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Story

Story – Kalym’s Arms, The Idiot and Dinner –

By: Gabriel Jiménez Emán
Illustrated by: Henry Gonzalez
Selection and Compilation: Carolina Fonseca

 

Kalym’s Arms

Kalym tore off his arms and threw them into an abyss. Arriving home, his wife asked, surprised: “What have you done with your arms?”

“I got tired of them and I ripped them off,” Kalym replied.

“You’ll have to go look for them; you’ll need them for lunch. Where are they?

“In an abyss, far from here.”

“And how did you manage to tear them off?”

“I yanked off the right arm using the left, and the left arm using the right.”

“That can’t be,” replied his wife, “for you needed the left one to tear off the right, but you’d already torn it off.”

“I realize that, woman; my arms are very strange. Let’s forget about it for now and go to sleep,” said Kalym, embracing his wife.

Raquel’s Teeth and Other Short Texts. Monte Ávila Editores, Caracas, 1993.

The Idiot

When the sage pointed to the moon, the idiot stared at the sage’s finger, and saw that it was the index finger. It was wrinkled, wrapped in a worn epidermis with tissue so thin that the thickness of the blood beneath, fragmented into small red dots, was visible. It formed a partition due to the irregular lines that, in groups of five, separated the phalanges from the phalanxes. On the back of the finger, on the surface of the knuckles, these lines were more numerous and resembled the veins on leaves. Because the sage was so old, the skin on the knuckle was flayed and inert, and even had marks from where he had gnawed at it in moments of reflection.

The sage’s other fingers bore a fine fuzz barely registered by the idiot’s eye. Such was his concentration on the index finger, different from the others in its hairlessness and larger pores, and its more pronounced, curved fingernail with a faint yellow patina. The nail’s surface was nearly as smooth as glass and it shone. The cuticle was perfectly outlined; its concave line showed not the slightest detachment. The base of the next nail, white and pointed, formed an oval with the cuticle that the sage observed from time to time, finding in it a kind of universal center, the meaning of which escaped him. At last, the idiot paused at the top of the nail, which coincided exactly with the tip of the finger, whose edge sloped downwards. There the idiot saw, perfectly reflected and round, the moon.

Tales from Another World. Publicaciones Seleven, 1988.

Dinner

Kalym tore off his arms and threw them into an abyss. Arriving home, his wife asked, surprised: “What have you done with your arms?”

“I got tired of them and I ripped them off,” Kalym replied.

“You’ll have to go look for them; you’ll need them for lunch. Where are they?

“In an abyss, far from here.”

“And how did you manage to tear them off?”

“I yanked off the right arm using the left, and the left arm using the right.”

“That can’t be,” replied his wife, “for you needed the left one to tear off the right, but you’d already torn it off.”

“I realize that, woman; my arms are very strange. Let’s forget about it for now and go to sleep,” said Kalym, embracing his wife.

Raquel’s Teeth and Other Short Texts. Monte Ávila Editores, Caracas, 1993.

The table was set. In a few moments dinner would begin. The guests, who would be arriving any moment, had only to sit down.

Sure enough, soon after, the guests arrived and the pair of huge lions crouching under the table waited for them to be seated, and then began the grand dinner.

Raquel’s Teeth and Other Short Texts. Monte Ávila Editores, Caracas, 1993.

 

The Author

Gabriel Jiménez Emán

(Caracas, 1950) has divided his literary work between short stories, novels, poetry, and essays and he has also worked as an anthologist and editor. His short story collections include Los dientes de Raquel (1973), Los 1001 cuentos de 1 línea (1982), Relatos de otro mundo (1988), Tramas imaginarias (1990), La gran jaqueca y otros textos breves (2002), La taberna de Vermeer y otras ficciones (2005), Había una vez… 101 fábulas posmodernas (2009), Divertimentos mínimos (2011), and Consuelo para moribundos y otros microrrelatos (2012). His best-known novels are Una fiesta memorable (1991), Sueños y guerras del Mariscal (2001), Paisaje con ángel caído (2002), and Averno (2006). Outstanding essays include Diálogos con la página (1984), Espectros del cine (1994), Provincias de la palabra (1995), El espejo de tinta (2007), and El contraescritor (2007). In 2012, Ediciones Imaginaria released a collection of his work with the title Literatura y existencia (Literature and Existence). His short stories and poems have been translated into German, French, English, and Russian and included in anthologies around the world.