The Insufferable Gaucho | Chapter 10 of 15

Author: Roberto Bolano | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2508 Views | Add a Review

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Two Catholic Tales

I. The Vocation

1. I was seventeen years old and my days, and I mean all of them, were a continual shuddering. I had no distractions; nothing could dissipate the anxiety that kept building up inside me. I was living like an interloping extra in scenes from the passion of St. Vincent. St. Vincent—deacon to Bishop Valero, tortured by the governor Dacian in the year 304—have pity on me! 2. Sometimes I talked with Juanito. Not just sometimes. Often. We sat in armchairs at his place and talked about movies. Juanito liked Gary Cooper. Elegance, temperance, integrity, courage, he used to say. Temperance? Courage? I knew what lay behind his certitudes, and would have liked to spit them back in his face, but instead I dug my fingernails into the armrests and bit my lip when he wasn’t looking and even closed my eyes and pretended to be meditating on his words. But I wasn’t meditating. Not at all: images of the martyrdom of St. Vincent were flashing in my mind like magic lantern slides. 3. First he is tied to an X-shaped wooden cross and they tear at his flesh with hooks and dislocate his limbs. Then he is subjected to torture by fire, roasted on a grill over hot coals. And then he’s a captive in a dungeon where the ground is covered with shards of glass and pottery. And then a crow keeps watch over the martyr’s corpse, abandoned in a wasteland, and fends off a ravening wolf. And then the saint’s body is cast into the sea from a boat, a millstone tied around his neck. And then the waves wash the body up on the coast, and there it is piously buried by a matron and other Christians. 4. Sometimes I used to feel dizzy. Nauseous. Juanito would talk about the last film we had seen and I would nod and realize that I was drowning, as if the armchairs were at the bottom of a very deep lake. I could remember the movie theater, I could remember buying the tickets, but I simply couldn’t remember the scenes that my friend (my one and only friend!) was talking about, as if the lake-floor darkness had infiltrated everything. If I open my mouth, water will come in. If I breathe, water will come in. If I stay alive, water will come in and flood my lungs forever and ever. 5. Sometimes Juanito’s mother would come into the room and ask me personal questions. How my studies were going, what book I was reading, if I’d been to the circus that had just set up on the outskirts of the city. Juanito’s mother was always very elegantly dressed, and, like us, she was addicted to the movies. 6. Once I dreamed of her, once I opened the door of her bedroom, and instead of seeing a bed, a dresser and a closet, I saw an empty room with a red brick floor, and that was just the antechamber of a very, very long corridor, like the highway tunnel that goes through the mountains and then on toward France, except that in this case the tunnel wasn’t on a mountain highway but in the bedroom of my best friend’s mother. I have to keep reminding myself: Juanito’s my best friend. And, as opposed to a normal tunnel, this one seemed to be suspended in a very fragile kind of silence, like the silence of the second half of January or the first half of February. 7. Unspeakable acts, fateful nights. I recited the formula to Juanito. Unspeakable acts? Fateful nights? Is the act unspeakable because the night is fateful, or is the night fateful because the act is unspeakable? What sort of question is that? I asked, on the brink of tears. You’re crazy. You don’t understand anything, I said, looking out of the window. 8. Juanito’s father isn’t tall but he cuts a dashing figure. He was in the army and during the war he was wounded a number of times. His medals are displayed on the wall of his study, in a glass-fronted case. He didn’t know anyone when he first came to the city, Juanito says, and people were either afraid of him or jealous. After a few months here, he met my mother, Juanito says. They were engaged for five years. Then my father tied the knot. Sometimes my aunt talks about Juanito’s father. According to her, he was a good, honest police chief. That’s what people said, at least. If a maid was caught stealing from her employers, Juanito’s father locked her up for three days without so much as a crust of bread. On the fourth day he would question her personally, and the maid would be quick to confess her sin, giving him the precise location of the jewels or the name of the laborer who had stolen them. Then the guards would arrest the man and lock him up, and Juanito’s father would put the maid on a train and advise her not to come back. 9. The whole village applauded this procedure, as if it were a sign of the police chief’s intellectual distinction. 