Saturday, August 12, 2006

Today's Super-Special Insomnia Report Guest Blogger: Virgilio Pinera!

I am sleeping in a kind of cell. Four perfectly bare walls. The rays of the moon filter through the small window. Since I don't even have a miserable bed of straw, I am forced to lie on the floor. I must confess that I'm rather cold. It isn't winter yet, but I am naked, and at this point in the year, the temperature drops quite low around daybreak.

Suddenly, someone wakes me. Still half-asleep, I see standing in front of me a man who, like me, is naked. He looks at me with fierce eyes. I see in his glance that he takes me for a mortal enemy. But this is not what surprises me most; rather, the feverish serach that he just began in such a confined space. Did he leave something by mistake?

"Have you lost something?" I ask him.

He doesn't answer my question, but says to me:

"I am looking for a weapon with which to kill you."

"To kill me...?" The words stick in my throat.

"Yes, I would like to kill you. I've come in here by chance. But now, you see, I don't have a weapon."

"With your hands," I say in spite of myself, and look in terror at his iron hands.

"I can't kill you except with a weapon."

"You see that there aren't any in this cell."

"Your life is saved," he says to me with a protective little laugh.

"And my sleep as well," I reply.

And I begin to snore peacefully.

["A Saving Nakedness", 1957, one of the Cold Tales
Translated from the Spanish by Mark Schafer]