En el salón teníamos una mascota. Era una uva y se llamaba Uvaldo. Vivía en una cajita en el salón. Un día llegamos y se hizo viejito.



–Microficción de Ehécatl Moreno
–Uvaldo diseñado por Ehécatl Moreno

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In a state


My mind is in a state
‘Cause all I seem to do is tempt my fate
Well I try a bigger space
But all the while I’m crashing at the gate

This time
This time
Reality’s struck me between the eyes

My mind is in a state
‘Cause everything I’m missing comes too late
So I try and disappear
But there is only one way out of here

This time
This time
Reality’s struck me between the eyes

My mind is in a state
But all I need to do is change my pace
And I know there’s fear to face
But happiness is found in its embrace

This time

Unkle / In a state


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La gente vive años y años pero, en realidad, únicamente durante un tiempo vive de verdad, y es cuando consigue hacer aquello para lo que nació.- Alessandro Baricco

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Raid bug-killer

cucarachitas libinidosass 23.jpg

(Cucarachita de Ehécatl Moreno. Dibujo de Adriana Degetau)

I opened the bread box and what do you think I found? The neighbor! Again! That bitch! So I promptly gave her a few major blasts of Raid bug-killer. But this time I didn’t use the ‘Home & Garden’ variety, you know, the one with the ‘country floral’ aroma? Noooo. This time I used the heavy-duty industrial-strength cockroach-killer, the one that says on the label, “even kills their babies and un-hatched eggs”. Yessir, and it was really good to finally be sticking it to that slut.

Maybe I’d better explain: I got married really young, I was totally full of dreams and plans and illusions. And right in the center of those plans was my enormous dream house, the house my husband and I were living in back then, with a king-size swimming pool, a major Food Channel kitchen, and a palatial bedroom to die for. But no sooner did the doorbell start ringing that syrupy ‘Ding Dong’ as my man stepped through the front door, home from a long day at the office, when he would get the warmest welcoming hug, and I’m talking microwave warm, from that slutty bitch of a neighbor with her super-silicon pair of tits and that oh-so-wide smile plastered over her lips.

It was hard to believe. But right now, those once-perfect tits are disintegrating under the effects of Raid bug-killer.

But where were we? Watching how the neighbor literally threw herself onto my husband, and since he wasn’t doing a single blessed thing to deter her, I decided I’d better close off the front door, so she wouldn’t have access to it. The part I didn’t realize was that the sly bitch found other ducts and passages where she could hide herself: those tiny cracks around the edges of the door, the different pipes and ductwork that ran through the walls, it was all like one big playground for her. And using her powerful, sensitive antennae, she was able to track my poor hubby all the way into the study where he used to work really late some nights. Of course, I didn’t realize what was going on. The two of them would be all cuddled up in the most dusty corner of the room, hidden under the curtains, talking all night long till the sun came up. (‘Talking’. Right. If you believe that’s all they were doing, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.) And me, lovestruck newlywed fool that I was, I swallowed every innocent puppy-dog word he used to say to me: “No, darling, of course I want to come to bed with you, but don’t you realize? A lot of nights, I have to work all night long just to pay for your dream house.”

Hang on a sec, I’ve got to keep spraying her, just a little more Raid now, some bugs take forever to die and honestly, I’ve never been a patient person.

But…as I was saying… There was one night I just couldn’t sleep, so being the loving little wifey that I was, I decided he would really appreciate it if I came downstairs to the study, and stayed up with him while he was working sooo hard to pay for all the expensive evening dresses and Italian negligées and French perfumes that I was always buying, just to let him know much I appreciated his working his fingers to the bone and –

And can you imagine what I saw when I opened the door to my faithful, loving husband’s study?

The thing that was sitting at the desk, in front of my husband’s laptop, had been a man once, and you could still see his face, but now it was a giant black cockroach who still had my husband’s beautiful black hair, and with what I can only call a ridiculously oversized male reproductive appendage (I say ‘ridiculously’ because, truth be told, and this is just between us, my dear sweet hubby was not very well endowed) – and sitting on his lap was the neighbor. She had grown to his same size – I instantly recognized her rich reddish-purple color and those surprising violet eyes she had and – I can barely bring myself to say this part – the two of them were fondling each other’s enormous, quivering antennae. (And just so you know, I’ve never had a problem with a person’s sexual preferences, live and let live, is what I say, and different colors, different races or different species had never seemed unnatural to me. Before that night, anyway.) And –

I can’t remember the next part very well but I sort of snapped. I grabbed the first thing in front of me – the huge heavy metal platter that was some kind of golf trophy from the Country Club my husband insisted on joining – and I went for him. My big shiny cockroach cheating two-timing son-of-a-bitch till-death-do-us-part husband. He splattered and squished as I brought the metal platter down again and again, I hate cockroaches, did I mention that? It was over really fast, and it was disgusting. His girlfriend, the slutty neighbor, was frozen in shock or whatever bugs feel when they see their married lover get pulverized, but when I came for her, she took off and the bitch was fast, she managed to get away.