10. When Juanito’s father first arrived, the only people he knew socially were the regulars at the casino. Juanito’s mother was seventeen years old and she was very blonde, to judge from a number of photos hanging unobtrusively around the house, much blonder than she is now, and she had been educated at the Heart of Mary, a school run by nuns in the northern part of the old fort. Juanito’s father must have been about thirty. He still goes to the casino every afternoon, although he’s retired now, and drinks a glass of cognac or coffee with a shot, and usually plays dice with the regulars. New regulars, not the regulars from the old days, but it’s not so different, because of course they’re all in awe of him. Juanito’s older brother lives in Madrid, where he’s a well-known lawyer. Juanito’s sister is married and she lives in Madrid too. I’m the only one left in this damn house, Juanito says. And me! And me! 11. Our city is shrinking every day. Sometimes I get the feeling that everyone is either leaving or shut up inside packing a suitcase. If I left, I wouldn’t take a suitcase. Not even a few belongings wrapped up in a little bundle. Sometimes I put my head in my hands and listen to the rats running in the walls. St. Vincent, grant me strength. St. Vincent, grant me temperance. 12. Do you want to be a saint? Juanito’s mother asked me two years ago. Yes, Ma’am. I think that’s a very good idea, but you have to be very good. Are you? I try to be, Ma’am. And a year ago, as I was walking along Avenida General Mola, Juanito’s father said hello and then he stopped and asked if I was Encarnación’s nephew. Yes, Sir, I said. You’re the one who wants to become a priest? I nodded and smiled. 13. Why did I do that? What was that stupid, apologetic smile for? Why did I look away smiling like a moron? 14. Humility. 15. That’s excellent, said Juanito’s father. Fantastic. You have to study hard, don’t you? I nodded and smiled. And cut down on the movies? Yes, Sir, but I don’t go to the movies much. 16. I watched Juanito’s father receding into the distance: old but still vigorous, he held himself straight and looked as if he were walking on tiptoes. I watched him go down the stairs that lead to the Calle de los Vidrieros; I watched him as he walked away without a moment’s unsteadiness or hesitation, without looking into a single shop. Not like Juanito’s mother, who was always looking in storefront windows, and sometimes she would go into the stores, and if you stayed outside, waiting for her, you could sometimes hear her laugh. If I open my mouth, water will come in. If I breathe, water will come in. If I stay alive, water will come in and flood my lungs forever and ever. 17. And what are you going to be, dickhead? Juanito asked me. Be or do? I asked him back. Be, dickhead. Whatever God wants, I said. God puts us all in our rightful places, said my aunt. Our forefathers were good people. There were no soldiers in our family, but there were priests. Like who? I asked as I nodded off to sleep. My aunt grunted. I saw a square blanketed with snow, and I saw the farmers come with their produce, sweep the snow away and wearily set up their market stalls. St. Vincent, for example, my aunt burst out. Deacon to the bishop of Zaragoza, who, in the year 304, anno domini, though it might well have been 305, 306, 307 or 303, was arrested and taken to Valencia, where Dacian, the governor, submitted him to cruel tortures, as a result of which he died. 18. Why do you think St. Vincent is dressed in red? I asked Juanito. No idea. Because all the Catholic martyrs wear a red garment, to identify them as martyrs. This boy’s clever, said Father Zubieta. We were alone and Father Zubieta’s study was bone-chillingly cold, and Father Zubieta or rather Father Zubieta’s clothes smelled of a combination of dark tobacco and sour milk. If you decide to enter the seminary, the door is open. The vocation, the call, when it comes, can make you tremble, but let’s not get carried away. Did I tremble? Did I feel the earth move? Did I experience the rapture of divine union? 19. Let’s not get carried away. Let’s not get carried away. It’s what the reds wear, said Juanito. The reds wear khaki, I said, green, with camouflage patterns. No, said Juanito, those red faggots wear red. Like whores. That piqued my curiosity. Like whores? Which whores, where? Well, here, for a start, said Juanito, and I guess in Madrid too. Here, in this city? Yes, said Juanito, and then he tried to change the subject. You mean there are whores even here, in this little city or town or godforsaken backwater? Well, yes, said Juanito. I thought your father had reformed them all. Reformed? Do you think my father’s a priest or something? My father was a war hero and then a police commissioner. My father doesn’t reform. He solves crimes. That’s all. And where have you seen these whores? On Cerro del Moro, where they’ve always been, said Juanito. Good God. 20. My aunt says that St. Vincent—Enough about your aunt and St. Vincent, your aunt is raving mad. How can you trace your family back to the year 300? Who’s got a family that old? Not even the House of Alba. But after a while, he added: Your aunt’s not a bad