep inside compelled Julio. One evening after watching TV all day, he heard his calling. He was going to make it in advertising as an idea man. ‘When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either,’ Leo Burnett once said. This inspired Julio, but also bothered him cosmically. He was not going to settle with stardust. All of this was reinforced by Julio’s Catholic education which pivoted around faith. In dreams, black outﬁtted priests whispered in his ear: “Work hard Julio and God will help you.” If only God would give him a chance. It turns out, he got one. An art director in charge of the hottest agency in town, still recalls entering his office one morning and ﬁnding it, well, hot. A cloud of smoke was so thick he could barely see his desk from the door. What he could clearly see was what Julio later described as ‘an annunciation.’
Your prayers have been answered. Julioh has come.
The candles had touched a curtain and the ﬂames spread around. Luckily, the headline and the battery-operated light bulb remained intact. Julio’s record with the police, not. “Julio Hernández, come here now!” his father summoned him. “Didn’t I teach you better? If you don’t have a job, you do something about it, but you do not burn down houses! Do you understand?” He then got closer to him and said: “Look me in the eye Julio. You better shape up. To your room. Now!” The truth is, dad was concerned he was too strict with Julio. He feared his son would resent him all his life. After Julio left the room, he sunk down in his chair, closed his eyes and imagined a conversation with Julio as an adult, and himself, much, much older...
I donâ€™t like this place Julio. What can you do about it Dad?
That conversation never happened. Julio’s father died later that year. He was twenty eight. ........................................................... At nineteen, Julio finally got into an ad agency. At nineteen and a half, he hated it. Day after day retail ads were his task, and his boss—though friendly and gregarious, always changed Julio’s ideas with uninspired concepts. But what really upset Julio was the day his boss made fun of his plans of going to North America. “Ha! So you wanna’ be an adman up north? Not that easy boy. Nobody knows you there. You are a nobody. You need connections... You are alone.”
Julio didnâ€™t say a word. Disturbed, he walked out of the room, tumbled downstairs and fell. He saw a mirror, looked and realized Iâ€™m not alone.
That evening, port workers saw a man with a hat sneaking onto a northbound clipper. Destination: North America.
After a month of rough seas, Julio was ready for action. As the ship entered the Long Island Sound estuary, he noticed a patrol boat approaching the ship. With no delay, he jumped overboard and swam unnoticed below the surface towards the coast. What he didnâ€™t notice was that an outfall was discharging sewage into the waters...
When he emerged, his round head was covered with— let’s just say stuff. A couple jogging on the rocky shore saw him and wondered: “Did you see that man? Who is he anyway?” It was Julio, Julio indeed, who was now ready to conquer the world.
He had planned it all along. He just knew this light bulb period had to end the only way he knew possible: Challenging the originator of the whole darn clichĂŠ. He lifted his bag and without hesitation, he walked non-stop to Fairfield, Connecticut. Right there, the windmills were waiting.
It didn’t take long for the security guards to grab him. He found himself in a dark room and was pushed to a chair. “Who are you?” they asked him. Julio looked down in silence. “Who are you, I said!” the guard yelled and lifted Julio’s head while pointing a pendant light to his face. “I am your son. Don’t you recognize me?” The guards were puzzled. “Wait a minute,” Julio continued. “You are not— You are not my father.” Pointing his finger to the spiral fluorescent light bulb, he added: “What happened to you? Where is that smooth soft roundness? Where is that warm and cheerful glow? Oh my, you are so twisted... Saaancho! We are leaving!”
As you can imagine, he was quickly kicked out as a deranged stranger. And he didnâ€™t come back. A spotty environmental record and a tough recession made the conglomerate no match for Julio.
He packed his bags and headed west following the Hudson River, where a large barge carrying river sediment caught his attention. “Could this be possible? No way... It must be my ecomagination,” Julio suspected. In fact, it was possible. General Eléctrico had just started the long awaited dredging of the Upper Hudson River to remove PCB-contaminated sediment. Julio was ecstatic to see the restoration of the river. He continued south, establishing in the Hudson Valley, north of Nueva York, where he ended up dredging another type of waste, doing janitorial work for an Italian restaurant. He came to admire Humbertino, the owner and chef, who gave him gourmet delicacies during breaks. Julio recognized a drive in this peculiar man that he knew well.
