First published on The Quietus (16th May 2012) //
First published on Spike Magazine (May 31st 2011) //
Declan Tan’s second ‘Letter from La Paz’ is a fictional account of a visit to Bolivia’s San Pedro prison
“A pint a-Carling yeah and whatever you’re havin’,” a white-spit mouth, mine, chums out familiar to the bar girl. I’m pointing at the tap and reaching my hand out as it pours, my fingers snatching at the half-filled glass. I can’t wait around. We’re in La Paz for 3 days. I’m counting pints in my head. We have to fit it all in somehow. I just been ridin’ down the World’s Most Dangerous Road on a borrowed mountain bike and I need a pint of England’s finest to savour the moment. Yeah I know. Top Gear did it in jeeps, the legends.
First published in DotDotDash (Issue 4, Winter 2010; Australia) //
“Take it out of the bag”, one of them whispers, as a small mountain of Bolivian marching powder unfolds from the wrap. Forming peaks where it piles on the surface, the small patch of black bin liner is emptied into the soft light of the room. They lean in; throats dry with a fiendish desire, pushing pure uncut white to and fro with an out-of-date health insurance card from some place far, far behind them now. Racked up with two fat lines sat side-by-side along the blackened edges of a bootlegged copy of Appetite For Destruction, some stranger nearby leans in and assuredly urges: “Don’t use the straw, use this”, as he carefully hands over a softened and tightly rolled 10 Boliviano note. The newcomers eye their bounty, savour a last intake breath as they lurch down, and begin judiciously disappearing it up their snouts, chattering and grunting between disjointed monologues that they might later call conversation.