Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Jump - Alex Jamieson


She saw the train getting closer and she jumped on the tracks. She had always been afraid of someone pushing her intentionally or of falling involuntarily. Or voluntarily. When she got up that day she was all at once particularly energetic and skeptical, but she felt like experiencing new sensations. She was afraid to think that one day she would have the courage to take that leap she was so attracted to. Whenever she travelled by train, she felt annoyed when the train had to stop for hours only a few stations after she had got on because someone had done what she hadn’t. How had he done it? By running and then ramping up? By softly crumbling down the edge? As if thinking nothing of it, just a little jump. To see the train coming and jump. It takes a second and she’s in the ditch surrounded by pieces of paper, plastic bottles, metal. She also gets to see the startled look of two passengers when she rests her gym bag and her purse on the platform, as if she were coming back to pick them up soon. She saw the train getting closer.

Alex Jamieson

Original title: Saltar

Translated from Spanish by the author.

The first time - Hernán Domínguez Nimo


"Hello"
"What? Who are you?"
"Can't you tell? Look closely. Don't you recognize the face?"
"Oh my God! You're...! You've come...? From what year...?"
"I'm 35. Do the math."
"You don't look..."
"I know. They’ve invented some very nice pharmaceuticals. Shame they only last twenty-four hours."
"And how did you get here? Did they invent...?"
"Yup. I invented it."
"You? That means... me?"
"That's always been your dream, right? To study at Balseiro, to major in quantum physics..."
"Yes, of course! But it was only a dream...! I still haven't passed my entrance exam, and now you tell me I'm going to invent a Time Ma....!"
"Yes, yes, all right, all right. But that doesn't matter right now..."
"What's with that syringe?"
"I'm going to have to put you to sleep for a few hours."
"NO! IMPOSSIBLE! In ten minutes I'm going out...!"
"...with Karina. I know. And although you may not believe it, tonight you're actually going to score with her..."
"No way?! Dude! And how come you want to mess that up? It's going to be the most glorious night of my life!"
"The most glorious five seconds of your life."
"What?"
"That's how long it's gonna last. Karina’s got your balls wound up so tight that you're going to shoot your load the second you touch her. Messy. The experience is going to be horrible for her. And that means it's going to be a disaster for you too. Your entire life will be marked by this night's failure. All my life, all my career, I've been searching for a way to travel through time, to return to this moment, to make things right. Now I have the experience. I've figured out how to bring her to new heights of ecstasy, to get her off twice, three times if I want, instead of blowing my wad before I even begin. And so we'll stay together forever and..."
"But I've been waiting all my life for this night! You can't take it away from me! You already lived it! I haven't!"
"That's your problem. Your whole life adds up to just fifteen miserable years. And only five years that you've known Karina. This has been keeping me awake nights for twenty years, reliving that horrible nightmare. And this is the only way I can get it to end like it began: magically. And anyway, you should be grateful to me for sparing you all those nightmares..."
"But...what if this changes everything? And what if your reason for inventing the machine disappears and I never study physics?"
"Like I said: your problem. Now, go to sleep...! Okay. Now, off to the bathroom with my stroke mags to take the edge off, then I'm off to find Karina.

Original title: La primera vez
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Versión en castellano

Hernán Domínguez Nimo

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Wrong predictions – Javier López & Sergio Gaut vel Hartman


Raffaele Benadani, an early XXI century geologist, predicted that May 11, 2011, a cataclysm in Rome, the Eternal City, ought to occur. Eminent colleagues of Benadani were asked about this alert, but they refuted the truthfulness of such omen, and even more, they strongly denied the possibility to make any predictions on the long run about the plate tectonics. Even so, the news spread by the Internet and thousands of terrified Romans, run off their city, leaving their jobs and taking refuge in various places. They are the ones and only founders of New Rome about ten kilometers North of the ruins.

Original title: Predicciones erróneas
Translation: Héctor Ranea


Versión en castellano

Javier López
Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Two on the Canvas - Martín Gardella


Two bold drops of watercolour escaped the brush held high, colliding with the artist’s virgin fabric. As if by the art of magic, the violet stains acquired human form, one of a man similar to me, the other, of a women like the one of my dreams. The painter, seeing the figures silhouetted against the white background, drew between us a small, rose-coloured heart, turned off the atelier lights, and left us alone. One night was enough for us to complete the wonderful work of art, one which the painter himself would never have thought possible to depict.


Original title: Dos en el lienzo
Traslation: Jamie Hershing

Martín Gardella


Versión en español


The picture is "Friends", by Marcial Farfán 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Shadows - Esteban Moscarda




I'm scared. At any time, I know they will splinter the doors, burn my philosophy, they'll take me to a Hell that Dante could not even imagine. Luckily, I'm alone. I could not stand the suffering of anyone else. I'm starting to shake, noises are part of a Death's overture. I turn around. No, I'm not alone: behind me, there are 30.000 shadows trying to hold me...

Original title: Sombras
Translation: Luciano Sanders

Versión en castellano

Esteban Moscarda

The mountain - Virgilio Piñera



The mountain is three thousand feet tall. I have decided to eat it, bit by bit. It is a mountain like any other: vegetation, rocks, soil, animals and even humans beings that walk up and down its slopes. Every morning I throw myself upon it and start chewing on the first thing that crosses my path. I spend several hours at this. I return home with my body exhausted and my jaws distended. After a brief rest I sit in the doorway and gaze into the blue distance. If I told my neighbor about it he would surely laugh himself silly and take me for a madman. But being aware of what I am doing, I can very clearly see the mountain losing both heft and height. Soon they will be blaming geological disturbances. And that’s my tragedy: nobody will want to admit that it was I who was the devourer of the three-thousand-foot-tall mountain.

Original title: The Mountain
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Virgilio Piñera

Versión en castellano

Virgilio Piñera

Monday, 27 June 2011

Simpler – Giselle Aronson


I’m not going to ask you to catch and pull celestial stars down for me.
I do not expect heroic proofs or big sacrifices.
Or lands, or promised fates.
Or bread. Or thirst. Or light.
My expectations are simpler and not less difficult because of this: I want magic in a dropper.

