The Artifact

The workers were very kind and gentle to the skeleton they had unearthed by accident, one which had been walled up in the catacombs below a wine cellar for over a hundred years. They draped a coat around his shoulders and offered him a cigarette, which he looked at hesitantly, and then began to smoke. It made him cough at first, but it seemed to calm him down. They asked him what he had thought about all these years. It was hard to say, the skeleton reflected. At first, it was a desire for revenge. Then, there was contrition and doubt, followed by seasons of madness and forgetfulness. In the end, he only thought of three things. The desire for the moist mouth of a girl he had once kissed on a bridge, his desire to converse and confess to a priest, and the desire to walk in the countryside—there was a place where lavender, chamomile and verbena grew that he really missed. The workers wondered if he would like a drink. They wanted to cheer him up. Such a remarkable event required something expensive and good. They could bring him cognac, brandy, a good wine, or some sherry. The skeleton coughed up some smoke, and shook its head sadly and slowly. Only table wine or water for him.