“Whatever you do Julio, do it well, and do it with honesty,” Humbertino said while analyzing an olive in the garden. “Come to the countryside with me,” he continued, while sipping off a glass of Malbec.
“We need young hens for this evening’s special.”
Last time Julio saw him, the chef was leaving for an unplanned vacation. As a farewell, he cooked a superb dinner for the kitchen crew. The waiters had left. The bartender was counting the tips. Almost done with the dishes, Julio looked at his boss and said: â€œHumbertino, you are out of this world.â€?
Julio shared an apartment with six friends from the restaurant. He couldn’t understand why the hardest jobs were the lowest paid. He was also missing his family. Depressing soft rock songs kept him company at night, and he dreamed of a good job in advertising. He scoured the web, the newspapers, trade magazines. He quickly narrowed the search: ‘The Agency,’ a whole page ad announced, was the biggest agency in Nueva York. “That’s the one,” he said. “I must reach them.”
Last year: Dishwasher.
Six months ago: Busboy.
Chances are, my next job will be in advertising.
At night, he moonlighted as a pizzadelivery driver. With every delivery his fear and impatience grew. Aided with a flashlight, he desperately searched for addresses. Adding to his anxiety, the thirty-minute delivery policy made him develop an acute sense of time and frustration. He was bringing hot stuff and it was getting colder by the minute. â€œHow can I find houses if they have no numbers?â€? he puzzled over. Interestingly, someone knew how to find... him.
La Migra! his friends shouted one morning. Oh, what a mess. Everyone was running. Clothes were flying. Julio? He was running, to the beach. Sometimes I wonder why. They had no boats, just an open sea and bare feet to run, away...
A wild idea must have crossed his mind, because he stopped dead in his tracks and turned towards the patrol car. Calls to freeze didn’t stop him. He just kept running, then sank to the ground and was gone. “Where— where did he go?!” the officers yelled. His friends were worried now. The truth is, he was sneaking behind the patrol car...
“What the—? Where is this guy?” they shouted again. Then, out of the blue, Julio‘s head popped up on the passenger’s side window. With a business card on his head, he looked at the officer, and in perfectly pitched English said: “Aim high, please.”
A well connected local priest saved him from deportation. “Behave Julio!” the lanky cleric told him. “You can’t pull silly stunts like these. How did you get here?” “I was lured by a box.” “By a box?” “Yes, Father. A glass box, you know, the one that sits in most people’s living rooms... Beautiful images. Challenges. Freedom. Possibilities. And I believed it.” “You need a visa Julio.” “Birds migrate Father, and nobody asks them for a visa. Why can’t we? When I left Argentina, my mother said to me: ‘Go Julio, and fly free as a bird.’ “Well, Julio, birds also crash into windows. You’re gonna have to fly higher my friend.” “And higher I’ll fly Father. Remember my words. I will soar over Manhattan, and when I land, I’ll be the best adman in town.”
And he tried. More calls. More resumés sent. More portfolios left for review. In return, he got more rejection letters. The truth is the only thing climbing to corporate status was his phone bill. To make matters worse, he received a letter from his family. Inside the envelope, a photo of a cow was clipped to a brief note: Dear brother. You will not like to hear this, but Biby, our cow, has died. Mother, sister and I sold her to the butcher. You have to understand, we needed the money and couldn’t refuse their offer. Please forgive us. The note was signed by Héctor, his brother. All of a sudden, Julio’s daily trip to the fast food restaurant took a whole new meaning.
“May I help you?” “Let’s see, I’ll have a...”
“...double burger with cheese, large fries...”
â€œ...also a beef taco, beans on the side, and a stake burrito...â€?
â€œ...Mmm, make it two double burgers, the fries and a medium soda...â€?
“Will that be all?” “Yup, that’s all.” “Eleven dollars and ninety cents please.”
“Hi! May I help you?”
“Sir?... May I help you?” “Sorry,” said Julio. “I—, I’ll have a single burger please.” He sat down in a corner and ate the burger. Then he slowly walked back to his apartment where he drifted away into slumber. After a while, he got up, searched through his suitcase, scattered clothes and drawers. He found a black marker and a pair of scissors. He pulled up a chair and, with detailed precision, he cut out Biby’s picture...
