Litro #154: Cuba | Last Wish


Translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel

“That they not kill me!” the condemned man hurried to reply.

The chief of the firing squad, a captain who was neither young nor old, smiled confused. A breeze came from the nearby lake, bringing the sounds of water, of birds. When the captain spoke, incredulity still danced in his mouth.
“Such a digression,” he says at last, “has only one way of justifying itself: let it be so, but you can’t wish for anything more in the rest of your life. This was your last wish, and we have fulfilled it for you.”

And returning to the soldiers, he said, “Men, withdraw.”

The man who had saved his life watched them draw away along the path that bordered the lake.

Litro #154: Cuba | How To Play


Translated from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel

The escalator, located in the room’s center, carries the little man up to the edge and then he appears again at the bottom. The transition takes place with a buzz like the sound a photocopier makes. The little man rises up to the top and BUZZ returns to the bottom. Rise-top, buzz, return-bottom. Risereturn, topbottom, buzz, etc. The game consists of pressing the off button right when half of the little man has risen to the top and half has returned to the bottom. One must take into account the inertia of the mechanism on being stopped, the inertia of the body in motion when the ground beneath its feet stops. The velocity of the transmission of the signal from the off button to the stopping mechanism. When the little man is not split exactly in half, a ceiling of blood and guts (so much blood and guts it has no proportion with the body of the little man) is dumped upon the player, dumped upon the room, on the escalator itself, etc. The game restarts with the escalator measuring one fourth less than its previous size. When the little man is split exactly in half, two whirring sounds are heard (just like the noise of a photocopier), and another little man appears, identical to the first, in the very center of the escalator, which grows by one fourth of its previous size. It is necessary to make at least one attempt to split the little man in two out of every three times he rises up the escalator. Otherwise, a ceiling full of blood and guts falls down, etc. The game ends when the player, drowned in blood and guts, loses control of the off button, or when there is no longer space on the escalator for a new little man.

The next level adds a non-uniform acceleration of the escalator, varying physical dimensions between one little man and the next, sudden currents of blood and guts across the floor of the room, etc.