person; she’s got a good heart, but her mind’s not right. Shall we go to the movies this afternoon? They’re showing a Clark Gable film. And Juanito’s mother: Go on, go, I went two days ago and it’s very entertaining. And Juanito: The thing is, he doesn’t have any money. Juanito’s mother: Well, you’ll just have to lend him some. 21. God have mercy on my soul. Sometimes I wish they’d all just die. My friend and his mother and his father and my aunt and all the neighbors and passers-by and drivers who leave their cars parked by the river and even the poor innocent children who run around in the park beside the river. God have pity on my soul and make me better. Or unmake me. 22. Anyway, if they all died, what would I do with so many bodies? How could I go on living in this city, or sub-city? Would I try to bury them all? Would I throw their bodies into the river? How much time would I have before their flesh began to rot and the stench became unbearable? Ah, snow. 23. Snow covered the streets of our city. Before going into the cinema we bought roasted chestnuts and sugared almonds. We had our scarves up around our noses and Juanito was laughing and talking about adventures in the old Dutch East Indies. They didn’t let anyone in with chestnuts—it was a question of basic hygiene—but they made an exception for Juanito. Gary Cooper would have been better in this role, said Juanito. Asia. The Chinese. Leper colonies. Mosquitoes. 24. When we came out we went our separate ways in the Calle de los Cuchillos. I stood still in the falling snow and Juanito went running off home. Poor kid, I thought, but Juanito was only a year younger than me. When he disappeared from sight, I went up the Calle de los Toneleros to the Plaza del Sordo, and then I turned and followed the walls of the old fort, headed for Cerro del Moro. The snow reflected the light of the streetlamps, and, in a fleeting but also natural and even serene way, the old house-fronts gathered the glamour of the past. I peered through a gap in the whitewash on a window and saw a tidy room, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus presiding on one of the walls. But I was blind and deaf and continued up the hill, on the dark side of the street so I wouldn’t be recognized. When I reached the Plazuela del Cadalso, and only then, I realized that throughout the climb I hadn’t come across a single person. In this weather, I thought, who would exchange the warmth of home for the freezing streets? It was already dark, and from the square you could see the lights of some of the neighborhoods and the bridges beyond the Plaza de Don Rodrigo and the river bending around and then continuing eastward. The stars were shining in the sky. I thought they looked like snowflakes. Suspended snowflakes, picked out by God to remain still in the firmament, but snowflakes all the same. 25. I was starting to freeze. I decided to go back to my aunt’s house and drink some hot chocolate or soup beside the heater. I felt weary and my head was spinning. I went back the way I’d come. Then I saw him. Just a shadow at first. 26. But it wasn’t a shadow, it was a monk. He could have been a Franciscan, judging from his habit. His thoughtful face was almost entirely obscured by a large hood. Why do I say thoughtful? Because he was looking at the ground. 27. Where was he from? How’d he get there? I didn’t know. Maybe he’d been administering the last rites to someone who was dying. Maybe he’d been visiting a sick child. Maybe he’d been supplying a destitute person with a frugal meal. In any case, he was walking without making the slightest sound. For a moment I thought it was an apparition. But soon I realized that the snow was muffling my own footfalls as well. 28. He was barefoot. Noticing that was like being struck by lightning. We came down Cerro del Moro. When we passed the church of Santa Barbara, I saw him make the sign of the cross. His immaculate footprints shone in the snow like a message from God. I started crying. I would gladly have knelt down and kissed those crystalline prints—the answer for which I had waited so long—but I didn’t, for fear he might disappear down some alley. We left the center. We crossed the Plaza Mayor, and then we crossed a bridge. The monk was walking at a steady pace, neither slowly nor quickly, as the Church herself should proceed. 29. We followed the Avenida Sanjurjo, lined with plane trees, until we reached the train station. It was stifling inside. The monk went to the bathroom and then bought a ticket. When he came out of the bathroom, I noticed that he had put on a pair of shoes. His ankles were as slender as sticks. He went out onto the platform. I saw him sitting there, hanging his head, waiting and praying. I remained standing on the platform, shivering with cold, hidden by a pillar. When the train arrived, the monk jumped with surprising agility into one of the carriages. 30. When I left, on my own, I looked for his prints in the snow, the footprints of his bare feet, but I could find no trace of them.