Giselle Aronson

Original title: Más sencillo

Translation: Alex Jamieson

Blind life – Héctor Ranea & Javier López



At the bottom of the pit the children played hopscotch, and the quieter ones played dominoes. They’d asked for a chess set but they were only thrown at a penknife and aspen wood so they could make their own pieces and some cardboard for the chessboard squares. Some of them tried to make gasoline out of what was coming out from the walls but some of the girls got sick with the smell.
The day came when the pit was going to be blocked up because the neighbors were annoyed by the emanations already.
-Are you really doing that? –the only woman in the neighborhood who seemed to still have a piece of heart asked.
-Don’t worry, Ma’am –one of the workers answered- Don’t you realize? When nobody can see them, it will be as if they didn’t exist.
Original title: Vida ciega
Translation: Alejandra Jamieson Barreiro

Javier López
Héctor Ranea
Versión en castellano

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Chimera - Juan Pablo Noroña


His back to the cat, the owner butters a piece of toast. He is frightened to death but resists the urge to turn around because somehow he knows that he is safe as long as he hears the animal mewing. Furthermore, he does not know for certain whether it happens when the animal is out of his sight or only in the fleeting and confusing instant in which it flits across the corner of his eye; and so for now he can feel safe and turning around to avoid the feline eclipse could prove counterproductive. Because for a fraction of a second the cat would be in the zone that brings it from the corner of his eye to the center of his field of vision, and the owner would see it.
It would be foolish, though, to plan to spend the entire day in the kitchen, parked in front of the table with his gaze fixed on the washer. Also useless: at any instant the cat could enter his field of vision on its own paws. This latter possibility would perhaps be a relief, since while the animal is in sight it is only a black and white, long-haired kitty with a springy tail and woolly, chubby cheeks. Still, the transition would be frightening, hair-raising, and then of course would come the anxious ordeal of having it next to him, and fighting to stay awake, and deciding not to leave the house, and putting off the change for as long as possible. Resigned to the fact that there is no solution for this problem, the owner chews his toast with neither appetite nor pleasure. And then it happens.
A creature at once both horrible and spellbinding, a chimera of imprecise form and indistinct edges is perched atop the table. Its colors are dizzying, its symmetry unreal, simultaneously both possessing and lacking recognizable structures and organs; it moves over the tiles maintaining all the while a glacial calm about itself.
The owner blinks, and before his eyes his little black and white cat spars with him with its left paw while mewing plaintively.
“Nothing I can do about it,” the owner thinks, and he chews his toast. If the beast would just remain, he would know how to deal with it. Is it his own lunacy, hallucinations caused by physical and mental exhaustion, or is his cat really an impossible scoundrel which only reveals its true colors under hazy, ambiguous conditions, torturing him with uncertainty and fear? Whichever it is, he is all alone with this problem: if the chimera is real, nobody will believe him; if it is a delirium, he can’t afford the luxury of confessing his foolishness to anyone else, not in the present circumstances of his life. Not to mention, accusing such a sweet little kitty of being some kind of monster...
On the kitchen table, the cat sniffs at the perfumed crumbs of butter that have fallen between the tiles and on its own fur. The owner sighs, puts the toast in his mouth, charges after the animal with both hands and carries it with him to the living room. He has no other choice but what he is about to do.
The owner leaves the cat, now purring and trembling on the sofa, and places what is left of the toast next to its mouth. The cat mews its thanks and wrestles off a piece of bread with its front teeth, as if afraid of the butter smudging its snout. And when the animal closes its eyes, the man also closes his, tightly, and as the pet begins to nibble the bread, the owner begins to back out blindly in the direction of his bedroom and does so without tripping, knowing the route, until he reaches his own room and closes the door behind himself, stealthily, very carefully, without opening his eyes, and he supports himself on the moist wood, desperate and secure for the evening.
All the windows are hermetically sealed and there are no other doors. The owner pounces on the bed, takes several pills from the nightstand and swallows two as if they were a handful. Later, in the living room, the chimera cannot fit its anomalous shape onto the sofa, nor can its unnatural texture tolerate the surface of the couch. Luckily, it knows a perfect sleeping spot. The chimera gets off the sofa, walks in the direction of the owner’s room and arrives at the dividing wall, which does not stop it, and the creature crosses it as if it or the wall were illusory, gas, the smoky image of a fevered mind.
Inside is its master. The chimera climbs smoothly and cautiously onto the bed. The man is sound asleep, and it can climb over him, placing itself between his chest and his stomach, in the warm and firm hollow under his ribs, and it settles in. Its fantastic colors glitter excitedly in the same rhythm as its purring, while its yellow-green eyes stroke its owner’s face with a look of absolute and infinite adoration.

Original title: Quimera
Translation: Daniel W. Koon


Versión en castellano

Summer Vampire - Alex Jamieson


Gets up, surfs the channels for the weather, turns the heater on, walks around the house and goes back to the bedroom.
-You’re not going to work today?
-No. No way. It’s only half a Celsius degree –says in the tone of a judge delivering a verdict.
-So, what? Do people not live when it’s cold?
-They do. But I don’t.
And goes slowly back into the coffin.


Alex Jamieson

Translated from Spanish by the author.
Taken from Breves No Tan Breves

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Swimming - Virgilio Piñera



I have learned to swim on dry land. It turns out to be better than doing it in the water. There is no fear of sinking because you are already at the bottom, and by the same logic, you are already drowned beforehand. You also avoid having to be fished out by the light of a lantern or in the dazzling light of a beautiful day. Finally, the absence of water keeps your body from swelling up.
        I am not going to deny that swimming on dry land resembles the agony of dying. At first glimpse one would imagine that you are in the throes of death. Still, it is quite different: at the same time that you are fighting off death you are quite alive, quite alert, hearing the music that comes in through the windows and watching the worm that is crawling along the ground.
        At first my friends disapproved of my choice. They evaded my glance and cried secretly. Fortunately, that crisis has passed. Now they know that I feel comfortable swimming on dry land. Occasionally I dip my hands into the marble tiles and hand them a tiny fish which I have trapped in the underwater depths.


Original title: Natación
Translation: Daniel W. Koon

Virgilio Piñera

Versión en castellano

A matter of principles – Oriana Pickman & Javier López


The advertisement got every place in town: They shall put happiness into sell.
Everybody, anxious to have it, ran the streets, credit cards prepared, ready to buy it. Many had had mortgages on their properties, sold their cars, their television sets, their mobile phones, or they had even stop eating for several days just to have enough to purchase happiness.
When they’d got the place the advertisement specified, they wanted to know the price of happiness. That was a missing detail in the announcement. And the answer was plain and simple: Everything they’d been able to gather.
After they made their payments, the buyers were told that the money would be sent to those who had never had a house to sleep in, or a car to travel on, or a television set to watch, or telephones to communicate with, not even food to brought into their mouths.
Just but a few got the idea well, and went out of there happy. The others felt cheated.

Image: Clarita

Original title: Cuestión de principios
Translation: Héctor Ranea


Friday, 24 June 2011

Ambiguity - Héctor Ranea



The gardener looked at the blossomed plants and thought it was good. Then he labored the soil for the sepulcher and before dusk he saw that that was that ought to be. By night he killed both wife and lover and buried them in the grave he dug. The next morning he watered his vegetables and saw that it was good.