That was two months ago. And by the way, in case you’re wondering, the cleaning bill – for the stains on the carpet in the study – was criminal. Since then, she’s showed up now and again to steal food. And the one thing she can’t resist are those chocolate éclair donuts, you know, the ones full of rich white cream that splatters everywhere if you slam your fist down on one, which most people don’t do, by the way. (Did I mention, my husband loved them too?) So this morning, I went down to Donut Heaven and bought a dozen of them, put them in the bread box…left the front door open and the kitchen open…

And waited. And waited. And –

Sure enough, she showed. She couldn’t resist.

I’m still spraying her, by the way. It’s literally disintegrated half her body but somehow her head is still mostly intact…she’s almost dead now but, I can’t quite believe it, she’s…. Is she? She’s smiling at me. And whispering some last words, so soft I have to lean in and still I can’t catch them, cockroaches don’t talk like you or me, all I heard was: “…Eggs….almost ready….to hatch….you’ll never….find them but….”

The rest was an incomprehensible and disgusting sucking sound as what was left of her cockroach head dissolved. I kept spraying for another minute…just in case.

That was this morning. It’s midnight now. But I can’t sleep. All I can hear are those last three words:


Originally published as Raid matabichos (May 19, 2009)
Original text by Adriana Degetau.
Translation by Miguel Tejada-Flores

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We are not new

Lo que tenemos en común es lo que es dado a cada uno como exclusivamente suyo, dice Italo Calvino en Palomar


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The City


I saw this guy crouched in front of my car, letting the air out of the front tire. I was maybe 100 yards away and I came up behind him as quickly and quietly as I could. When I was about 10 feet away I recognized him: no doubt about it, he was one of those dirty-rag guys, you know, the guys with filthy rags who’re always coming up to your car when the light turns red and offering to clean your windshield with the world’s most disgustingly filthy dirty rag, the guys who offer to watch your car in a bad neighborhood for only $5 but you know if you don’t pay them, they’ll steal your hubcaps, windshield wipers, tires, wheels, everything that isn’t nailed to the car, so you’ve got no choice, you fork over your last fiver, all the time telling yourself this is it, this is the last straw, I really have to move out of this fucking dirty crazy city before I turn into one of these crazy dirty freaks myself – and this guy, my local dirty-rag guy, he’s taking all the air out of my tire, probably cause he got pissed off, cause I parked my car there in the one empty spot on the street, the one spot he thinks belongs to him, where he does business, offering to fleece more idiots like me out of their $5. And he’s muttering to himself like those crazy guys always do and now I’m so close, I’m less than 10 inches away, like the shadow you never see till it falls on you, like the aroma of that new perfume I can’t afford, Carnal Iris, which I’ve only tried in Palacio de Hierro where they give you free samples from ‘testers’, one second you don’t smell it, the next it’s like this carnivorous flower is all over you, taking you prisoner and driving you insane (soy Totalmente Carnal), and the snotty blue-haired bitch who was behind the counter never noticed the tiny bottle disappearing inside my pocket, and meanwhile my rag guy is so intent on his fucked-up criminal enterprise he still doesn’t notice me, doesn’t feel me breathing on his neck, and I’m feeling pretty insane myself as I pull the gun out from inside my jacket but when I press its metal barrel into the soft flesh of the nape of his neck he freezes and my voice is so low most people wouldn’t hear it, but I know he does as I tell him, “that air you took out of my tire, now you can put it all back in, inflate it just like it was,” and I realize his pants are getting all stained as he’s peeing himself and a little stream of it is flowing down onto the pavement where he’s crouching, and when he mutters one word under his breath, a word that begins with ‘b’ and ends with ‘itch’, my voice almost has a smile in it as I add, “and don’t get one drop of that on my car, cause if you do, I’ll turn your face into a new rag, you got that, Jack?” and when he doesn’t answer, the barrel presses a little deeper into the base of his spine and I’m asking again, “you got that?” and he doesn’t want to say it, but the metal is pressing harder and finally he grunts, “yes,” and I go, “yes, what?” and there’s a long moment and finally, he really doesn’t want to fucking say those two words but he’s got no choice cause he knows just how crazy people get in the City, so he does, “yes, ma’am”.