II. CHANCE

1. I asked him how old he thought I was. He said sixty, although he knew I wasn’t that old. Do I look that bad? I asked. Worse, he said. And you think you’re in better shape? I said. How come you’re shaking, then? Are you cold? Have you gone crazy? And why are you telling me about Commissioner Damian Valle anyway? Is he still the commissioner? Is he still the same? The old guy said Valle had changed a bit, but he was still a prize son of a bitch. Is he still the commissioner? He might as well be, he said. If he wants to do you harm, he will, even if he’s retired or dying in hospital. I thought for a few minutes and then asked him again why he was shaking. I’m cold, he said (the liar), and my teeth hurt. I don’t want to hear any more about Don Damian, I said. Do you think I’m friends with that pig? Do you think I associate with thugs? No, he said. Well I don’t want to hear any more about him. 2. He reflected for a while. What about, I really don’t know. Then he gave me a crust of bread. It was hard and I said if he ate food like that it wasn’t surprising his teeth hurt. We eat better in the asylum, I said, and that’s saying something. Get out of here, Vicente, said the old guy. Does anyone know you’re here? Well, good for you. Make yourself scarce before they realize. Don’t say hello to anyone. Keep your eyes on the ground and get out of here as fast as you can. 3. But I didn’t leave right away. I squatted down in front of him and tried to remember the good times. My mind was blank. It felt like something was burning in my head. The old guy pulled his blanket tighter around him and moved his jaws as if he was chewing, but there was nothing in his mouth. I remembered the years in the asylum: the injections, the hosing-down, the ropes they used for tying us up at night, many of us anyway. I saw those funny beds again, the ones with a clever system of pulleys that can be used to hoist them into an upright position. It took me five years to work out what they were for. The patients called them American beds. 4. Can a human being who is used to sleeping horizontally fall asleep in an upright position? Yes. It’s difficult at first. But if the person is properly tied, it’s possible. That’s what the American beds were for, sleeping vertically as well as horizontally. Not, as I originally thought, to punish the patients, but to prevent them from choking on their own vomit and dying. 5. Naturally, there were patients who spoke to the American beds. They addressed them politely. They confided in them. Some patients were also afraid of them. Some claimed to have been winked at by a certain bed. One patient said that another bed had raped him. A bed fucked you up the ass? You’ve really lost it, pal! The American beds were said to walk along the corridors at night, straight and tall, and gather to chat in the refectory—they spoke English—and all of them attended those meetings, the beds that were empty and the ones that weren’t, and naturally these stories were told by the patients who for one reason or another happened to be tied to the beds on meeting nights. 6. Otherwise, life in the asylum was very quiet. Shouts could be heard coming from certain restricted areas. But no one approached those areas or opened the door or put their ear to the keyhole. The house was quiet, and the park—tended by gardeners who were crazy too and not allowed to leave, but not as crazy as the others—was quiet as well, and the road you could see through the pines and the poplars was quiet, and even our thoughts, as they occurred to us, were enveloped in a frightening silence. 7. In certain respects, the living was easy. Sometimes we’d look at each other and feel privileged. We’re crazy, we’re innocent. The only thing that spoiled that feeling was anticipation, when there was something to anticipate. But most of the patients had a remedy for that: ass-fucking the weaker ones or getting ass-fucked. Did I do that? we used to say. Did I really do that? And then we’d smile and change the subject. The doctors, the lofty physicians, had no idea, and as long as we didn’t bother the nurses and the aides, they turned a blind eye. We did get carried away a few times. Man is an animal. 8. That’s what I used to think sometimes. The thought formed in the center of my brain. And I concentrated on that thought until my mind went blank. Sometimes, at the beginning, I could hear something like tangling cables. Electrical cables or snakes. But as a rule, especially as those scenes receded into the past, my mind would go blank: no noises, no images, no words, no breakwaters of words. 