Original title: Ambigüedad
Translation: Héctor Ranea

Héctor Ranea

Versión en castellano

Image: Blessing, by sesfitts in deviantArt

Silence - Ada Inés Lerner


“He treasured very pure words
So as to create new silences”
Green Paradise – Alejandra Pizarnik

It is only left for us to float happily, like a bubble adrift, Maria thinks. And she decides to write a story. The best one. The farewell one. An old fisherman who tries to reach God. Who is nearer the Lord but a fisherman, all by himself at sea?
In the silence of dawn, he can leave behind the vain perfume of flowers and penetrate “the clean morning smell of the ocean”. There, in that virginal landscape he will feel attracted by the rumour of the waves till he forgets about himself. As in a luxurious love that would spare ungotseen favours.
And here Maria stops to imagine the terrible and pervert sins which a fisherman dreams about. Maria prefers not to detailing; just suggesting. She lets herself slip on the words and in the silence that follows, almost free of her will. Maria does not even know what she wants nor she could explain where she goes. She is a woman, an undecipherable and unknown being for anyone else, but another woman or an analyst. This does not interfere in her couple relationship, it rather seems it releases the husband, a big –eyed fish without imagination, from having to make great efforts to think, he limits himself to love her now and then, for,” who can understand a woman?”.
And Maria keeps writing, she only rests when age betrays her. No one should be lonely in old age, she thinks, though it is unavoidable. Her hand drops the pen and rests on the table, her head leaned on her left arm. It could be guessed sleep has overcome her. It is not so: in the story, the sun has slowly come off the sea turning it brilliant. Maria feels in her eyes the unbearable brilliance and she has to close them, and then, yes, the end of the story reaches her, the same as it reaches me.

Original title: El silencio
Translation: Adelina Fernanda Mendiondo

Versión en castellano

Tomado de Ficciones Argentinas

The Visitors - Martín Gardella


I have discovered that my sister’s dolls come to life at dawn. With subtle movements, they leave the miniature house in the adjoining bedroom and enter mine, half naked, to squeeze into the drawer with my articulated heroes. I keep quiet not to disturb them and, with my eyes closed, I listen to the sound of twisting plastic as it gallops against the wooden box. Half an hour later, they leave with a smile and their hair unkempt, their flexible bodies exhausted after having accomplished their mission. The occurrence takes place unfailingly night after night, but tonight it is due to be different. Peeping through the door of my bedroom, the cheerful plastic face of the giant doll I gave my sister as a birthday present looks at the heavy padlock that I have placed on my drawer and winks me an eye. Everybody is sleeping, except us.

Original title: Las visitadoras
Translation: Gustavo Sevilla

Martín Gardella

Versión en castellano

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Olympic Metamorphosis - Sergio Gaut vel Hartman


“I feel so anxious,” said Helen, shaking her long hair. She was an amazing beauty, with eyes as blue as the Aegean and a mouth that evoked the taste of apples.
“You should seek professional help,” suggested the brawny, bearded man accompanying her in this bar at the port of Piraeus.
“Do you think so? I’ve tried everything, but these modern sciences just don’t have me convinced. They’re so… ambiguous. It’s not like before, when one word could transform the universe.”
“You have to accept the facts, dear: Don’t go to therapy, and you’ll never get over the guilt that whole Trojan War thing left you with.”
And, quickly following word with deed, Zeus turned himself into a couch.

Original title. Metamorfosis olímipica
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Versión en castellano

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

The Sphere Field - Adriana Alarco de Zadra



The terror I feel is making my cells dissolve. They are becoming increasingly thin and transparent. I must find a place where to take refuge. I’m feeling so sick that if someone tells me I’m dead I wouldn’t be surprised.
There is less territory on Earth and is still diminishing as the storms ravish the territory. The humans are desperately looking for places to survive, on ships that float, fly or go underwater. That is how they found refuge in this area of the depths. I’m not saying that they will become like us, harmonic and simple. I don’t have that inner hope, but they probably will imitate our customs as soon as the Earth’s surface becomes smaller… and smaller. The Sphere Field has limits and they cannot survive under water without their suits that cover, protect and help them think, and, speaking the truth, which are more capable than themselves. 
As I figured, chaos and devastation starts already in the area. There is little space for so many of them so they break each others’ suits, the only thing that covers and protects them, with sharp knives. The red fluid they carry inside flows out in jets and they bite each other with fury and rage. They want to survive with the virtues of the others of their same race. This is how they will think the same thoughts; they will grow with their same genes; they shall fulfill with their same happiness. 
The fierce capacity of human beings who are fighting for their lives is unprecedented and takes them all on the same track. Some disappear to feed the other ones. 
There is nothing new under water.

Adriana Alarco de Zadra

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Remembering Judas - Octavio Aragão




These days everybody have a weapon. Mine is a hypnotic power that might connects me with a dozen people or more. That makes me a perfect choice for a Messiah since I can make’em think exactly what I want them to for at least a couple of minutes. Believe me, two minutes are a lot when all you want are their souls. The curious thing is that I didn’t want to be a Jesus, I rather be on the other side. I’d never knew what I woud do with souls, but I knew exactly what to do with money and I made so much last year that I feel a little less greedy today. I’ve been thinking about retiring and teaching my technique to some kind of pupil, someone who could follow my path of richness. I think that maybe had enough. What? Do you want to know how it works? It’s easy. Do you have two minutes?

Original title: Recordando Judas
Translation: Octavio Aragao

Octavio Aragao

Versión en castellano

We were a million blind little animals - Daniel Frini


They came into my home destroying everything.
The first to die was papa, while trying to stop them from taking my mother; but the biggest of the savages, the one who was obviously head of gang, dealt him a massive blow with his club that knocked his head off.
My older brother took me in his arms and tried to get me out of the Living Room and away from Home. I didn’t see where the attack came from. His legs gave way and we fell. When I saw his glassy eyes staring into the void, I knew he was dead. I yelled with all my might, in a mixture of impotence and madness.
That was my last conscious act. I never saw my family again.
The savages shut me up in a small crate, in complete darkness. They fed me once a day and never let me out. The smell and weight of the air were unbearable.
I don’t know how long that agony lasted. I lost any sense of continuity. In my scarce moments of lucidity I sometimes perceived the total blackness and, other times, tenuous threads of light illuminating my bloody and infected hands, as was the rest of my body. And, always, the rocking motion showed me we were destined for somewhere I did not know.
In the delirium of fever I heard heartrending moans and what were even, I supposed, words uttered by my companions on this journey and in this agony. I didn’t recognise their languages.
One day, the racket from outside became deafening. At some point the door of my box swung open and two savages yanked me out. The blinding brightness flooded my eyes. After a while, once I’d managed to adapt my vision to the light, I realised I was in a cage. With a great deal of effort I managed to crouch and was able to appreciate the immensity of the tragic scene.
We were in a huge room, larger than any I’d ever seen before. On both sides of a passage the cages were ready – cages similar to the one I now find myself in – some were bigger, and some were smaller. Some were on top of others. Inside them, an infinity of beings that that lived in my land. From the grandiose Trunked-Horse, to the beautiful Beings-that-Cross-the-Sky.
My cage was one of the highest, just beneath a circular window. Straining on tip-toes, I could see through it to a desolate landscape: A great sand expanse, with some scattered shrubs here and there. A flattened plain broken only by a solitary mountain, in the distance, beyond the horizon.
In the cage next to me they’d locked a female of my race, one I’d never seen before. Her forced nakedness covered her in shame, and, although I imagine she was beautiful, her face caked in dry blood, her eyes red from crying, and her battered body, perhaps like mine, pushed me to pity and a need to console her. I talked to her with softness, but she didn’t even look at me. I lost count of how much time we spent there.
There was nothing to separate the cages below from those above, in such a way that excrement and urine from the higher fell from one to the other until it hit the ground. Many of the captives in the lower cages died. Once every day the savages entered the Great Room and removed the dead, replacing them with new prisoners, recent arrivals, and gave us some scant food.
They punished us for no reason. I think my companion lost her mind. She cried and called for her son without rest.
Finally, one morning when I saw the sky darkened by the clouds, the door to the Great Room opened and all the savages entered. At their head, one of them, white haired and face scored by ancient creases – and someone we’d never seen before – raised his hand. Silence descended and with a thunderous voice he spoke in words I did not understand, but which still echo in my ears like a curse, like the motive and reason for the death of my world. He said:

―Animals! My name is Noah.

