The saints and the men of black pepper

The whores in Valparaiso opened their colourful umbrellas like paper fireworks bursting into the sky at 11 o’clock sharp on Sunday when the ship’s siren, carrying anxious men, had finally burst into the air and silence could hide nothing anymore. Their languid bodies, their fans, their pursed lips, their dresses, their crossed hands, their heavy eyes, entwined in the clusters of the balconies hanging over the street at the harbour, were slowly writing in the eyes of the passengers letters of an alphabet which could finally help them learn to forget their names. Even Nasko H., the temporarily employed court artist, stopped drawing the portraits of the people who were searched for in the morgue, as the features of their faces had suddenly dispersed into awkward smiles. The housewives who had been to the butcher’s feverishly put in their large baskets beef legs, smoking ribs, tongues, spleens and kidneys, soaked in slime and carefully wrapped in brown paper. The passengers unloaded the light of their desire all over the pit and the squares of Valparaiso were deserted.

A little while before midnight...