Biby. It’s what’s for dinner.
Della appears in J ulio â€™ s L ife
Under great stress, he roamed the streets at night. “Why do ads have people smiling all the time?” he wondered as he leaned to vomit on the sidewalk. ‘The secret of success is providing the right honey for the right ﬂy at the right time and place,’ they say. If only this was the time. Late one night, Della, a beautiful woman from Human Resources, was leaving The Agency when she noticed a strange-looking man perched high on the building’s ledge. He was wearing a cape, and what appeared to be some kind of comic-book custom. “Gosh, I love the diversity of this city,” she said as she walked to the dark parking lot. Intrigued, she witnessed his next moves... “Wait!” she yelled. It was too late. He had already jumped into the shadows. When she ran to find him, he had vanished.
Yes ofﬁcer, and the man left a gray ﬂannel suit with a business card in the pocket.
Luckily, Julio fell on top of a big container full of shredded paper. He got up and walked away unnoticed. Curious about this man, Della called him. They met, and became friends. She thought he was cute, but a bit naive. “The Agency is laying off people,” she told him. Julio just listened and marveled at her smile. On weekends they drove to the country in her small convertible. Julio felt great. The wind in their faces. The sky above. At dusk they took refuge in her small apartment. He loved her pep talk and she listened to him. She had became an inspiration and kept him going. “Julio,” she said, “some day you’ll make it.” At night they made love under the stars. He was in love. He felt young and strong. Anything was possible.
o i l ju
Donâ€™t move them. Make them.
Julio was pumped up. And Della was enjoying it. She thrilled every time Julio walked up the hill to see her after his late night-shift at Humbertinoâ€™s. And she loved the camping trips. No agency work, no stress. Just her and Julio in the naked wilderness.
“Mmmm... this soup is quite good Julio. Have you tried the split pea?” she asked. Julio’s eyes gleamed. “Oh yes,” he said after sipping from the steaming cup, adding with a smile, “indeed Della, indeed...”
S P L I T P E A | C H I C K E N V E G E TA B L E | C hic k en Barle y | A N D O T H E R FI N E S O U P S
I take the kids.
C H I C K E N V E G ETA BLE | C hic k en Barle y | S PLIT PE A | A N D OTH E R FI N E SO U PS
Della worked with Roger, an engaging creative director, who often talked about a Vac-Yum machine campaign he was working on. Garbage here, garbage there, the conversation led to... “A haystack in this building you said?” “Oh yeah, haven’t you seen it? Roger said. “C’mon, I’ll show you.” A narrow hallway led them to a discrete door near the parking lot. Roger opened it. “See?” he said as he put his hand on her shoulder. A huge pit filled with shredded paper could be seen below. “Wow!” said Della. “Where is all this paper coming from?” “Do you have any idea of how much trash we get in the mail?” Roger replied. “Tons. Unsolicited portfolio samples, resumés, you name it.” He moved closer now. “Mmm... Is that Chanel N°5?” he now whispered in her ear. Della moved to the left and said “N° fly Roger, N° fly,” and pushed him away. He fell to the haystack on his back with a surprise look on his face. “Oooouuch!”
Julio was not happy knowing that Roger was pursuing Della. True, Julio needed Roger to get in, but he wondered about the creative director’s true intentions. “He is not the one,” Roger said as he handed Julio’s portfolio to her. “What do you mean he is not the one?” “Well, you know, he’s not the right fit for the agency. He has no experience. He won’t do well Della.” “How can you tell? You haven’t even given him a chance.” “Have you given me a chance Della?” he replied. Without saying a word, Della straightened herself and left. At least I tried she thought.
T h e C a m p a i g n P i tc h
Unconvinced by Della’s explanation, Julio insisted. “How can I reach this guy? Nothing has worked. This agency is impermeable... Mmm, let’s see,” he said, “I know they’re now working on a few campaigns: Vac-Yum Machines North American Beef Lobby Fix-That-Flat Inflator Advertising Convention Hush Hush Campaign Da Dance Gang Academy But wait! Della says he likes B-movies... That’s it!”