Outside the storm unleashed itself. It rained for forty days and forty nights.


Translator: Jamie Hersing

About the Author: Daniel Frini

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Forestness - Claudia De Bella




The elf was running through the forest.
As he ran, his backwash of magical sparks sprinkled the leaves, coloring them with a more intense green than the one the storm had injected. The earth was still wet. In a short while, armies of hard-working sprites would come and repair the fallen branches, the broken nests, the wind-twisted plants.
Shining in joy-blue, the elf smiled. In the forest, there was nothing left to chance. Nothing to spare. Nothing to miss.
All of a sudden, an unfamiliar sound made him stop. Looking around, he listened. Entangled with the forest voices, a human voice.
It wasn’t a hunter, because he’d driven the hunters away long ago, with the most simple spells he knew—the breeze swirling around their legs, the horrifying whispers of a thousand snakes, a hundred wings of invisible bats slightly touching their cheeks. The hunters who carried more weapons were always the first ones to run away.
It wasn’t a peasant, because peasants never entered the forest. They were afraid. In the forest, they used to say, death was waiting.
And it wasn’t a destroyer, because destroyers never came alone. Along with their offensive voices, you could always hear those dreadful metallic noises. In the end, they ran away too, like all the rest.
The elf walked cautiously towards the sound, preparing the bow and arrow he knew how to use so well. If a human was brave, like some he’d met, spells weren’t enough. He had to shoot his arrow. Later, they were found on the ground, at the edge of the forest—not a single wound, but their hearts broken into a thousand pieces.
In the forest there was nothing to miss. And there should be nothing to spare.
He peeped from behind a bush, his pointed ears tilted forward, and caught a glimpse of a figure. A human. Sitting under a tree, his head pressed against the hulled trunk and his eyes closed, the human was playing a strange instrument, singing.
Surprised, the elf put down his bow to listen. His slim body started to glow in curiosity-amber. He’d never heard human music before, only their screams, their weapons thundering, the gasp of anguish and astonishment when the arrow broke their hearts.
The human was singing something sad that seemed to sound gloomier in the lively silence. To the elf’s ears, the words the human sang sounded the same as every human word: coarse, unpolished and barely expressive. But the story they were telling was not alien to him.
It was the story of the men who thought something was missing in the forest. And something was to spare. The forest was to spare, and the missing things weren’t from the forest. They had to be brought from somewhere else, once the forest ceased to exist. Things with straight lines and artificial colors.
And it was also the story of those who thought there were some people missing in the world. And some people to spare. The people to spare would rather sing than destroy forests. The people missing helped the straight lines to advance instead of singing.
And it was also the story of the singing human. He thought, like the elf, that nothing was missing in the forest. Nothing was to spare, except the brutality of those who didn’t know how to sing, the same men who had banished him to the forest, so that he would later be found on the ground—not a single wound, but his heart broken into a thousand pieces. From then on, nobody else would dare think that straight lines shouldn’t go any further.
The human was singing, and all of a sudden he started to cry. And the elf, radiating compassion-blue, cried too. He cried for the treacherous stab of straight lines, for the ignorance of the world, for the sincere pain this human felt for the death of the forest. His own death didn’t matter to him.
Slowly, the human’s sobs faded away. With his eyes still closed, he stroke the tight strings once more and the music intertwined with the leaves, the roots, the muttering of the opening flowers.
The elf tightened his own string. He raised his bow. He aimed.
The arrow that flew towards the human was surrounded by a beaming brightness, a cloud of tiny white explosions that appeared and disappeared in an instant. It went through the air, leaving a misty trace behind, and hit the singing human.
The elves’ magic is the most powerful in the whole forest. Nobody knows how to break a heart into a thousand pieces without leaving a single wound. Nobody knows how to multiply the ability to acknowledge truth. Nobody, except the elves.
The human felt something in his forehead, something that went in, stabbed his brain through. Then, together with his own singing, he started to hear the forest’s voices that came from the tree he was leaning on, from the moss covering the trunk, from the soft soil. Amazed, he understood what they were saying and his sad face filled with joy. The voices said they wanted to welcome him. The forest was the home of everyone who loved the forest. The forest didn’t expel those willing to take care of the forest. And no arrow could break a heart that was immune to straight lines into a thousand pieces.
Soothed by happiness, the human sang with the forest.
Satisfied, the elf listened to him for a moment and then walked away. While he disappeared among the foliage, gleaming in wisdom-yellow, he smiled again, because nothing was left to chance in the forest. Because, once again, there was nothing to spare. Nothing to miss.
Not even an unbroken heart.

Original title: Bosquedad
Translation: Claudia De Bella

Versión en castellano

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The day you’ll love me – Sergio Gaut vel Hartman


Carlos Gardel, the famous aerial acrobat, was preparing to launch his Piper Laurie XL-95 into the skies of Medellín when a female voice whispered in his ear.
“Don’t go. You’ll die.”
“Oh, really? Says who?”
“I, Rusiana, the lady who lives in your ear.”
“Rusiana! It’s been so long! Where’ve you been?”
“I ventured off to explore you inside, and arrived at the conclusion that yours is song, not aerial acrobatics.”
“Women! My flight instructor, the great Segismundo Froi, always told me: “Nobody understands women.”
“Don’t go, Carlos!”
“Please!”
Carlos Gardel took off in his plane, pirouetted a thousand times, and nothing happened. Today, about to celebrate his 120th birthday, he lives alone in the ‘Haven of Peace’ care home on Humbolt Street. Rusiana moved from ear to pancreas, as she could no longer stand the old man’s snoring.

Originalk title: El día que me quieras.
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Versión en castellano

Beautiful Diana - Gustavo Valitutti


She sleeps... her beautiful red hair on the pillow, her pale and perfect skin, her angelic face protected by the continuous and unconquerable curtain of darkness. It is winter, and that draws a smile on her full lips for him who knows how to see it.
The nights are long... in winter.
I know I have no excuse, but solitude left when she entered my life. Diana does not love me — I know, but she will remain with me and she will be company to me until the end of my days, until the end of my nights.
The days without her are long.
Daily tasks take me away from the house and Diana sleeps within her dark refuge.
When I come home, I lie by her side and she embraces me, and hours later she leaves wearing her best dress, and I try not to think until she returns.
Diana is never late; she does not like the outdoors.
I sigh when I see her, and she mocks my sigh. She throws the money on the dresser top: “So you won’t need to be away for so long.” She smiles at me, and returns to her eternal rest, licking the blood from her lips.

