In the mountains of steam, there lived a hunter who watched and learned from every animal and knew what they ate and what they did not. One day, a tiger and an elephant fell into a large trap meant for catching a man-eating bear and died. Though saddened by the deaths of these noble beasts, the hunter set to work to clean them. When he opened them up, he was surprised to find that both had been stuffed with rice.
In the city of rain and somnolence, I kept running into phantoms of myself, watching motorists go blind as the signals turned amber, and I sank into tumultuous dreams of crusaders, languid dreams of flying machines, and idyllic visions of magic elephants wandering the dusty roads of earth that run on forever.
The one played. A burning page flickered here. Another one smoked
there. Smoking and burning pages came at rare intervals, for stars must die and books must burn, but not everything explodes. Between them lay all of the other pages–hundreds and thousands. A codex had been gutted, its many pages randomly or purposefully scattered upon the sand. The one played the game; it was always different and forever the same. It was not a mere library, not an index, not chess, not a book of changes, not pick up sticks, not the tarot, not a board game of 8 or 10 rows, not an imaginary board game, not rayuela, not elephants or horses in splashed iodine or ink, not petanque or pelota, not blowing meditation, not the twirling of flowers and pinwheels to imitate whirlpools and windmills, not plowing, not test driving, not war, not guessing imaginary letters or numbers, not clairvoyance, and not mimes that mirror the deformity of life and the universe. All and none of the games threw shadows that smoked and crackled through the purity of the pages of their one game. It was the one that never made it into lists or lexicons.
When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground–that is an old proverb, the young man said, as he cared for the invalid lying by the side of the great road, the road of caravans and elephant migrations. Do not fear, little one, the old man wheezed as his soul began its departure, for I am too old to remember if I was illiterate or not.