The Desert

August 13, 2009

latinos2004-54x80[1]One morning, as Josh Samsa was waking from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had changed into a huge stretch of dry desert.

It seems absurd that a person could become a thing such as this, an inanimate part of nature.

But it was real, as real as his anguish, as real as his despair and his feeling of solitude.

His body was a great extension of flowing sand, without head, limbs, torso, or stomach, without any parts that form a normal human body.

Josh was dry, as if his physical transformation were verily a metaphor of his inner state.

The only motility possible for him was an involuntary movement resulting from the wind that shifted part of his body, forming dunes of different sizes and shapes.

His mind, the part of his body where his thoughts should come from, had no definite place in his body.

Josh Samsa had no head.

His thoughts appeared in different areas of his body, contradicting each other in a sequence of association over which he had no control.

The fact that he didn’t have a head brought to him a surprising impression: his whole body was able to think.

He tried to form a picture in his mind of how the shape of his body should be and to direct his thoughts to a particular place that he would call head.

It was futile.  His effort resulted only in frustration.

His thoughts didn’t follow his commands and they arose sporadically in different localities with no pattern or logic.

After a few wretched moments of assessing the situation, despondency ensued.

He realized that he was powerless over his life and his destiny.

There was absolutely nothing he could do to escape from this condition.

He suffered woefully.

His anguish was material and different from his thoughts in that it did have a definite source.

He found that he possessed a center of gravity, located somewhere in the middle of the desert which he had become.

The condition he was experiencing was in fact an impression of himself.

For the first time, he perceived himself the way he truly was.  He was pure desolate anguish.

“I am a solitary man,” his thoughts echoed, “and as a cynic, I don’t believe in life or the things that some individuals consider reasons to live.  I want nothing.  I don’t believe in love or family.  I don’t have sexual desire or ambition.  I don’t want money or prestige, yet I deem myself superior to all human beings.”

Night fell and the temperature dropped below zero.

Josh could not move, did not feel.

He was a dry and cold desert now.

He felt more solitary than ever. Yet he wasn’t unhappy at this point.  He was simply indifferent.  He didn’t care to live, nor did he wish to die.

He understood that deserts are not supposed to have feelings and desires.

He accepted this reality perfunctorily.

This acceptance of his condition gave him a semblance of peace; and when he fell asleep in his dream, hope appeared like a desert rose in the sand.

The wind blew and repositioned his body, casting him to the air and redistributing him to different places to  form golden dunes.

Hope again. A hint of desire.

He visualized parts of himself traveling, flying over barren land to find an oasis.

At this oasis, he would glimpse his own image reflected in the water.

This image would reveal not a desert, but a joyful man full of energy, full of life with focus, plans, and clarity.

This man would be called Josh Samsa.

But it was just a recurrent dream, a mirage.

Every night, he dreamed that the desert he in fact was, saw an image of the man he wanted to be, reflected in the oasis waters.

But when he awoke, another reality superseded this fancy.

The next morning, as Josh Samsa was waking from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had changed into a huge stretch of dry desert.


ALSO READ: He had promised himself he would never have another drink.


Antonio Costa Neto is freelancer writer and has worked in some of the most important ad agencies in Brazil and the United States. He now lives in Miami where he owns and operates a marketing consultant company. Throughout his career in advertising, he has won top international awards in the Cannes, London and New York festivals, as well as in the Clio Awards and many Latin American festivals. Antonio Costa Neto has written numerous plays and screen plays in Brazil.
Womb Wrecker Syndrome is his second book.


facebook: Antonio Costa Neto


16 Responses to “The Desert”

  1. Marcelo said


    • acostaneto said

      Obrigado, Marcelo.
      Acabo de chegar em casa.
      Vamos falar pelo facebook.
      Dia 20 volto a Miami.
      Vamos nos ver desta vez.

  2. Sandra said

    Sua criatividade é um oásis num deserto. Muito bom, Antônio.

  3. Marcelo Lourenço said

    fantástico, grande toninho. saudades de ouvir você perguntar o que eu acho de um texto (já começando a ler o texto em voz alta). e quando eu começo a responder ver você sair correndo pra mudar uma vírgula ou encurtar uma frase sem deixar eu terminar de falar … bons tempos.

  4. Boa! Tunix, lindo!!!
    Vc disse que iria publicar o texto em português. Não vai rolar? Confesso que gosto mais do seu estilo no original!

  5. O trabalho do Luisinho é muito bom mesmo. Sou fã e tenho um quadro dele: JUIZ GRAMPEADO. Lembra um pouco o da tela acima. Vou adicionar seu blog, Toninho. Parabéns!

  6. yolanda said

    FANTASTIC!!!..this is a poem…


  7. Kika said

    Ilusões!…são oásis no deserto da vida. E nelas que a gente se debruça e bebe a energia necessária para continuar a viver. Beijos!!!

  8. Kristin P. said

    Wow, I really love it, Antônio! Your work is inspired. The Desert makes me thirsty for more stories. It is kind of wistfully sad, but this story is transporting. Nice work! I just don’t know how you come up with all these wonderful ideas.

    Luiz’s art work is beautiful, too.

    Até logo, Kristin

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