quinta-feira, maio 13, 2004

The Surf Guru

Allan Weisbecker é um surfista.
Seus dois livros, Cosmic Banditos (este lançado, por incrível que pareça, no Brasil) e In search of Captain Zero, já fazem parte da mitologia do surfe. São obras literárias com qualidade para sensibilizar um punhado de senhores de meia idade que o elegeram como um ícone do submundo de uma cultura hoje dominada pelo mercado orientado exclusivamente para adolescentes.
Conheci Allan em 94, no Caribe, entre um surfezinho e uma cerveja, batendo papo furado. O assunto era sempre iniciado pelo fascínio que ele tem pelo Brasil e seu desejo de conhecer a famosa 'Girl from Ipanema', mas volta e meia descambava para a situação atual, de 94, das revistas de surfe americanas.
Rendiam, as conversas...
O mundo dá voltas, Allan me enviou umas belas fotos que fez na ocasião, sumiu por alguns anos e voltou à carga com um saite do cacete.
Virei assinante, retomei a correspondência e recebo a sua mensagem coletiva chamada 'Down South Perspectives'.
Venho acompanhando a venda dos direitos de seu último livro, ...Captain Zero, para Sean Penn (tambem surfista), determinado a levar o capitão Zero para o cinema.
Durante todo esse tempo, Allan mudou-se para Pavones, arrumou um mulher e ainda arranja tempo para atualizar o saite.
Abaixo vai um texto que ele nos recomenda no último DSP, imperdível.
No saite voces podem ter acesso exclusivo ao script, o primeiro deles, do filme 'In Search of Captain Zero', 115 páginas que irão virar película quando Hollywood resolver se merecemos, ou não.
Allan já recebeu por isso e passa boa parte do seu tempo fazendo pesquisas nos arredores de Pavones, patroa de um lado, prancha do outro.

Allan no seu ambiente de trabalho: bala na agulha - e não me refiro à pistola...

The Surf Guru
A Short Story by Doug Dorst

The Surf Guru spends most of his time sitting expectantly on the redwood deck of his dull-green, two-story house atop the cliff at Padre Point, a favorite spot for surfers in the know. He watches the surfers and looks out at the ocean. He often sips Chianti as he watches and looks.

Sometimes he nods off in the afternoon and only awakens late at night, when the ocean breeze tickles his nose with smoke from bonfires on the sand below.

No one but the dog sleeps in his master bedroom.

His business
He owns a company that makes fine equipment for the well-prepared surfer as well as for the casual beachgoer. The name of the company is GOO-ROO, and it appears on surfboards, wetsuits, quick-release leashes, wax, bathing suits, SPF-36 waterproof sunblock, fashion eyewear, sport sandals, sneakers, sheepskin ComfyBoots, sarongs, raingear, beach towels, fanny packs, umbrellas, neckties, EZ-rinse home hair-bleaching systems, pressure-tested shock-resistant waterproof chronographs, moist towelettes, feature films, and dog food.

For years, GOO-ROO has been at the forefront of beach technology. The Surf Guru innovates, quietly, as if he were dreaming, and then two M.B.A.s, Chad and Olivia, bring his visions to the marketplace. Everyone who surfs at Padre Point wears GOO-ROO and rides GOO-ROO. Everyone except the red-haired boy.

Some say the Surf Guru controls the tides.

The red-haired boy
At this very moment, sunset is approaching and the red-haired boy is surfing a three-foot swell. He rides a LoweRider board and wears a LoweRider wetsuit. Both of these items cost significantly less than their GOO-ROO equivalents.

The boy thinks his LoweRider board is more responsive than any GOO-ROO board he has ever tried. And unlike his old GOO-ROO wetsuit, the LoweRider model doesn’t chafe him in the neck and crotch.

In the Surf Guru’s eyes, the red-haired boy is not unlike someone who invites himself to dinner and then insults the cook.

When LoweRider products first came on the market, the Surf Guru asked Olivia to invite Mr. Lowe to the dull-green house for lunch. He wanted to meet his competition.

“That’s impossible,” Olivia said. “There is no Mr. Lowe. He is a marketing fiction.”

The Surf Guru poured some Chianti into a GOO-ROO coffee mug. “So many fictions,” he sighed.

