Like bursting pearls, eight symmetrical rows of bubbles emerge from the walls of the jacuzzi and begin to stir in the warm water. In an instant, all the luxury of this bathroom which was half reflected on the surface – lights and marble finishings, bottles of perfume and little baskets holding dried flowers – reaches boiling point and melts into a tone which is both nacreous and, in Jorge Washington’s eyes – sensual. About to get in, he finishes undressing and impatiently calls Mariela twice. While waiting for her, he sticks his hand into the water, and then automatically takes hold of his penis with his wet hand and weighs it up.


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Written by Jordi Puntì. Published in Animals Tristos (‘Sad Animals) in 2002, by Empúries Editorial, translated by Matthew Tree.


Catalan writer and journalist Jordi Puntí has published two books of short stories, Armadillo Skin (Quaderns Crema, 1998), winner of the Crítica Serra d’Or Prize and Sad Animals. He has translated, among others, Paul Auster, Daniel Pennac and Amélie Nothomb. In 2004 he received the Octavo Pellissa Prize for literary projects.


Matthew Tree was born in London but has lived in Barcelona since 1984 and writes in both English and Catalan. He has satirised both Catalans and foreigners living in the region on radio and television. His 1999 short story collection Ella ve quan vol won the Andromina Award. He has now published seven books in Catalan, contributes articles to various Catalan newspapers and magazines, and also works as a broadcaster and scriptwriter.

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