9. Anyway, I’ve never assumed that I’m smarter than anybody else. I’ve never been an intellectual show-off. If I’d been to school, I’d be a lawyer or a judge now. Or the inventor of a new, improved American bed! I have words, that much I humbly admit. But I don’t make a big deal about it. And just as I have words, I have silence. You’re as silent as a cat, the old guy told me when I was still a kid, though he was old already then. 10. I wasn’t born here. According to the old guy, I was born in Zaragoza and my mother had no choice but to come and live in this city. One city or another, it makes no difference to me. If I hadn’t been poor, I would have been able to study here. It doesn’t matter! I learned to read. That’s enough! Best not to dwell on that subject. I could have got married here too. I met a girl who was called, I forget, she had a typical girl’s name, and at one point I could have married her. Then I met another girl, older than me, a foreigner like me, from somewhere in the south, Andalusia or Murcia, a slut who was always in a bad mood. I could have started a family with her too, made a home, but I was destined for other things, and so was the slut. 11. Sometimes I found the city stifling. Too small. I felt as if I was locked in a crossword puzzle. 12. Around that time I made up my mind to start begging at church doors. I would arrive at ten and take up my position on the cathedral steps or go to the church of San Jeremías, in the Calle José Antonio, or the church of Santa Barbara, which was my favorite, in the Calle Salamanca, and sometimes, before settling down on the steps of Santa Barbara to begin my day’s work, I would go to the ten o’clock mass and pray with all my might—it was like laughing silently, laughing, laughing, happy to be alive, and the more I prayed, the more I laughed—that was my way of opening myself to divine penetration, and my laughter was not a sign of disrespect or the laughter of an unbeliever: on the contrary, it was the clamorous laughter of a lamb trembling before its Creator. 13. After that, I would go to Confession, recount my mishaps and misfortunes, take Communion and finally, before returning to the steps, I would stop for a few moments in front of the picture of St. Barbara. Why was she always depicted with a peacock and a tower? A peacock and a tower. What did it mean? 14. One afternoon I asked the priest. Why are you interested in such things? he asked me in turn. I don’t know, Father, curiosity, I replied. You know it’s a bad habit, don’t you, curiosity? he said. I know, Father, but my curiosity is pure, I always pray to St. Barbara. That’s good, my son, said the priest, St. Barbara is kind to the poor, you keep praying to her. But I want to know about the peacock and the tower, I said. The peacock, said the priest, is the symbol of immortality. As for the tower, did you notice it has three windows? The windows are there to illustrate the saint’s words; she said that light poured into her cell and her soul through the windows of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Do you understand? 15. I didn’t get an education, Father, but I have common sense and I can work things out, I replied. 16. Then I went to take my place, the place that was rightfully mine, and I begged until the church doors were closed. I always kept one coin in the palm of my hand. The others in my pocket. And I endured hunger, while people ate bread and pieces of sausage or cheese in front of me. I thought. I thought and studied without moving from those steps. 17. And so I learned that the father of St. Barbara, a powerful man named Dioscurus, shut her up in a tower, imprisoned her because she was being pursued by suitors. And I learned that, before entering that tower, St. Barbara baptized herself with water from a tank or a trough or a pond in which farmers stored rainwater. And I learned that she escaped from the tower, the tower with three windows to let the light in, but was arrested and brought before a judge. And the judge condemned her to death. 18. All the teachings of the priests are cold. Cold soup. Cold tea. Blankets that don’t keep you warm in the depths of winter. 19. Get out of here, Vicente, said the old guy, his jaws working all the while. As if he was chewing sunflower seeds. Get some clothes to make you blend in and go, before the commissioner finds out. 20. I put my hand in my pocket and counted the coins. It had begun to snow. I said goodbye to the old guy and went out into the street. 21. I walked aimlessly. With no destination. Standing in the Calle Corona, I looked at the Church of Santa Barbara. I prayed a bit. St. Barbara, have pity on me, I said. My left arm had gone to sleep. I was hungry. I wanted to die. But not for good. Maybe I just wanted to sleep. My teeth were chattering. St. Barbara, have pity on your servant. 22. When they decapitated her, I mean when they cut St. Barbara’s head off, her executioners were struck by a bolt of lightning. And what about the judge who sentenced her? And her father who locked her up? The lightning struck, but first there was a clap of thunder. Or the other way around. Great. My God, my God, my God. 23. I didn’t go any closer. I was happy to look at the church from a distance and then I walked on, heading for a bar where in my day you used to be able to get a cheap meal. I couldn’t find it. I went into a bakery and got a baguette. Then I jumped a wall and ate it, out of sight of prying eyes. I know it’s forbidden to jump over walls and eat in abandoned gardens or derelict houses, because it isn’t safe. A beam could fall on you, Commissioner Damian Valle told me. Also, it’s private property. It might be a shit-heap, crawling with spiders and rats, but it will go on being private property until the end of time. And a beam could fall on your head and destroy that exceptional skull of yours, said Commissioner Damian Valle. 