seriously, my poor parents, who just couldn’t manage to keep their family together. The thing is there were a shitload of cracks in their system of promises.
    ‘Our poor parents.’
    Why? You have to be the older brother to have the monopoly on insensitivity.
    ‘First the twins go missing and now we’re leaving.’
    ‘But we’re going to come back, with the twins.’
    ‘And what are they going to tell the police now? They’ll think that it’s our parents’ fault we’re missing. They might even accuse them of having disappeared us themselves.’
    ‘Don’t be an idiot. I left a note explaining everything.’
    ‘And what did it say?’
    ‘What do you think it said, arsehole – not to come looking for us or tell the police, that we’re fine, that we’re going to look for the twins and we’ll come back when we’ve found them.’
    The wind had stopped blowing and a cloud that belied the sun’s inclemency stationed itself over our heads. Beneath my buttocks I felt the cushion of the now-settled dust; it was pleasant if one could just keep it tamed. I lay down slowly, to avoid disturbing the particles, which were slowly sneaking out to the sides, fleeing from the imprint of my body’s silhouette. I closed my eyes and, as the screen of my eyelids projected an orangey film, I listened to the voice of Aristotle, persistent in his arrogance.
    ‘You think I’m an idiot, don’t you? Did you really think I wasn’t going to tell our parents? You arsehole, did you really think I was going to let them worry? You really are an arsehole.’
    And suddenly I had a vision. It wasn’t the Virgin or the aliens; it was even more implausible. I appeared to myself. I saw myself trapped in a cardboard box, which had a few holes in it to make sure I didn’t suffocate. I was urinating, ashamed, my back to a crowd whose only occupation was to ignore me, although I thought they were spying on me. The box lay on an enormous rock that was floating in a universe without reason or sense, and I was wondering what would have happened if I’d never been born. With my right hand I was shaking my dick and with the left I was eating quesadillas, one quesadilla after another, one after another, just to stay alive. The quesadillas tasted of urine. The foul taste ejected me from the vision and I sat up as if propelled by a spring.
    ‘I’m not going back.’
    ‘I said I’m not going back, and I’m not going to walk up that damn hill with you either.’
    ‘Don’t be an arsehole …’
    ‘No, don’t you be an arsehole. You’re the one who believes in aliens. You’re the one who wants to walk up a fucking hill to wait for a stupid spaceship. Who’s the arsehole? Eh, arsehole? Who’s the arsehole? Arsehole! Arsehole! Arse-hole!’
    Unfortunately his right arm obeyed the impulse, without giving his stunted conscience time to intercede: he opened a deep gash in my cheek with an empty can of tuna. A piece of my left cheek, just below the eye socket, was split open and simply hung there. I felt the warmth of the blood as it ran down towards my jaw, mixed up with the oil from the tuna; the mixture made its way towards my Adam’s apple. I grabbed the chunk of flesh and smoothed it back over the wound, but it came off and returned to its new precarious location.
    ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’
    ‘Fuck you, arsehole.’
    ‘I’m sorry. Wait … let me fix it.’
    ‘Fuck off, arsehole, go to hell.’

‌ Second-to-last-chance Quesadillas
    I pressed the red button and the acacias disappeared. Up sprang willows, elms, eucalyptus, beeches. My feet trod heavy, rebellious red earth that defied the wind, which had to look for other allies in its dusty little tricks. I saw feral dogs of unlikely colours, roads and streets carpeted with their squashed bodies. I came across rich people, people who foolishly persisted in thinking that the middle class existed; and poor people, poorer people, even poorer people, infinitely

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