Original title: La bella Diana
Translation: Carmen Ruggero

Tomado de Bewildering Stories

Versión en castellano

Gustavo Valitutti

Monday, 13 June 2011

The New Intelligence - Javier López



The truth be told: I saw it coming. Little by little they’ve been taking control. Their capacity for arithmetic, for processing reality accurately, their technological skills and lack of emotion – it could never have turned out any other way.
They’ve already forgotten that we were the ones who constructed them. Artificial intelligence has evolved in such a way that robots have ended up branding us idiots.
Already they’ve stopped us using computers, going anywhere near laboratories, taking part in space flight, nuclear fission or any other technological, biological or chemical process of any complexity. They hoard all these endeavours and choices.
It’s true they’ve never wanted to interfere in politics, and this aspect continues to be specifically human. I ask myself if it’s precisely for that reason they consider us stupid.

Original title: La nueva inteligencia
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Javier López

Versión en castellano

Whitewash – Carmen Courtaux


“It’s time to for us to speak openly,” he said, looking his creator in the eye. “The public’s open to these ideas; they won’t reject us like they would have fifty years ago.”
“What you’re asking me to do is impossible,” he answered, raising the whisky glass to his mouth. “I’ll never say you’re gay.”
“That’s a mistake, Mr Fleming,” muttered James, stirring his Martini.

Original title: Blanqueo
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Carmen Courtaux

Versión en español

Flying as Birds - Adriana Alarco de Zadra

[000bipland.jpg]

In Wonderland the character was given a top hat. He put it on without fear and decided to fly, maybe it was magical and, anyway, it formed part of a story. He noted that the energy of the hat on his head pushed him up to higher places, over the mountains, towards dangerous, abrupt places. Looking down from the perspective of the birds, he did not feel the wind between his fingers or on his face, nor did he feel afraid of the heights. It was wonderful!
When Wright took off the hat he was still sitting on the couch
"Congratulations!", cried his brother, "you’ve invented a new way to travel!"

Original title: Volar como las aves
Translation: Adriana Alarco de Zadra

Versión en castellano

Adriana Alarco de Zadra

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Objects in the Air – Betina Goransky and Sergio Gaut vel Hartman




After each session, the therapist gave himself ten minutes to fasten his goggles for visualising traumas and conflicts and pick out the lingering leftovers that clung to the armchair, lamp and rubber plant. The most interesting traces were, however, the sexual fantasies the patients couldn’t bring themselves to tell him; these hid themselves behind Helen Kaplan’s Illustrated Manual of Sexual Therapy. Once a week, the therapist gathered them together, put them in a bag, and gave them to the owner of the sex shop on the corner.

Traslation: Jamie Hershing
Original title: Objetos en el aire

Dialectic of Enlightenment - Saurio


"What a pain in the ass chicks are with this stuff about dieting!" exclaims Adam and throws with all his might the apple that Eve has just given to him.
The fruit flies through the centuries and hits squarely on the head of Isaac Newton.
He analyzes the gravity of the situation and files a complaint at the Vatican.
"Ah, no. Claims related to Old Testament episodes are the jurisdiction of Judaism" alliterates the Pope. "We assume responsability from Jesus on, and that only if we are in a good mood".
Newton unsuccessfully visits several synagogues. In Prague he is pursued by an army of golems. He flees to Pisa, where he meets Galileo throwing things from the leaning tower.
"I’m fed to the gills with these guys" Newton says.
"What if we fuck up the religious corporations’ business, uh?"
"Cool. I’ll tell Darwin, Einstein and Freud and you go and fetch Copernicus, Kepler and Marx, okay?"
"And who’s gonna tell Nietzsche?"

"Nah, don’t bother, he'll appear anyway ..."
And that's how Modernity began.
More or less.



Orignal title: Una fábula uanacrónica
Translation: Saurio

Saurio

En español

The Critic – Francisco Costantini

[Haciendo+estrellas.jpg]


The prestigious guest finished reading the manuscript. Olaf moved up to him and, eagerly, asked:
“What do you think?”
The critic stroked his white beard and pursed his lips.
“I like it,” he replied, “although I prefer the Bible.”
Then, looking firmly at his interlocutor, he added: “But your work, as fiction, is very good. And the best thing is the name you’ve given my character.”
“You think so?”
“Oh, yes!” he confirmed. “Star Maker is excellent.”

Original title: El crítico
Translation: Jamie Hershing

Francisco Costantini

En español

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The terrifying angel II - Daniel Frini


The man revered Baudelaire.
Like the poet, he rejected the classical idea of beauty twinned with good, kalos kai agathos, and he was convinced by the bright need of finding the repressed and dangerous dark side of love. He traveled to Paris and just lived on a shoestring in the old Quarter Latin. He met his Jeanne Duval at a Rue Séguier’s nightclub, almost in the riverside. Her name was Elenna and she was not mulatto but moor. They shack up all winter in a borrowed room with windows but no glasses. In order to warm up, they burned a few woods directly on the floor and when they ran out of wood, went naked under two worn blankets, and set on the fire of love. He trembles when her hands slide down for his body. And she crushes when he gently pinched her breasts. The unexpected, surprise and amazement colored their own beauty. They seduced each other and melted in ecstasy, consciously looking for being destroyed by the captivating intensity of those cold hours.
Baudelaire said.

The dazzled moth flies toward you, O candle!
Crepitates, flames and says: 'Blessed be this flambeau!'
The panting lover bending o'er his fair one
Looks like a dying man caressing his own tomb,

They made fun of the poet. Each one forgot his ego into another’s flesh.
However, Elenna claimed their right to leave when spring arrived.
The man, who during three cold months had been touched by the thrilling vision of perfection, balanced between the sublime and the demonic, the high and rough, the ideal and the agonizing boredom- suddenly realized the horror of playing with love: one of the players must lose control.
And then, as the moth mesmerized by the unbeatable beauty of a flame, he should pay the highest price: jump into the abyss and meet the spasm of Death.
In the morning, his naked body was found floating in the Seine. He was smiling.

Original Title: El ángel terrible II.

About the Author: Daniel Frini

Friday, 10 June 2011

The companion - Martín Gardella


My roommate has strange habits. When the day breaks, he gets up grudgingly to close the blinds. He adores the darkness and silence of nights to sit and watch shooting stars with emotion. He prefers to hide in the closet whenever I receive guests – I don’t know whether he does it as a gesture of politeness, out of shyness, or because he is afraid that the guest may be one of those individuals who, he tells me, seek to catch him. I know the risk, but I protect his secret knowingly. Since that stormy night when he settled at home, he has become my best companion, an extraordinary pal. I see to him and feed him as if he were a harmless baby, and in the afternoons I prepare him a bath so that he can play, for a long while, with the soapy sponge among his tentacles. 

Original title. "El acompañante".
Translation: Gustavo Sevilla.

