The Observers
Pablo Larios

We knew about the guests over there. Heard of a man's hat blowing off, it was all the rage in the next room at the party. Unbelievably, the same man getting scalped by savages. I know. We had reason enough not to believe him when he came in, interrupting us talking on the bed -- sir, your fly is down -- until his head, minutes after, was found separated, by two people who didn't even know each other, from his suit, which was, we all knew, an expensive suit, and one of those with the big lapels. It seems his hat was on the bed all along so could he please have it. We apologized.
After this and other tall tales the whole party fell apart piece by piece by piece. We looked out below and saw a game of hopscotch in which all the squares were one-by-one fading into don't-step-here land. Still on the bed, I had only to say a word and your face would contort like a molting bug and suddenly it was game over you stepped on a mine. The hopscotch boxes and the game, the bed-coverings, and one-by- one each of our fingers were all getting snipped off, we kept finding our fingers in our pockets, taking them out and our pockets kept feeding us more.
(After much accommodation, I still don't even know whose gloves these are.)
So we watched everyone from there, wont to motionlessness, plant-sheared, hands all funny-shaped, until even the good guys who stuck around after the party became reminders to us that they would be liable, since they had even bothered to come, to walk away in the same stupid gait. It was fine; people make remarkable paper-weights.
The wind tipped one of these over, on his way out, we heard later, and the spectators could tell all of a sudden that everyone present was built out of card-stock or packing material or something. Remarkably light; shock- and stain-absorbent; tipping-point: easy, 80 degrees vertical. And all this we knew not by the example of the one who had just tick-tocked over but merely because no one in the crowd that had begun to accumulate around all the hubbub either flinched or blinked. He ruined it for everyone, that guy, exposing them, on the ground there, wobbling, foamless and breathless, spirit slipping out inches from form, left and right, this way and that.
The observers? Again, they just stood there, someone said after, meaning that someone, someplace, was bleeding all over the bed and shit we don't have the resources to clean it up. Shut the door. A family lives here. The cicadas left their bodies in the room, lengthwise, eyes gone and pinned upwards, hours later, long after both the man had taken his hat and everyone had, out of fear, forgotten about the smudge on the walk.
We don't know them, sir, couldn't tell you, we are saying.