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As I took my last sip of tea, I was looking out the window opposite my bed, the leafs of that big tree were falling onto the ground, one by one, little by little each of them fell, as they did every November.
My caring wife came through the door, with a sad look on her face, she sat right in front of me, on the corner of my bed, blocking my view, she stared at me for some time, and told me how much she loved me, & how everything was going to be allright, although deep in our hearts we both knew that I was going to die, after fifty years of marriage. I handed over to her my empty coup of tea. By the time she got out of the bedroom, the last leaf fell off the tree, as well as its other dry-leaf companions, it was no longer a living being, once it reached the ground, neither was I.
Through the window, I could see a big festival going on, the loud music could be heard inside the room, a lot of cheerful people were amused by a big piŮata shaped as an animal. I was already starting to get bored inside that old office, when I noticed a pack of cigarettes, by the side of three little skeleton mariachi figures, in front of me, so I decided to grab one. As I wondered through the drawers, looking for a lighter I found three brochures, each of them with different themes on the cover, I couldnít help noticing a variety of diplomas on a wall above a big collection of business books. Once I found the lighter, after I had lit the cigarette, I sat down, enjoying the first smoke I have had in 30 years.
Suddenly the door opened, and the slender man who had brought me here came through it, still wearing his burnoose.
"Iím sorry for the delay Mr. Flores, Iím ready to take you now"
"Take me? Where?"
"Now, thereís no need to be nervous"
"Iím not nervous, itís just that... well your aspect is kind of intimidating"
"Intimidate, me!" he lifted his scythe over his head "But Iím your friend. My name is Manny Calavera & Iím your travel agent"
"I donít want a travel agent, I want to go home"
"You canít go home Celso, youíre dead" his words made me remember what had happened to me, "But donít worry, everybody here is just as dead as you, thatís why we call it the Land Of The Dead"
I just stood there speechless.
"So, are you ready for your big trip", he said as if nothing had happened
"No!..., What big trip?"
"The four year trip of the soul, it is pretty long, and Iím not going to lie to you, it might be very, very dangerous. Unless, you take all the money you had been buried with, and use it to buy one of these packages, and who knows, maybe you qualify for a Number Nine ticket, it gets there in four minutes instead of in four years"
He gave me the three brochures I had seen earlier. This time, I got particularly impressed with the Number Nine train. Calavera turned to his computer, and went through some files, after some minutes he turned back with a disappointing face.
"The bad news is, you canít afford a Number Nine ticket, but I still have a few tricks under my hat..."as he said this, he checked his computer again, this time he came with a surprised face "This is the ticket to the Excelsior line"
After he had shown me that the only thing I could qualify for was a walking-stick, we went downstairs together, it was the most impressive Art-Deců structure I had ever seen. When we reached the door, he said,
"Youíre going to be just fine"
"Well why donít you join me" I said with a defiant voice
"Believe me Iíd go if I could, but Iíve got a debt with the D.O.D...."
"Well I guess there are people on worst circumstances than me right now" I sad Ironically as I started my journey through the Land Of The Dead, still the people in the festival were celebrating, as I had nothing to thank for, but things to regret I started walking without turning back.
(1 A piŮata is a Spanish word for a hanging pot filled with candies and small gifts, which is broken with a stick at a masquerade or party.)
(2 Mariachi, mariache. Popular music and orchestra, street singer, the famous street bands of Mexico)
(3 Hooded cloak worn by the Arabs & Moors; coarse, woollen cloth.)
To be Continued...
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