Tag Archives: necropolis

Flat Rattle Snakes, Necropolis

i just had a dream about your blog.


north africa. first it was a flashback. it’s you and a guide on a dune. you almost step on a nest of snakes while taking a picture. the guide, who is moroccan, attemps to help you, and steps on another nest of snakes. these are not normal snakes… they’re flat snakes with multiple rattle spots along their bodies. he gets bitten several times in slow motion. poor guy. you and the guide jump in the white pickup truck and ride away to a hospital.


as you and the guide drive…


the flashback ends. and i’m in the pickup truck with you, and the guide, who apparently has survived. he’s driving and charges 100 (monetary unit of the country) the hour. we split the cost. i give you a bunch of large reddish bills.


we’re coming back from the same flat rattle snake dunes as the flashback.


we drive by a vast cemetery. dusk approaches. there are immense mausoleums the size of 20-story buildings. some are 30 or 40-story high carved on black marble. others resemble stalinist structures built to honor an eternal dictator.  these buildings are besieged by a disorganized sprawl of black pine trees, gravestones, smaller mausoleums, and wooden crosses.


i ask if this is the country’s main cemetery. “yes,” the guide says. he seems annoyed because the snake bites still itch him. now the guide looks like mr. bobby, a motor rickshaw driver who gave me dal recipes in new delhi.


i ask you if this cemetery has been in your blog before.


you say yes. and then it’s another flashback as you explain your blog entry. i come with you into the flashback. it’s dark. we’re walking through poorly lit tunnels inside the necropolis. you take pictures of the signs. they read “no bragging about being alive,” “careful with bio,” “no obscenities to the dead.”


i look at my feet and notice i have no shoes. i say, “i forgot my shoes. let’s go back. i don’t want to get ringworm.”


we head out through a path of red earth in a forest of dark pine trees and elaborate graves. the forest ends on a swamp. we walk into the swamp. we wade, stepping on what seem to be decomposing logs under the water. we’re lost.


we see a tourist van and wave our hands to call attention. it’s driving down a road between the forest and the swamp. it doesn’t stop but the tourists wave us back.


we get on the road and feel silly we didn’t see it before.


at the end of the road we find cheering american backpackers. they are waiting under the grand entrance to the cemetery. it’s dark and lit by a single fluorescent streetlamp.


i try to be funny. i scream “the zombies are coming!”


nobody laughs. i look at you “we just walked through a pond full of rotting corpses and death water.”


i wake up thinking i’m late for work. it’s only 6:27am, korea time. the end.