The Surf Guru’s wife, cinematically
He met his wife on the beach. He was surfing, trying out a board fitted with prototypes of the soon-to-be-famous GOO-ROO HydroRip fins. She was a sunburned Art History and Modern Thought double-major looking for her car keys in the sand. He came out of the water and found her keys instantly, as if he could see things she couldn’t. Six months later, they were married.

After ten years, she had had enough.

“You are so remote,” she said.

“I am not remote.”

“Then you are stoic.”

“I am not stoic.”

“You are no fun.”

“The dog thinks I’m great fun.”

“You are turgid,” she said.

“That is an interesting word. The word turgid is itself quite turgid. It is very successful at being what it is.”

“Unlike this marriage, which is not successful at being anything,” she responded cinematically. She packed up her things, leaving behind only her GOO-ROO apparel.

She took all the dog food in the house and dumped it on the front steps. It was a symbolic action, she said, and she hoped it would haunt him.

Stray dogs congregated in front of the house for weeks.

Drainage, Part I
He watches the surfers every day, admiring their fluid recklessness, their sense of community. He pretends not to notice when they glance up at him with furtive reverence.

Some of them are kids, trying to catch a few good waves before or after school. Some are in their twenties, hoping for a breath of freedom before they head off to their jobs drafting contracts or designing urban drainage systems or selling fitness accessories. Some are older than the Surf Guru himself; they are gray-haired and leather-skinned, and they just stay all day.

Sometimes he feels like he is watching over a nursery school, where children play Duck-Duck-Goose and learn other social skills. Hefeels proud whenever he sees the kids he watched grow up return with their own children, to pass on the legacy of the waves.

All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place whence the rivers come, thither they return.

He wears many hats, not altogether metaphorically. His favorites are the fez, the miter, and the mortarboard, but he has many others, from all corners of the globe. When he feels giddy (often, but not always, from too much Chianti), he opts for a hat with a plume--the puckish Tyrolean, perhaps, or the stately shako. When the aches in his fused vertebrae tell him a storm is coming, he dons the biretta, the hat of wariness and watchfulness.


Drainage, Part II
Chad and Olivia bring him a financial report every Wednesday. The report tells him how much went to manufacturing and promotions, how much to his ex-wife and the attorneys, how much was lost in the latest Wall Street panic, and how much was shrewdly invested in livestock farms and vacation properties he will never use. Included under “personal consumption” is the money spent on Chianti, microwavable vegetarian entrees, and hats.

Each week he pretends to read the report carefully. When Chad and Olivia leave, he whispers to the dog, “It is essential that they believe I care deeply. This is how the world works.”

Fetching, Part I
The dog has uncanny and perhaps miraculous skill in fetching.

They share a small but important ritual: The Surf Guru will throw a tennis ball off the deck of the dull-green house into the ocean, and the dog will scamper away and return with the ball in under three minutes. Every time. “Faster than you can boil an egg,” he once boasted to his wife.

Neap tide
The red-haired boy, frustrated by the calm surf, slaps the water with an open palm, demanding one good set before he calls it a day. Moments later, as the sun nicks the horizon, a head-high wave rises from nowhere. He positions himself for it perfectly.

He drives down the line into a heavy roundhouse cutback, then glides through a string of graceful turns in the pocket.

The Surf Guru applauds, quietly, with his fingertips.

Fear (The largest eyes of all)
Sharks rarely venture into the bay. They prefer the darker, bruise-blue waters off the coast, where fear is easier to come by.

Bobby Santos is molting
Three years ago: It is a cold, rainy morning, just past dawn, and Bobby Santos, a regular, has Padre Point to himself. Even the Surf Guru is gone, convinced by Chad to make a rare promotional appearance at the GOO-ROO Aloha Cup at Waimea.

The wind is up and the waves are big. Bobby needs to clear his head, and this is the way to do it. He rides double-overhead waves for an hour and feels his spirit rise up and dance a rhumba with the sea. He is oblivious to the hangover, to the rent he can’t pay, to the accusations of squandered potential, to the green-eyed girl who won’t return his calls.

He is also oblivious to the fin rising and falling in the surf behind him.