24. When I’d finished eating, I jumped back over the wall into the street. Suddenly I felt sad. I don’t know if it was the snow or what. Recently, eating gets me down. I’m not sad when I’m actually eating, but afterward, sitting on a brick, watching snowflakes fall into the abandoned garden—I don’t know. Despair and anguish. So I slapped my legs and got walking. The streets started to empty out. I spent some time looking in store windows. But I was pretending. What I was really doing was looking for my reflection in each pane of glass. Then the windows came to an end and there were only stairways. I hung my head and climbed. A street. Then the parish church of the Conception. Then the church of San Bernardo. Then the walls and, after that, the fort. There wasn’t a soul to be seen. I was on Cerro del Moro. I remembered the old man’s words: Go, go, don’t let them catch you again, you poor bastard. All the bad things I did. St. Barbara, have pity on me, have pity on your poor son. I remembered there was a woman who lived in one of those alleys. I decided to visit her and ask for a bowl of soup, an old sweater she didn’t need any more, and a bit of money to buy a train ticket. Where did that woman live? The alleys kept getting narrower. I saw a big door and knocked. No one answered. I pushed the door open and walked in: a patio. Someone had forgotten to take in the washing and now the snow was falling on those yellowish clothes. I made my way through the shirts and underpants to a door with a bronze knocker that looked like a handle. I stroked the knocker, but I didn’t knock. I pushed the door open. Outside, night was falling hurriedly. My mind was blank. The snowflakes made a sizzling sound. I kept going. I couldn’t remember that corridor, I couldn’t remember the name of the woman—she was a slut, but kind-hearted; she did wrong but she felt bad about it—I couldn’t remember that darkness, that windowless tower. But then I saw a door ajar and slipped through the opening. I’d come to a kind of granary, with sacks piled up to the roof. There was a bed in one corner. I saw a child stretched out on the bed. He was naked and shivering. I took the knife out of my pocket. I saw a friar sitting at a table. His face was covered by a hood; he was leaning forward, intently reading a missal. Why was the child naked? Wasn’t there even a blanket in that room? Why was the friar reading his missal instead of kneeling down and asking for forgiveness. Everything goes haywire at some point. The friar looked at me, said something; I replied. Don’t come near me, I said. Then I stabbed him with the knife. Both of us groaned for a while until he fell silent. But I had to be sure, so I stabbed him again. Then I killed the child. Quickly, for God’s sake! Then I sat down on the bed and shivered for a while. Enough. I had to go. My clothes were spattered with blood. I looked through the friar’s pockets and found some money. There were some sweet potatoes on the table. I ate one. Good and sweet. While I was eating the sweet potato, I opened a closet. Sacks of onions and potatoes. But there was also a clean habit on a hanger. I got undressed. It was so cold. After checking each pocket, so as not to leave any incriminating evidence, I put my clothes and my shoes in a bag, and tied it to my belt. Fuck you, Damian Valle. That was when I realized I was leaving my footprints all around the room. The soles of my feet were covered with blood. While continuing to move around, I carefully examined the prints. Suddenly I felt like laughing. They were dance steps. The footprints of St. Vitus. Footprints leading nowhere. But I knew where to go. 25. Everything was dark, except for the snow. I started going down Cerro del Moro. 26. I was barefoot and it was cold. My feet sank into the snow, and with every step I took, some blood came off my skin. When I’d gone a few yards I realized that someone was following me. A policeman? I didn’t care. They rule the earth, but right then, as I walked through the luminous snow, I knew that I was in charge. 27. I left Cerro del Moro behind. On the level ground the snow was deeper still; I crossed a bridge, hanging my head. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed the shadow of an equestrian statue. My pursuer was a fat, ugly adolescent. Who was I? That didn’t matter at all. 28. As I walked, I said good-bye to everything I saw. It was poignant. I quickened my pace to warm myself up. I crossed the bridge, and it was as if I had passed through a time tunnel. 29. I could have killed the boy, made him follow me down an alley and stuck it to him till he croaked. But why bother? He was bound to be some whore’s kid from Cerro del Moro; he’d never talk. 30. I washed my old shoes in the bathroom at the station, I wet them and scrubbed away the bloodstains. My feet had gone to sleep. Wake up. Then I bought a ticket for the next train. Whichever, I didn’t care where it was going.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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