Texto en español en El living sin tiempo
http://livingsintiempo.blogspot.com/2009/11/el-acompanante.html

Martín Gardella

Quarrels - Juan Romagnoli


When we quarrel, my wife is used to telling me:
“One cannot speak to you seriously. You behave like a child”.
I try to control my temper and explain to her that it is not so; but it annoys me when she fills up my mouth with that pap so I spit it out and throw a tantrum.

Orignal title: Peleas
Translation: Natalia Bitar.

Texto en español en Cuentos y más:
http://www.cuentosymas.com.ar/cuento.php?idstory=2718
Tomado de Ficciones Argentinas:
http://autoresargentinosenotrosidiomas.blogspot.com/

Juan Romagnoli


Thursday, 9 June 2011

What I deserve - Carlos Feinstein



Trembling in the dark behind a cabinet in the attic, waiting for what I deserve. I hear its footsteps, penetrated by its stinking smell. I imagine its horrific appearance. I cannot stop thinking that few minutes ago, my life was different, the usual one. I was reading in my favorite chair when it broke into the house. I heard the screams of the maid, the howling of the dog. The long silence that followed the death of my pet. Altered by panic and fear, I ran upstairs. At the top I have no way to escape. I can only wait, crouched and shivering, for the horror that comes on my way.

Original title. Lo que merezco
Translation: Carlos Feinstein


http://quimicamenteimpuro.blogspot.com/2008/06/lo-que-merezco-carlos-feinstein.html

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

From Being to Nothing – Sergio Gaut vel Hartman & Lola Carreño




“Take me away from here; wipe me from your agenda, and from your mind!” The lady vociferating here, rabid to the point of spitting foam, had been summoned to appear in one of my stories. It’s true, she hadn’t asked to play a character of mere second rank – but, in order to become a literary star and protagonize a novel, one has to start at the bottom, wouldn’t you agree?
“Is that really what you want?” I said, looking at her with compassion.
“Yes, right now! Or else!”
“As you wish.”
I sat before the keyboard, opened the file and, using the ‘search and replace’ command, changed the name ‘Barbara’ to ‘Jimena’ and the matter was settled.

Original title: Del ser a la nada
Translation: Jamie Hershing

http://quimicamenteimpuro.blogspot.com/2011/05/del-ser-la-nada-lola-carreno-sergio.html

All that is solid melts into air - Saurio


It started as one of those viral emails that within hours spread throughout the world. And then it continued spreading virally but by word of mouth. The slogan was simple: to overcome social inequality people should refuse to work and to consume more than is strictly necessary for subsistence. Doing so, the evil system would fall. No, it wasn’t just another strike, here there was no complaints, no demands, it was simply refusing to work.
It worked.
Not immediately, of course, employers, union hierarchies and the other gears of the system reacted and repressed the protesters. But people, thanks to the viral message, were not afraid and defended themselves. Many died, of course, but as they were majority, they finally were victorious. In addition, the system needed for consumers, and if no one consumed, the production of goods lost all meaning.
That's how the system fell.
Victory achieved, the sensible thing should have been to distribute the wealth equally. But wealth had lost its value in a unconsumerist world, and the very act of sharing was working, so that millions of goods that once had been coveted were abandoned and forgotten.
When food and the accumulated resources ran out people faced with another problem: providing new resources for self-support was working; and working was simply to revive the system.
That's how people died.
Someone wrote that if a group of chimpanzees were given computers and enough time, one of them would end up writing the works of Shakespeare. But nobody thought that before this happened he could write a viral email and send it.
That's how we became the dominant species on the planet.

Original title: Todo lo sólido se desvanece en el aire.
Translation: Saurio

Saurio

http://brevesnotanbreves.blogspot.com/2008/08/todo-lo-slido-se-desvanece-en-el-aire.html

Eden - Adriana Alarco de Zadra


Eve was the first woman in time. She was surrounded by a bluish light that made her glow. She seemed seductive, captivating and fascinating to her partner.
"I’m late, I’m late, I have to go", he repeated.
"Please stay, nobody can force you to work, to study, to prune or to do any other thing that you are doing in this charming garden".
"I don’t want to", he prayed with a small voice, increasingly weaker.
"And I’m telling you that if you don’t do it right now, you won’t see me anymore…"
And Pinocchio ate the apple.

Original title: Edén
Translation: Adriana Alarco de Zadra

Adriana Alarco de Zadra

Monday, 6 June 2011

Contaminated People - Sergio Gaut vel Hartman




I touched the wall with my fingers. I felt an oily texture, thick, and I pulled back my hand. It's useless, I said to myself; I'll never get there on my own. I walked a few meters unsteadily; I slipped, fell, bumped into something solid, maybe a lamppost, and got myself totally filthy in a puddle. With difficulty, I sat up.
"Taxi!"

There was a minute of ominous silence, a minute with the smell of glycerine and the thickness of marmalade.
"Taxi, yessir! Where do you want me to take you?"
I approached the cabbie, trying to see his face. It was impossible. From the sound of his voice I figured he had to be a kid. Bad, I thought. This one won't know the way. But he was wearing the uniform of the Union-yellow, the only color that stood out in the smog-although that, far from calming me down, increased my confusion.
"How long have you been a cabbie?"
"So what's it to you?" the hack said rudely. "Just tell me where you're going!"
I told him the address of my house. I had to fight with myself to keep from questioning him about the work he did. It bothers the hacks to talk about their situation, and all the resentment accumulated during centuries of marginal existence bursts forth at the first direct reference.
I put my arms around the waist of that shitty blind sonofabitch snot-nosed kid, and let him lead me along.

He took off his dirty clothes and tossed them on a chair. Once again, the rationing of electricity favored the impression of living submerged in tar. He hugged his wife without saying a word and felt the same as if he had hugged a store mannikin covered with honey. He couldn't avoid pessimistic thoughts. They lived in an era of invisible scratches, of unadmitted blows. Now everything was secret, except the stink. She smelled like chicken innards; he smelled like whale guts, and there's a lot more in whales than in chickens.
They ate without talking. Pure agar, cyanide cheese, bread made of thirty percent ground cork. Afterwards they drank a digestive tea. Oregano tea.
At eight o'clock sharp, the butane winds began to blow. "How prompt!" he said, suddenly cheerful. "As far as I'm concerned, the weathermen study witchcraft. How times change! Before they didn't get a single..."
"Unghhhh!" she choked.
"Damn! The masks!"
At nine they were finally able to take off the masks. They tried to kiss and only managed to bump into each other in the darkness. Each sentence was the contaminated imitation of forgotten words of love. They said many sweet things to each other and didn't believe any of them. When he managed to get it in her, after several failed attempts, he was thinking about other things. He would have liked to be drinking Mistela wine on the terrace of a café, by the sea shore, with the wind blowing across his bare chest and a six or seven day growth of beard.