Bobby catches a set wave, but drops into it too late. He manages to carve off the bottom into a floater, then elevator-drops and loses his balance. He pitches into the water and is driven into the sand below. There is a slashing pain in his ankle, a wrenching tug. Then fire in his legs and side, a glimpse of thrashing gray and a flat black eye, a strange warmth bathing his body. A crushing blow to his chest that squeezes the air out of him, and, with that, a mysterious clarity: he remembers that he should yank on the shark’s gill slits, a trick he learned from the GOO-ROO Surfer’s Survival Guide. He grabs and grabs and grabs and yanks.

Then he finds himself on the beach inside a ring of panicking people, and he calmly, sleepily, stares at the cuff still fastened around his ankle, at the rubber cord that trails from it, at the frayed edge where the leash was bitten through.

In the hospital, they have to cut open his GOO-ROO wetsuit. They try to sew him up, but Bobby has lost too much blood. He dies on the table amid the remains of his wetsuit. The sight of this discarded skin of black neoprene prompts the doctor to tell the local news it looked like poor Bobby was molting.

The Surf Guru returns to Padre Point immediately and arranges a ceremony for Sunday afternoon. He spends thousands of dollars on flowers -- hyacinths, lilacs, and mums. With a single phone call to the city council, he has the road that runs along the cliff closedfor the day.

Everyone comes. Some weep. Some vow revenge against all things selachian. Some throw flowers off the cliff. Some of the flowers fall into the water; some come to rest on the cliffside.

The Surf Guru watches the ceremony from his deck. He wears the Greek fisherman’s cap, the hat of sorrow and solitude.

Survival of the fittest
The GOO-ROO Surfer’s Survival Guide, priced at $16.95, is also available with the Surf Guru’s autograph on the inside front cover for $19.95. Even though the autographed version has sold 750,000 units, only three purchasers have complained in writing that the autograph looks suspiciously like a dog’s pawprint.

The red-haired boy does not own the Surfer’s Survival Guide, but he knows that if a shark ever attacks him, he should yank on its gill slits. “It’s intuitive,” he says.

The Surf Guru, upon rising this morning
Surfers fill the bay. A hundred GOO-ROO boards twinkling. A hundred black wetsuits with GOO-ROO stamped in screaming green across the chest. It is an ordinary sight, but today he is taken aback. So many pieces of himself, spread across the water, carried by the waves like so much flotsam.

He eats a big breakfast. He worries that he has been losing weight.

(for a poodle, maybe)
His wife once bought a patchwork doggie sweater at a church craft fair, but the dog bit her when she tried to force its legs into the sleeves.

Later, he and the dog played fetch with the sweater until it fell apart. From inside the house, she watched them with mercury eyes.

Room 613, The Paradise Hotel & Casino, Reno

-- We shouldn’t do this.
-- I’m not his wife anymore.
-- That is an excellent point. Still, it doesn’t feel right. He trusts me.
-- You deny yourself too much.
-- I don’t understand.
-- Is that all you want? To be his lackey? Is that your destiny? Your karma? Your raison d’être?
-- Come to think of it, I would like to play the saxophone professionally. I’d like to be the man who resuscitates bebop.
-- Then make it happen. Believe in yourself.
-- I’ll need money.
-- Yes, you will. But you’re resourceful. Of your many fine qualities, it is perhaps the finest.
-- I love you.
-- Sshhh. Don’t spoil everything.

A fine vintage, Part I
The red-haired boy picks off a nice right and executes a quick barrel and a big vertical snap. He swoops long, smooth lines across the wall of water.

The Surf Guru pours another glass of Chianti. Even though his back is killing him, he puts on a beret, the hat of restrained contentment.

Closed out
The trophy case in the dull-green house is empty. All 79 of the Surf Guru’s trophies were sold to a surf-themed pizza chain owned by an aging former star of Hollywood beach movies. They are now mounted on the walls of Shred-Boy Pizza franchises in 16 cities worldwide, including brand-new airport locations in Athens and Las Vegas.

Olivia calls Chad in a panic. Next year’s line of GOO-ROO boards, the Poseidon Series, must be renamed. LoweRider, it seems, has just filed on all commercial uses of “Poseidon.”

“Someone must have told them,” she says. “It’s corporate espionage.”

“I really doubt that,” says Chad quickly. “It must be a coincidence.”

