A Day of These – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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From the book "Funerals of the Big Mama"

Monday dawned warm and rainless. Don Aurelio Escovar, dentist without title and good morning, opened his cabinet at six o'clock. He took from the stained-glass window a denture still mounted on the plaster mold and placed on the table a handful of instruments that he ordered from major to minor, as in an exhibition. He wore a striped shirt, no collar, closed up with a gold button, and pants held with elastic boots. He was rigid, wiry, with a look that rarely corresponded to the situation, like the look of the deaf.

When he had the things arranged on the table, he rolled the strawberry towards the armchair of springs and sat down to polish the false teeth. He seemed not to think about what he was doing, but he worked stubbornly, pedaling on the strawberry even when he did not use it.

After eight o'clock he paused to look at the sky through the window and saw two pensive vultures drying themselves in the sun on the easel of the neighboring house. He continued working with the idea that before lunch it would rain again. The annoyed voice of his eleven-year-old son took him out of his abstraction.

-Father.

-What.

-The mayor says that if you take out a tooth.

-Tell him I'm not here.

He was polishing a gold tooth. He withdrew it from arm's length and examined it with half-closed eyes. In the waiting room his son shouted again.

-It says that you are because he is hearing you.

The dentist kept examining the tooth. Only when he put it on the table with the finished work did he say:

-Best.

The strawberry re-operated. From a cardboard box where he kept things to be done, he took out a bridge of several pieces and began to polish gold.

-Father.

-What.

He had not changed his expression.

-It says that if you take the tooth out, he shoots you.

Without hurrying, with an extremely quiet movement, stopped pedaling the strawberry, removed it from the chair and completely opened the lower drawer of the table. There was the revolver.

-Well, he said. Tell him to come hit me.

He turned the chair until it faced the door, his hand resting on the edge of the drawer. The mayor appeared in the doorway. He had shaved his left cheek, but in the other, swollen and sore, he had a five-day beard.

The dentist saw in his withered eyes many nights of despair. He closed the drawer with the tips of his fingers and said softly:

– Sit down

-Good morning, said the mayor.

"Good," said the dentist.

While the instruments boiled, the mayor rested his skull on the head of the chair and felt better. I breathed an icy smell. It was a poor cabinet: an old wooden chair, the pedal mill, and a stained-glass window with earthenware knobs. In front of the chair, a window with a cloth screen up to the height of a man. When he felt the dentist approaching, he affirmed heels opened his mouth. Don Aurelio Escovar moved his face towards the light. After observing the damaged tooth, he adjusted the jaw with cautious finger pressure.

– It has to be without anesthesia.

-Why?

The mayor looked in his eyes.

"It's okay," he said, and tried to smile. The dentist did not answer. He brought the pan with the boiled work tools to the work table and took them out of the water with cold tongs, still not rushing. Then he rolled the cuspidor with the tip of his shoe and went to wash his hands in the ewer.

He did everything without looking at the Mayor. But the mayor did not lose his sight.

It was a lower tailpiece. The dentist opened his legs and squeezed the tooth with the hot trigger. The mayor clung to the bars of the chair, unleashed all his strength on his feet and felt a cold emptiness in his kidneys, but he did not let out a sigh. The dentist moved only his wrist. Without rancor, rather with a bitter tenderness he said:

"Here he pays us twenty dead, Lieutenant.

The mayor felt a crunch of bones in his jaw and his eyes filled with tears. But he did not sigh until he did not feel the tooth come out. Then he saw her through tears. It seemed so strange to her pain that she could not understand the torture of her five previous nights. Leaning over the spittoon, sweaty, panting, the warrior unbuttoned and fumbled for the handkerchief in his pants pocket. The dentist gave him a clean cloth.

"Tear up your tears," he said.

The mayor did it. I was shaking.

While the dentist was washing his hands, he saw the ragged ceiling and a dusty cobweb with spider eggs and dead insects. The dentist returned, drying his hands.

"Get ready," he said, "and swish salt water. -The mayor standing, he said goodbye with a dismissive military greeting and went to the door stretching his legs, without buttoning the warrior.

"He tells me the account," he said.

– To you or the municipality ?.

The mayor did not look at it. He closed the door, and said, through the metal net:

-Same thing.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

LABELS:

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