And I’m grinning to myself as he’s pumping the tire back up, putting back the air he stole from me, and my free hand, the one that’s not holding the gun, slides inside my pocket, closing around the Carnal Iris and the next instant that cannibalistically dangerous smell is invading my nostrils and I can’t help my instinctive reaction, my reptilian brain taking over, losing any final veneer of civilization, of compromise, as my finger tightens on the trigger and –


It didn’t happen.

None of it. Except in my head, where it happens every day … and except on the street … the street outside my apartment … the street where I go to work … the street outside your apartment … every street I know, cause that’s the way we do things around here … that’s the way we roll … in the City.

Original text by Adriana Degetau
Translation by Miguel Tejada-Flores

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My cell phone started ringing again at 3 in the morning. Which is not all that unusual given my schedule lately: I’ve been going to sleep somewhere around 3 or 4 in the morning. But I didn’t answer. I reached down, switched the phone to mute, and kept on reading, even though the lines and the words were swimming in front of me. My eyes have been feeling really tired, I’ve been suffering from excessive eyestrain. Which is not all that surprising seeing how as I’ve been using them to see things with for 25 years of my life. And I’m not counting those first few years, because that’s when you’re learning to see everything around you, to focus your eyes, to really look at stuff. But I don’t get why those doctors are always telling you, you have to rest your eyes but how the hell can I? What with reading, and watching TV, and working on my laptop, not to mention that I’m always staring at people in the streets, people stuck in traffic, or on buses or whatever. There’s so damn much to look at. For sure, in previous generations, you know who I’m talking about, when people didn’t have much life expectancy, they were already elderly at 40. And when they died, their eyes were in great shape, they never suffered a day of eyestrain in their entire lives. How could their eyes get tired when the only things they ever looked at were the leaves of trees, the earth, the moon (not the sun, obviously), the stars, fire, firewood, or rats, or moths, or the swollen udders of the cows they were milking, or the pork kidneys they were cooking up with mushrooms and onions…? Who was that scientist, the one who went nearly blind after trying to study the Sun through the telescope he’d just built? Galileo, wasn’t it? Talk about eyestrain…! There’s only a small handful of people in his class, the demented geniuses, the intense obsessive researchers who went blind or lost their sight through absent-mindedness or just because of pure and simple exhaustion. And what about the scribes. Or the truly dedicated readers. The pirates. The warriors. The abused mothers or daughters. Special cases, all of them. Who all suffered from…from special kinds of eyestrain. But not ordinary people, not the rest of us. Unless –

Unless maybe there was a rare disease – a virus of some kind, or one of those parasites that slowly suck the life-force from inside you and implacably consume every one of your internal organs, always saving the brain for last. The brain and the eyes. (Are brains really tastier? George Romero thought so in ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and so has every other zombie-obsessed filmmaker or writer ever since but…are they, really? Or could some other body part be that truly gourmet delicacy which obsessed cannibalistic foodies will spend years searching for?) Unless –

Unless the disease was more widespread, an epidemic, in all those houses with no soap and no personal hygiene, all those beds that never get cleaned, the sheets never ironed. Breeding grounds for weird mutant alien viruses. And think of all that dirt, the unwashed hands of poor working men and women, the unclean hands of slaves or indentured servants. With those conditions it’s no wonder that the plague – this unstoppable lethal pestilence – starts literally eating away at your very flesh, little by little, consuming every part of you and finally reaching the muscles and tendons of your eyes, and the surrounding layers of flesh and sinew. Leaving you not just with unimaginably horrible eyestrain, but literally with no eyes at all…unless –

Unless you were abandoned, alone, in the middle of the night, smack dab in the middle of the largest wooded area of the entire region, a place where a band of crows – no, not a band, not a tribe, what’s the word? Yes…a “murder”! A Murder of Crows! are congregating – and they swoop down, attacking you in savage avian waves, like the remake of that Hitchcock film, and they literally pluck and rip your eyes from their sockets. Or unless –

