A Little Sunday Fiction: Killer Amoeba: a Modern Love Story
He crouched behind the red rocks above Spence Springs, and waited. Above the Jemez Mountains, virgin blue sky, like Our Lady of Guadalupe’s love, deep and endless. He thought about the first time he went to Spence Springs with his ex-wife. Was it 1970? 71? 72? It didn’t matter. The 70’s; a decade of free love and war.
He didn’t remember the year, but the month, he remembers was May. He remembers the Beatles, singing: “Here comes the sun…” And the rising sun, nestled in the mountain peaks like the golden eye of God.
Looking down into the Spence Springs parking lot he saw a red Porsche drive up. A man and woman got out. He them disappear and reappear on the winding trail that led up to the hot springs. She seemed to hesitate a moment when she came to the river crossing, something she wouldn’t have done when she was younger.
The river cross was somewhat precarious, especially since there was snow and ice on the pine log lying across the river. He walked across first to show her that it could be done. She followed, tentatively; the years had made her aware of her mortality.
Up and up they climbed towards the steaming spring. When got to the springs, they stood and talked for a moment. He wished he could hear their conversation. After a few minutes they undressed and stepped naked into the healing waters. He thought he could hear her sigh, but of course he couldn’t. He was too far away.
Shortly after getting in the water, they smoked a joint. Some things never change. Soon they were making love. Their bodies shrouded by steam, like ghosts in love.
After they left the springs and walked back towards the parking lot he climbed down to the springs and dipped a small bottle into the water. He twisted a red cap on the bottle and started to sing: “Yesterday, life was such an easy game to play…”
That night, back in his Santa Fe apartment, he phoned her and invited her and her boyfriend over for a sample of his most recent acquisition, an ounce of pure Colombian cocaine. He could feel the twitch of her nose as she immediately said, “Sure Lindsay, we’ll be over in about an hour. Would you like us to bring anything?”
“No,” he said. “I’ve got everything we need.”
They did one line, two; listened to the latest Neville Brothers tape, smoked a doobie, drank Poullet Foucet, did another line. Lindsay said, “My nose is dry. How about you guys? Want to moisten up?”
Lindsay went to the refrigerator, twisted a red cap off a bottle, poured the spring water into a blue glass.
She poured a little water into her and sniffed a few drops of water. Her boyfriend did the same. “Ah,” she sighed, “that’s better, much better.”
Before Lindsay’s ex-wife and boyfriend left Spence Springs they glanced at a Forest Service sign written in Spanish: “Aviso. No inhalas la aqua…” They didn’t speak or read Spanish. If they could they would have read: “Warning. Do not inhale the water through your nose. The water contains micro-organisms that when inhaled can be harmful to your health.”
The previous week’s edition of the Santa Fe Reporter had an article about the waters of Spence Springs. It said the waters contained amoeba that when inhaled travel to the brain and immediately begin to ingest the brain’s proteins. Death usually occurs within 2-4 hours after ingestion.
As they left Lindsay’s apartment they both complained of slight headaches. He gave them two Tylenol and told them to drive carefully.