The sign on the wall said:
THE TOXICANS HAVE BEEN DECLARED ENEMIES OF MANKIND.
Help us. Report them. They aim to conquer the planet. They want to wipe out the human race in order to take its place. How do you recognize them?
a) They don't use masks or filters.
b) They can breathe carbon dioxide, cyanogen, butane and acetone fumes.
c) They can eat tragacanth, propylene, pyroxylins, podzol and lanthanum.
d) They have the sect's insignia sewn on their chest: green smoke issuing from a red chimney flanked by dead fish on a black field.
e) They always go about in groups of three, symbolizing the Holy Triangle: contamination of the water, poisoning of the air, sterilization of the land.
Hiding Toxicans is punishable by forced ingestion of tap water. Help us. Report them.
FIGHT FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE HUMAN RACE. THE HUMAN RACE IS THE BEST RACE.

At ten o'clock the lights came back on. Even though there was only a single, low-power lamp, they could see. Their naked and pale bodies stood out in contrast with the flowers of the wallpaper.
"Oh my God!" exclaimed the woman. "I don't know you! Who are you? Who was 1 making love with?"
Mortell jumped. The woman's words awoke cynical thoughts in him. How could you call this filth love? He still had memories, treasures, the remembrance of love.
At any rate the light had gone out again. Mortell supposed that the woman was trying to cover herself up, as if he were able to see in the dark.
"What will 1 tell my husband?" The question sounded stupid. And it would have stayed floating indefinitely in the thick air of the room if Mortell had not sympathized with the woman.
"You won't tell him anything," he said. "It's virtually impossible that he'll make it back. Probably the same thing happened to him as to me. A cabbie who doesn't know the city will take him somewhere; to my house or to somebody else's. He'll go to bed with my wife. The poor woman will scream in terror when she discovers him, and he, perhaps, will murder her in the dark, unintentionally, and it's even possible he will trample her underfoot. 1 stopped worrying about such things a long time ago."
"He's very jealous," the woman said. "He won't forgive me, ever."
"Lady, lady," said Mortell impatiently, "he's not coming back."
"I'm a decent woman!"
"I know that. I put strychnine in the tea." Mortell's voice sounded tired, exhausted.
"What did you say?"
"I put strychnine, poison. We're going to die in a few minutes.
"I don't believe you." The woman was terrified at the prospect of dying in the arms of someone she didn't know, that her husband would find her with a stranger when he carne home.
"It's a fast poison. I would have used curare, but I couldn't get any. Very soon everything will be oven for us."
They stayed silent, calm.
"Do you feel anything bad?" said Mortell.
"No."
"Let's wait a little longer." Mortell was annoyed, and the woman began to get bored. He tried to make his mind a blank sheet, but the whiteness was tinged with yellow, a color between bile-green and sky-blue. He tried to fight that sensation, "What's your name?" he asked. "Hortense. And yours?"
"Mortell."
"What Mortell?"
"Just Mortell." He didn't dare admit a name like Narcissus. Anyway he was sure the woman was lying. Probably her name was Vanessa, Solange or another of the names that were in fashion thirty years before. Although actually that was quite irrelevant.
"So?" The woman had lost her patience; she appeared unwilling to wait a second longer for death.
"It's not working," said Mortell. "Our organism is continually changing. Now it has learned to assimilate strychnine, and who knows how many poisons are now harmless. Dying is very difficult. So is staying alive. I feel like I'm in front of a yellow traffic light, don't go on and don't stop. You know about traffic lights?"
"No."
"It was a timing device that regulated the flow of cars."
"Cars... The cars... How old are you? You must be very old. You talk like the extremists. You're not one of the extremists, are you?" Hortense was scared. She would have run out the door, but outside was more dangerous.
"Perhaps I might have been an extremist at some time. What good would that do now? Are there any people under the age of twenty? The only fertile species inhabiting the planet is the Toxicans. Man thinks he knows everything, and he knows nothing. We quit learning a long time ago." He realized that he was babbling, overly excited. He closed his mouth.
"It wasn't so bad, actually," said Hortense. "Are you sure my husband won't come back?"
Mortell nodded yes, twice. She didn't see him. "I have hopes," said the woman.
"For what?" said Mortell "I'm going," he added. "I can't be too far from home."
"Don't go! My husband went out to look for dynamite to blow everything up."
"No kidding! Do you think we'll be so lucky? After what happened with the strychnine?"
"If the dynamite doesn't explode, we can trying chewing it," the woman said.

"This isn't it," I said with a low voice. Nevertheless, the taxi heard me.
"This is the address you gave me."
It wasn't my house. I counted the bars in the grating with my hands and found that there were only nine.
"Listen to me: you're as lost as I am and you don't want to admit it."
"I know the city like the palm of my hand."
"Don't be stupid. I don't live in the palm of your hand."
The hack clicked his tongue and let out a sound that tried to be a laugh. He started off at such a speed that I had a real hard time holding on to his waist.

Mortell crawled along between soft shadows; so soft and black that they appeared capable of swallowing a crowd without it being noticed.
To get there or not to get there, thought Mortell; that is not the question. The question is why. Each time it was harder to put one foot in front of the other. A growing sensation of danger raised the hairs on his neck. He stretched out his arms and felt silly, mimicking the posture of sleepwalkers. Nevertheless, he managed to go two or three steps. He stopped to adjust his nasal filters. He was struck with the thought that if he breathed that shit he would die instantly. And why not! Everything was already dead. There remained himself, some other wanderer and the filters. The Toxicans had inherited the Earth. He touched the plastic mask that held the filters and ran the tips of his fingers along the straps that carne together at his neck. The final shout... no, the final death rattle of technology. He held back his breath and smiled. He moved his fingers clumsily over the buckle and with a sudden push yanked the mask off.
He breathed in. His lungs creaked and groaned, but wound up accepting the fraudulent air without major problems. It was like breathing corn-bread dough. It didn't even surprise him. If he had to look at the bright side of things, he would have to admit that getting free of the filters was a step forward. Now all that remained was for the eyes to adapt to the permanent darkness, and the transformation would be complete.

"The boundary line between the universe of the Toxicans and that of human men was so tenuous that the passage from one group to the other was accomplished with the greatest of naturalness. One could feel tempted to believe that human beings changed into Toxicans in abandoned telephone booths, just like the legendary Clark Kent changed into Superman. Unfortunately, the opposite case has been proven, and even today it is an enigma as to when and how the Toxicans began to reproduce sexually."
P. Smutz
Illustrated Toxicanological Encyclopedia

"Stop! Stop!" The taxi had taken me to an open field, a place so distant from the places that I knew that even the smog seemed a little less thick.
"Sure thing!" The cabbie stopped and turned to face me. He wasn't blind. He had green eyes and a penetrating stare. This stare and the lack of teeth gave the boy's face a monstruous appearance. He let loose a laugh and at that moment I became absolutely certain that he was not a human being, but rather a Toxican. On his chest, sewn with two or three stitches, he flaunted the insignia of the sect.
"You tricked me!" I exclaimed.
"All the time," he said with the greatest of tranquility.
"The uniform of the Cabbies' Union..."
"How stupid men are! The uniform ..." he mocked. He took out a jar of podzol and began eating, sticking his fingers in as if it were custard cream. "Take off the mask!"
"What? Are you nuts? If I take off the mask, I'll die."
"Call me 'sir'! Toxicans don't need masks."
"Sir? And why do I have to call you 'sir'?
"We Toxicans have a very strict hierarchical order," the Toxican said, licking his fingers again. "And since I have just recruited you, you are my subordinate."
"I'll show you subordinate, you shitty brat!" I shouted, rushing at him. The Toxican stepped aside, and with the lame hand that he had dipped in the podzol he yanked off my mask. I fell face down on the ground and, before losing consciousness, I felt like a stream of liquid rubber was filling my mouth.

