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Was it a nightmare―the result of a bad case of indigestion―or did something truly scary happen after dinner in the Argentine town of Coronel Pringles?
One Saturday night a bankrupt bachelor in his sixties and his mother dine with a wealthy friend. They discuss their endlessly connected neighbors. They talk about a mysterious pit that opened up one day, and the old bricklayer who sometimes walked to the cemetery to cheer himself up. Anxious to show off his valuable antiques, the host shows his guests old windup toys and takes them to admire an enormous doll. Back at home, the bachelor decides to watch some late night TV before retiring. The news quickly takes a turn for the worse as, horrified, the newscaster finds herself reporting about the dead rising from their graves, leaving the cemetery, and sucking the blood of the living―all somehow, disturbingly reminiscent of the dinner party.
people temporarily indulge in gratifying their need for socializing, sex, food, and drink, which they abstain from during the rest of the week. In their depressing existence in the afterlife, the dead had developed a true addiction to endorphins. What a glaring paradox that Cemetery Road had become Endorphin Road. On the way from the Cemetery, the town started at about the halfway point. And that spot was marked by Primary School #7, where the invading army had had its first real banquet of the
for social or cultural consumerism, they indulge in the purchase of weapons until there’s no place left in their houses to put them. From the top of the Palacio’s tower, one-armed Artola, “El Manco,” watched the invasion advance. With his one hand he brought the walkie-talkie up to his mouth and reported on the latest developments; the receiver, with the volume turned all the way up and the channel open, was in the mayor’s office: with one ear they listened to El Manco and with the other to the
rich, the young all secreted endorphins constantly, not only the passive ones, the product of the happiness in which they spent their lives, but also the active ones, since the rich want to be richer, the beautiful more beautiful, the young younger. And these active endorphins, the ones the nocturnal slurpers most valued, were the speciality of the majority of the rest of the population: the old, the poor, the humble, the sick. The last scraps of human detritus, people who hadn’t enjoyed a single
that her maps were out-of-date, she would have answered that my friend’s inordinately hefty volume should be even more so; and it wasn’t worth telling her that seeing as how all countries were now returning to their old borders, that antique atlas might end up being more up-to-date than hers, which were simply out-of-date. But the fact was, she didn’t talk about the atlas, though I’m certain she intended to; she was distracted by an association of ideas wherein she found a more dramatic thread:
collections my friend had amassed throughout his life tended naturally toward the miniature, even though there were almost no miniatures per se. Toys, automatons, dolls, puppets, dioramas, puzzles, kaleidoscopes: everything tended toward reproduction, and the reproduction tended toward a diminution of scale. However, at that stage of the evening, there was a turn toward gigantism. With a complicit smile, my friend opened a small door and invited me to take a look inside. What I saw looked more