a surrealist crime novel
(In the third part of the novel, protagonist Astolfo Varnakompoumpo, while waiting for the train to Salamanca, tosses a coin into the Thumalakaregi fortune-teller machine. And the prophecy begins)
Thumalakaregi abruptly interrupts:
«Oh, I was deeply moved by that most straightforward my love Matilde shared with you. If I wasn’t just gears and metal, you would now be seeing rivers flowing down on my painted, petrified cheeks. Please, my story won’t cost your majesty a penny, Astolfo, shall I begin narrating?
«I’m all ears, Thumalakaregi. I mean Zorovavel - I’m sorry»
«Thank you. Her name was Madam Zeta. I knew she was coming. The demon spirits had given me a notice. Some workers brought her here in a van, back on a 1914 afternoon, 1896 model, one of the thirteen ones by the British workshop Webster and Smithson. Madam Zeta, always silent behind the glass. She had foreseen the future, too. Just what I had seen: we will fall madly in love, for the first and last time in our lives. And will be suddenly separated, forever, just because our bosses wanted to. They took a whole evening to set her up. Afterwards the station-master rode his bike and left us all alone. I am so happy you are here, I told her. We were short of breath, crying like a couple of welded sparrows. Lost were the eyes of the mind in the forthcoming kisses, in the neckings of glass and painted wood, and then, just when the best part was getting started, everything turned black, washed out by the brutal snapshots of the parting.
We were standing silent amid the empty station, a drunkard almost stepped over her, I flipped, get the hell out of here, I screamed, and he got so terrified he never had a sip again. The days passed by and we were gazing at those inside the wagons waving their handkerchiefs, many poems were written inspired by their tears. Rains, clouds, sunshines, winds. Tears, laughters, sorrow and heartbeats. And one day they came to get her, oh my beautiful Madam Zeta, but none of us shed a tear. Weekday evening, the station empty like a rotten lug. We laughed, oh yes, we started laughing our hearts out. A laugh like a stream carrying down mud and broken branches. Because what else are we, but harlequins of time, Astolfο my friend? What else, but greenish marionettes of oblivion?»
«Such a h e a r t b r e a k i n g story, Thumalakaregi, I didn’t know you had feelings at all!»
«One needs something more in here so that the gears keep moving, don’t you think so?»
«Absolutely. But anyway, shall we go on?»
«By all means, Astolfο, just give me a minute to get my grip. When I cogitate and speak the truth, the spirits hold a grudge against me»