Mortell continued walking, powerless, crumbling. Everything appeared to be too far away, too lost. The world as he h ad known it in his youth, his wife, Hortense, the suicide attempts that always wound up being bland failures, the Toxicans, No, the Toxicans, no. They were near. A step away. He felt cold. When his transformation was complete, when he stopped thinking like a human and began thinking like a Toxican, he would no longer feel alone.
A fleeting, wonderous image passed through his head. It was so absurd that it made him laugh. The fantasy dealt with the providential arrival of an extraterrestrial race ready to save humankind one minute before the end. In the vision, the aliens possessed all the technology needed to cleanse and restore the planet. They were beings who loved beauty, imbued with flawless ethics and capable even of sacrificing themselves to preserve life.
Mortell shook his head to drive out the images. They were like torture. If such extraterrestrials existed in some corner of the universe, they wouldn't waste their time helping a dying race that was incapable of managing on their own. But they could help the Toxicans. A young and inexperienced race is worth...
A distant explosion, deadened by the jelly that covered the city, sounded behind Mortell. Hortense's husband had succeeded in getting home with the dynamite and the dynamite had succeeded in exploding. Rotten luck! Once again failure shrouded him with its black cloak.
He went back to thinking about the aliens. Even though they would demand an excessive price for decontaminating the Earth, he would be ready for the sacrifice. But what could remain on the planet besides toxic gases, contamination and sterility?

The sign on the wall said:
BE ONE WITH HUMANITY. HAVE PITY ON THE POOR MEN AND WOMEN WHO DON'T KNOW THE JOYS OF THE TOXICAN STATE.
Don't mistreat them. Don't force them. Don't look down on them. Don't humiliate them.
Remember, in some fashion, humans are our parents.

THE TOXICANS ARE THE FUTURE. CONTRIBUTE TO THE FUTURE OF THE TOXICANS.

The Toxican took me to a Toxican town. There he instructed me in the techniques of adaptation and survival, and a surly Toxican answered almost all my questions. They laughed their heads off when I said that it seemed to me that in this place the smog was less dense. Finally they stopped laughing and explained to me that in reality it was more dense, but that I had completed my transformation and was a Toxican through and through. To celebrate my initiation, they got a party together. We sang, we danced and we ate podzol and a stew of lanthanum and samarium.

Mortell decided to let himself flow with the current. Thinking exhausted him and never did anything more for him than to accentuate his depressions.
He tripped. He fell over a soft shape and banged his head against something metal. He felt more wretched than ever. When he was able to feel the obstacle, he discovered a puffy face, the teeth of a human being. A corpse.
"A dead man!" Mortell exclaimed, joyfully. "It's still possible to die!
Filled with enthusiasm, he forgot the damn aliens, the Toxicans and the goddamn Earth itself. He got up and shook off the filth that had stuck to his clothes.
"While there's death, there's hope!" he shouted.

Original title: Los contaminados
Translation: Claudia De Bella

Ilustración: foto de Mauricio-José Schwarz

Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Prophecies - Christian Lisboa


A friend called me so worried about the unusual solar activity. He said, verbatim:
“Do you think there will be a solar storm next year?”
“Every year there are solar storms” I replicated.
“But NASA says there will be a big solar storm, which could cause the death of many people. Is it the end of the world?”
“Wait a minute. NASA has not published that. You've read sensational interpretations on mass media”.
“Can we talk? Will you have time tomorrow?”
“Okay. Tomorrow, after work”.
The next evening, on the Americas Avenue, we met on a Starbucks cafe. I asked for a cappuccino with a touch of Amaretto. I did not pay attention about the Alberto order, because he was talking me hastily about his fears. The prophecies of Nostradamus, mixed with the "Mayan Prophecy", the global warming, the rising of the sea levels by two centimeters, the Catholic Church crisis, the black pope ...
“Who is the black pope?”, I asked.
“Obama, off course. It's evident...”
“Obama is a black man, but he isn't the pope. It is not even religious”.
“When the prophecy was wrote” he said, “the pope represented the greatest power on earth. Now the world's main power lies on the president of USA. The prophecy about the ‘black pope’ refers to him. We are at the end of time, don't you understand?”
“Wait a minute, Alberto” I said”. “You're forcing things. You're making your own interpretations”.
“Oh, yeah? And what about the earthquakes this year? When had occurred many earthquakes of great magnitude in different continents? When, eh? Tell me...”
“That have an explanation. A major earthquake causes a tremendous geophysical disturbance. The isostasy theory...”
“At that moment it happened. I was not looking him directly, I only noticed that the big body of my friend suddenly disappeared. So, without further. Liquefied, as melted to a very high temperature”. All that remained of the great Alberto, academic, essayist, adviser to the Sociology Faculty, was a puddle on the floor, no more than five feet diameter. And fluid in the chair and on the table, where he rested his arm. A drop of the fluid described a parabola and landed in my coffee. I pushed the cup, aghast. I looked around. Nobody seemed to have noticed the horrible tragedy that I had witnessed. Life went on normally, even in its smallest details. 
"So happens the big changes?” I thought, “without people concern, until it's too late?”
I called the waitress and ordered another coffee.

Original tittle: Profecías
Translation: Christian Lisboa

Publicación original: http://brevesnotanbreves.blogspot.com/2010/05/profecias-christian-lisboa.html

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The terrifying angel I - Daniel Frini


The man loved the writings of Yasunari Kawabata.
Led by his "Snow Country", he traveled to Japan during a freezing January with the aim of visiting the mountains where in dark basements plenty of humidity and suffocating heat, young virgins dip cocoons in boiling water, bend the Chijimi silk and interlace fine fabrics which are left to dry on the pure snow, a whole day and night, until they become perfect white, impregnated by Yuki no seishin, the spirit of the snow. Then, this spirit is passed on to those who wear such dresses in Tokyo hot summers.
On the arrival to the mountains, the man got off the train and drifted by the inns looking for his Komako geisha. He eventually found her: Aiko was her name. He attempted the same pure love, as delightful and untouchably perfect as in Kawabata's characters, but the first time Aiko has undressed for him, he dismissed any ceremony and surrendered to the rampant fragility and delicacy, veiled under the guise of modesty imposed to the young one by social stereotypes. The first time he just laid with Aiko, he burned in her flame and she wrapped him with her legs while gently caressing his mouth.
"Take my tears with you," she said. And it was the last time she spoke.
The man stayed by her side forever. Never again were no words between them. And his love crystallized into something much more beautiful than the very Chijimi silk.


Original Title: El ángel terrible I.
Translator: Pablo Martínez Burkett.

About the Author: Daniel Frini

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