â€œNow what about this Da Dance Gang Academy campaign? The strategy pitch says their classes are results-oriented. Tango lessons. No experience needed. Mmm... this sounds interesting...â€?
Weâ€™ll make sure you do well. d ad ance g an g b e g inn e rs we l co m e e nr o lln ow
And he kept trying. One afternoon, after inquiring for the ‘who knows?’ time about job openings at The Agency, he saw Roger avidly talking to a person he hadn’t seen before. And he was nodding frequently. “Who is that man? An important client perhaps? Could they be talking about a new campaign? Is that Roger’s boss?” he wondered. Julio couldn’t help it and caught the end of their conversation...
... the truth is Roger, we need the best, and we need â€˜em young... And we are prepared to offer more money...
“Yes!” Julio’s heart leaped as he tried to keep his feet on the ground. With a grin on his face he murmured “Oh my gosh, they’re hiring. The Agency is hiring.” In an instant, he ran to the street. “The sun is out, the sun is out.” Julio’s updated portfolio
was at The Agency the next morning.
Days passed and his outlook dimmed. To complicate matters, his relationship with Della was not going well. One late night while getting in bed, he reached to embrace her only to find a bunch of neatly arranged pillows under the covers. Confused, he looked up and saw a silhouette against the moon-lit open window. “Della?” “Surprised?” she said. “That’s what I find each night Julio. Pillows, just fluffy pillows...” “You’re right. They’re too soft. Let’s get new pillows!” Julio quickly replied. A deafening silence followed. “Not funny Julio. Every night I wait for you. And where are you? Staring at the computer of course, working on, yet again, another endless campaign. I had it Julio, I’m fed up!” Julio didn’t say a word. He got dressed and headed out the door. He needed some fresh air. What’s next? he thought. A few blocks later a tire went flat. He opened the trunk and there it was. A sense of relief showered him. A can of ‘Fix That Flat.’ At least something is working today.
...and then I get these empty feelings, like unfulfilled dreams...
Lucky little bastard.
...and I promise to love her all the days of my life, in sickness and in health, until dearth do
a cold D e c e m b e r i n Nu e v a Y or k
Julio entered The Agency and walked to the reception desk. His briefcase was heavy. He leaned on the counter and waited for attention. A poster on the wall announced a New Year’s Eve advertising convention in an ocean liner. A slamming door startled him. Roger burst in. “Are they here yet?” he asked the young woman behind the counter. Peering over her glasses, she handed him the phone. “It’s for you sir. Your clients are waiting.” Roger grabbed the phone and said he was on his way. Inadvertently, he picked up Julio’s briefcase and rushed to the elevators. When he entered the room he had a smile on his face. He was eager to show them the new campaign. “Gentlemen. This is it,” Roger said as he opened the briefcase. Just then, the phone rang. It was Julio...
“Don’t get so excited Roger. Take only one card. Now of course, if you want to share, that’s OK too.”
Roger couldn’t hide his anger. “Aaaaghh!” he screamed in exasperation, and in one great heave, he threw the briefcase out the window. The visiting group was stunned. They instantly ducked under the table. “Was that a bomb?” one of them asked. ”Yes, er— explosive,” Roger replied blushing. Hundreds, no, thousands of cards flew out onto the street. Still shaking, Roger turned around and faced the green-clad group. “Er... please... excuse my outburst.” “It’s alright,” the group’s lead man said as he opened his cell phone. “I want every trace of that briefcase found.” By now, Julio had already explored the other briefcase. It contained a thick folder labeled ‘U.S. Army Recruiting Campaign. Target Audience: Teenagers.’ As he walked out, he tossed the briefcase into a can labeled ‘Garbage.’ “Julio, look!” cried Della, who’d just joined him...
They couldn’t believe their eyes. The white cards were falling all over the street. Wonderful he thought. Della looked in awe and gasped. “Julio, um, how many cards did you print?” “Er... some?” he replied. 167
As they ran to the street, a car parked in the snow caught Julioâ€™s attention...
“How strange. It feels like déja vù,” Julio said. “The roof. Look at the roof of the car.” His thoughts took him back to childhood...