Olivia searches for a suitable alternative. Neptune? Triton? Apollo? Vishnu? Quetzalcoatl? Ra? It’s no use. All the gods have been trademarked. Nothing

GOO-ROO dog food is a bomb. No matter how bright the colors on the bag, no matter how scrupulously the ads are targeted, it’s a money-loser year in and year out. Finally, Olivia suggests they cut production costs by using cereal fillers and fewer organic flavorings. The Surf Guru shakes his head -- the dog enjoys GOO-ROO dog food, will eat nothing but. Olivia is instructed to change nothing.

The dog also likes Chianti. Even after a brimming bowlful, he still fetches with aplomb.

O autor do texto é outro, mas o cara na foto é Weisbecker, tranquilo, curtindo...

Fetching, Part II
He notices a girl in her early twenties walking along the beach. He can tell even from a distance and in the failing light that she is beautiful. She has the features of a Byzantine Madonna. He does not care if he is imagining this.
She is returning from work. She wears a business suit and walks barefoot, carrying her smart shoes in one hand. She needs the beach, he thinks, maybe more than she knows. He wonders about her name. It is certainly not Polly or Molly or Jill or Francine; it is exotic, like Nadia, or simple in its elegance, like Catherine. He reminds himself that she, too, would ultimately find him turgid.

She stops and sits on the sand. She watches the red-haired boy surf. The boy launches into a snap-air floater, then drives off the bottom and carves improbable arcs all over the bowl.

The Surf Guru applauds, quietly, with his fingertips.

As he watches the boy paddle back out to deep water, he tries to call up images of a long-ago self. He fails; his memory feels diffused, diffracted, dishonest.

He leans forward in his chair and pets the dog, asleep at his feet.Musings from an orthopedic deck chair
If the Surf Guru felt like talking, he would say: “What I am feeling is a peculiar mix of longing and fear, of nostalgia and hope, of power and restraint, of shining and fading.” His voice would tremble for an instant, but he would smooth it out, so as not to let you notice.

The red-haired boy takes the leash off his leg, tucks his board under one arm, and walks through shallow water toward the girl. He shows her his LoweRider board.

The Surf Guru imagines the boy telling her that the LoweRider HyTyde fins shred, that they give him more control than he ever dreamed possible.

Sitting in his chair, he closes his eyes and designs a new-and-improved GOO-ROO HydroRip fin. Drainage, Part III
The numbers do not work out. Olivia scans the reports one more time. The numbers still do not work out. She pounds the desk. She looks up at Chad with wet, puffy eyes. “I don’t understand,” she says. “It’s as if the money is disappearing.”

“Yes,” Chad says. “It’s as if.”

He sips his martini, then traces his finger around the rim of the glass, coaxing forth a high, quavering tone. With much satisfaction, he recognizes the note as an F-sharp. He has been working on his ear.

A salt-rimmed glass
The girl listens, drawn to the boy’s earnestness. She takes pen and paper from her blazer pocket and writes down her phone number. The boy takes it.

He begins to tell her the story of the Surf Guru, as any Padre Point surfer would. He points up at the dull green house, where the Guru sits, hands in front of his face. From the beach it looks like the Guru is praying.

The boy and the girl decide to walk home together, maybe grab a margarita at Zelda’s on the way.

The mother of invention
The Surf Guru closes the sketchbook in which he has calculated the specs of the new surfboard fins. He takes a swig of Chianti from the bottle.

Gulls squawk. Wind blows. Waves break. On a boardwalk in the distance, a glowing Ferris wheel spins as the sky darkens.

The Surf Guru stands up and stretches his back. He walks stiffly into the house and looks through his collection of hats for something appropriate. He looks and looks.

In his paperback copy of Lord Jim, underlined in emphatic blue ink:

How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a spectre through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?

Drainage, Part IV
Chad and Olivia bring the bad news. But when they arrive, the deck chair is empty.

Olivia searches the house. She fears the worst. Chad fixes himself a martini, humming the lead line from Charlie Parker’s “Now’s The Time.”

Also gone are the dog and the wide-brimmed petasus, the hat of nascent defiance.

Three weeks later, Olivia receives an envelope in her mailbox at home. It contains the designs for the new fins and a short note, hastily scrawled: It’s all yours now. Just don’t change the dog food.

The postmark is smudged, unreadable.

A fine vintage, Part II
The girl waits as the boy gets his things together.

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