We lost Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Alzheimer’s.
I sit on the sidewalk against the high wall of his Cartagena compound, pink stucco hot against my back, my way of saying, I love you, man. I’m sorry; my way of saying: I would gladly donate my brain cells. I would dry clean them in green chemicals. I would have a Chinese man deliver them to your door.
Down the street are the old dungeons. A Colombian woman with a platter of fruit on her head walks by and kicks me. I can tell she did it on purpose. Her sharp toe leaves a dimple of pain on the outside of my upper thigh.
I walk into an antique store full of heavy colonial furniture. I see an old water meter with Spanish writing on it. I pick it up and run out of the store, but it must weigh a hundred pounds. The young man whose mother is the proprietor easily catches up with me. I am soaked with sweat, breathing like an asthmatic. He is gentle as he pries the meter from my grasp, sets me down on the sidewalk, and uses his cell phone to call the police. The police take me away and put me in a cell. I try to call my wife to get me out, but then realize we were separated, then divorced, then she was hospitalized, then she died, so there are four walls between us, thicker than the walls around Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s compound, but the police let me out anyway.
I return to Boca Raton, to my mother’s house. I find a hatchet, the one I used to destroy the hard drive of my father’s computer so no one could steal his identity, even though he was dead. I take the hatchet and split my skull open. I insert my copy of A Hundred Years of Solitude signed by the author.
Old ladies on the street complain about the blood from my head running onto the sidewalk. Fuck ‘em. If they didn’t complain about that, they’d complain about something else. My blood will wash away in the next tropical storm.
My head repairs itself quickly, absorbs Gabriel’s deathless prose. I walk down to the community pool with a big grin on my face. I get into the hot tub set at 125 degrees. Two old ladies smile at me, then lift out of the water to show me that they are topless. I ejaculate seeds of magic realism into the frothing tub, and a jungle of flowers blooms. A parrot shrieks.
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has been published widely in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes and won the 2017 Booranga Writing Centre prize for best fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, search for Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.