“Why do all the graves look the same Mom? Papá was different... ...Why did he go to war?” “To protect us. At least that’s what he thought. They convinced him that it was the right thing to do, and they offered him money. Your father was a brave man Julio. Now he’s gone... Let’s go, it’s late.”
‘Swiiish! Swiiish!’ A sucking sound woke up Julio from memories. A tank-like Vac-Yum machine had turned the corner. The card-sucker was gobbling up everything. No small corner or alley was left. Like goofballs chasing balloons, they ran after the few remaining cards. Then, the unexpected. Coming from nowhere, a bird picked up the last flying card and started swirling left and right, up and down between the buildings. A large crowd had already gathered on the street. Inside, a lanky priest heard the rumble and rushed outside. “What’s all the commotion?” he cried.
â€œUp there Father. Can you see it? Up in the sky!â€? someone shouted. Then again, the loud sound of the Vac-Yum machine startled the crowd. It was closing in, and this time, the operator had a gun.
“Nooo!” Della screamed and raced to the machine. Her legs could barely be seen. The operator looked at her in disbelief. There’s no way he could have stopped her. She jumped over two cars and pushed him down. ‘Bang!’ The bird fell. The card flew away. Across Manhattan, right into the Hudson River. It disappeared in the blink of an eye. Julio’s face dropped. “There! By the fish. That’s the one,” Della said as the elusive card popped up behind a tidal wave. Julio bounced back with a smile. He ran to the waterfront, grabbed a small boat, kissed Della on the cheeks, and jumped into the river. An hour later Julio found himself rowing in the open sea.
Nearby, an ocean liner with advertising executives had already started the end of year celebration. Their singing could be heard from Julioâ€™s small boat. ... Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind...
With the card in sight, he needed to hurry. The ocean liner was approaching it fast. He extended his arm to reach it but missed the card. The small boat tilted and Julio fell into the icy waters. Meanwhile, in the Grand Salon, the advertising elite prepared for the endof-year toast. They lifted their glasses and the countdown started. Ten, nine, eight, seven... This is eerie Julio thought while struggling to stay afloat. He could now hear their laughter as the ship got closer to the card. Who would have thought. In a clear night like this. The truth is, no one was aware of what they were running into...
The wild one.
Tall, dark, and handsome.
Let him surround you. The worldâ€Ż will be yours.
Oh, yes. Julio is the one.
Julio reached the coast exhausted. A heavy fog surrounded the beach. He saw a building and walked to the entrance. “It’s closed sir,” a night man greeted him. “Please,” Julio insisted. Another foreigner, the man thought after hearing Julio’s accent. Many nights alone had soured him. His only companion was a small radio that he played at all times—to himself. It may have been Julio’s pathetic appearance what persuaded him to let him in. He gave him a towel and offered a change of clothes. “What’s upstairs?” asked Julio. “Follow me.” The chamber was silent. You could hear each footstep as they climbed a narrow staircase. When they reached the top, Julio looked out the windows and noticed the room had quite a view. “I wish I could own this place,” he said. The man looked at him and replied:
This place is not for sale sir.
The blunt statement caught Julio by surprise. Some explosions broke the quiet night, and the sky brightened. Fireworks? Distressâ€Żrockets perhaps?
How ironic, he thought. Here he was, where he had always dreamed. The place seemed dark and confining, and a feeling of being trapped inside came to him. “Sir, you have to leave.” “Just a minute,” Julio replied. Another distress rocket lit up the sky. For a moment Julio’s eyes seemed to reflect the sparkle. He smiled and rushed down the spiral staircase. His steps were fast and irregular, though never managing to fall. Oh yes! This time he was the one in control. “From now on, I’ll be on my own,” he said. He reached the ground, looked up and saw a sign. It read: ‘Exit.’
The next morning locals recall seeing a group of people sifting through the beach. Skeptics say they were looking for razor clams. I still believe they were after a business card. Julio? I heard he married Della, moved west, had three children, does freelance work, and lives happy, as a clam.
As for the card, here it is. It was found in the sand. Julioâ€™s name washed out by the sea. Take it. Get a pen and write your name on it. Then, with all your might, throw it up in the air. Hey, who knows, you might see fireworks tonight.
For more information, visit: julioh.com If you are a publisher, send an email to: email@example.com The author would love to see this book in print. Thank you.