Unless you happened to be downtown, leaving a bar or whatever, and you stumble across some violent drunk, in the middle of a dark, abandoned street or alley (and weren’t they all dark and abandoned back then?), and he just slides the tip of his razor-sharp knife into your eye by mistake (it’s always a mistake), it was an accident, I swear to God, an honest accident! Or unless –

Unless you run across an angry and misunderstood artist, a Caravaggio, fleeing down the main thoroughfares, running hell-for-leather to escape from his vengeful pursuers, you don’t see him coming till it’s too late and he shoves you out of his way and you stumble and fall head-first and face-first and eyes-first directly into a small mound of hardened brittle straw whose needle-sharp points pierce your cheeks, your lips and your eyes, blinding you.

That’s what I would call eyestrain. And –

My cell phone starts ringing again, distracting me from these all-too-vivid and too visual images in my mind’s eye (or maybe they’re not in my mind’s eye…but in my eye’s mind? do eyes have their own minds? do they operate independently from the rest of us? is that why I can’t control the scary images which sometimes come to me, at 4 in the morning, after drinking too much Absinthe? Or too much of that new, cheap brand of mezcal, the only one I can afford, ‘Los 400 Ciegos’, the Four Hundred Blind men? No, Adriana, I tell myself, don’t let yourself go there) –

The phone is still ringing.

I grab for it but I miss it. I can’t seem to see where it is … I can’t seem to see much of anything right now, but somehow my blind, fumbling fingers find the small vibrating mass of metal and plastic and electronics (vibrating the same way those microscopic worms do, the ones which eat your eyes in the final phase of the ocular virus) –

I answer it: ‘Hello! Who’s there?’

There’s no answer. I blink my eyes rapidly, fighting tears, trying to see the world around me again, the world I’ve always taken for granted, my office, the pile of dirty clothes, the half-filled ashtray, the empty bottle of 400 Ciegos, the last drops in the glass next to my laptop – the world I would literally give my right arm, right now, to see, just to glimpse, once more.

‘Who is this? Don’t play games with me! Or I swear, I’ll–

The stranger’s voice is cold and gravelly as –

‘Don’t get cute with us, babe. We’ll be there in an hour for the money you owe us. And you better have all of it or…’ (and you can almost hear the evil smile in his voice) ‘…we’ll cut your eyes out.’

I’m frozen. The blood in my veins has turned to ice water. I’m not breathing, I’m an eskimo, a zombie, I can barely form my lips and mouth into the words –



The goddamn faceless stranger on the other end of the line is laughing at me. And this time, when he speaks, I recognize his voice, his unmistakeable accent—

‘Hahahahaha, I’m joking, Adri. Don’t have a fucking heart attack.’

My heart is beating again, and something else is happening, little by little, the impossible thing I wanted more than anything else: objects are coming into focus…the world is reappearing around me.

‘Miguel Angel? Is that you?’

He’s still laughing. My room is coming into sharp relief. I can see everything now. The stack of unpaid bills. The half-empty containers from Hara-Kiri, my favorite Japanese takeout. The tightly rolled dollar bill….which I sometimes use as a telescope for watching ants through. The old clock, which I inherited from my crazy aunt, the one which supposedly stopped on the day she died. And last but definitely not least, my unfinished glass of 400 Ciegos.

‘Of course it’s me. I’m calling cause we’re having a little emergency. The guy who was writing the front page story, Vincent, he’s in the hospital…’

I need a drink. I lift the glass, raise it to my lips. And freeze. Something small and round is bobbing in the clear liquid…something that looks suspiciously like…. No. It can’t be….

Miguel Angel continues, totally clueless, like most of the editors I’ve worked for: ‘Vincent got attacked outside of a bar, some drunk with a knife who cut out his – hey are you still there?’

‘I’m still here’, I tell him. The tiny eyeball stares up at me.

‘So, we need another story. And we need it now.’

I raise the glass to my lips and chug it all down in one swallow, mezcal, 400 Ciegos, eyeball and all. I bite down on that small round globe. It tastes exactly like one of those olives, stuffed with gorgonzola. I’m smiling.

‘Okay, Michelangelo,’ I tell him. ‘Any particular theme?’

A long beat. The silence is broken by…a sound I’ve never heard before. It’s my aunt’s clock. It’s ticking again. Tick. Tick. Tick.

‘Can you write me a story which starts with a phone call at 3 in the morning?’

Texto de Adriana Degetau
Traducción de Miguel Tejada-Flores

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