Monday, December 28, 2009

A Very Good Explanation

I'm working myself up to posting something substantial. For now, this gem from the start of Alberto Rios' "Don Gustavo, Who Had a Hand for an Ear":

One sees the world differently from the rooftops of a town. The people are a little smaller, with bigger heads and smaller feet. One looks down onto the tops of trees and bushes. A small horse is like a large dog, a dog is like an awkward cat, and a white cat is like a comet or a falling star, only sideways, along the darkness of the street.

On a rooftop the air is colder, and the sound of people's talking is indistinct, no different from the turning handle on a meat grinder or the loading and unloading of boxes from a delivery truck. A woman's sharp laugh is a bicycle bell, but from up on the rooftop you yourself had better not laugh.

It might be all right if one has business on the roof--if one is, say, installing a new cooler or fixing tiles. Then a laugh heard by a woman on the street seems like no more noise than a mosquito flying by. But if your business is something else, the mosquito bites, and the lady points and yells. And there's never a very good explanation.

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