viernes, 8 de noviembre de 2019


Santa Fe's psychiatric hospital
I am the harbinger of joy, the like of which has never existed before; I have discovered tasks of such lofty greatness that, until my time, no one had any idea of such things.
Friedrich Nietzsche -Ecce homo
It started to manifest early. At first, it was a curiosity, but soon, the novelty gave way to concern. With close detail and progressive ability, the child was able to impersonate anybody. No punishment was enough to straighten it out. His father belt drew on his back the incarnate calligraphy of impotence. They also chained him to the foot of the bed, but he managed to do his circus act anyway. Doctors could not pinpoint a diagnosis and labeled him as a rare case of multiple personalities. Upon reaching adulthood, everything became worse: for the average eye, it was impossible to distinguish the copycat, except for the drooling. Nobody knew what to do. They confined him in the Psychiatric Hospital after spending a week spying on a neighbor. Impersonate her by devotedly studying her manners was his deviated way of saying he loved her, but the next-door girl did not understand the nature of his homage and called the police. Judge also did not know what to do, and at the request of the family, he institutionalized it. They characterized his condition as "atypical psychotic disorder," as well as they medicated him with generosity. Then they marooned the inmate. The treatment was likely effective because the phases intermittency became more extended in time, and instead of months, now he devoted a couple of years to the same person. As hospital staff turnover at a high rate, for most of them, Flores was always a gentleman in a suit who spent the whole day stuck to the front fence asking for cigarettes, coins, or candies. One morning someone shouted: "The Chameleon has escaped! He's at the bus stop!". Nobody was surprised: the main door controls were not pretty much rigid. With more urgency than skill, they organized the capture, and sturdy nurses dragged him while the poor man shrieked that it was confusion that he was a clerk waiting for the bus to go to his job. They did not pay attention and confined him with sedation as hard as to dope an elephant, and they suspended his ambulatory freedom forever. While the bus reinitiated its way, a man sitting in the backseat smiled with a horrible grimace. With a dirty handkerchief, he cleaned the drooling. He returned to Barranquitas. An old insult was about to be paid out.

© Pablo Martínez Burkett, 2019

(*) This short story was published in #169 of Revista miNatura devoted to madness.

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