Sunday, June 28, 2009

They drove into Santa Teresa from the south and the city looked to them like an enormous camp of gypsies or refugees ready to pick up and move at the slightest prompting. They took three rooms on the fourth floor of the Hotel Mexico. The three rooms were the same, but they were full of small distinguishing characteristics. In Espinoza’s room there was a giant painting of the desert, with a group of men on horseback to the left, dressed in beige shirts, as if they were in the army or a riding club. In Norton’s room there were two mirrors instead of one. The first mirror was by the door, as it was in the other rooms. The second was on the opposite wall, next to the window overlooking the street, hung in such a way that if one stood in a certain spot, the two mirrors reflected each other. In Pelletier’s bathroom the toilet bowl was missing a chunk. It wasn’t visible at first glance, but when the toilet seat was lifted, the missing piece suddenly leaped into sight, almost like a bark. How the hell did no one notice this? wondered Pelletier. Norton had never seen a toilet in such bad shape. Some eight inches were missing. Under the white porcelain was a red substance, like brick wafers spread with plaster. The missing piece was in the shape of a half-moon. It looked as if someone had ripped it off with a hammer. Or as if someone had picked up another person who was already on the floor and smashed that person’s head against the toilet, thought Norton.

, Roberto Bolano (2004)



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