These un-places

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Arjun Sharma @ F-Stop Magzine

Nico Alvarado takes us into a boy's rare hunger @ Witness.To picture him: begin with a boy’s skeleton, shy of five feet tall, and drape it with soft bolts of fat. Fat that hangs and waggles at the knee. The way some children draw themselves—pears with pencil flecks for digits, topped by a smiling pea-head—would not grossly misrepresent his shape. His hands and feet were tiny. He didn’t hold a thing; he clutched at it.He was in the backyard tearing apart bees.He was seventeen and had the face—there is no other way to describe it—of a baby dinosaur. Pale gold skin, hairless and pliant. Flared nubbin of a nose. The eyes hooded, almondine, above a pursed mouth. Everything set close in the wedge of his skull.He was in the backyard tearing apart bees. In the dead of summer he stalked among flowers in short-shorts and a turquoise parka, plucking them from the air. He put them in a jar and studied them awhile. He shook the jar hard, as if mixing a cocktail. Then somehow, from the jar of stinging insects, he extracted the one he wanted and dismantled it with his hands.There was nothing messy about it. He was accurate, respectful. He was intent upon his work.“Hi,” I said.“Mm,” he said.He was massively cute. He was clearly bonkers. I wanted to give him a hug.Then he came over and opened the jar of bees in my more