Friday, July 13, 2012

An Open Letter to Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A number of troubling reports have come out lately regarding Gabo's health.  The Daily Brass sends its best wishes to the master and his family.  Here's a post from a few years ago.

Hey old man!  You did it!  I can’t believe it!  I bet you are walking tall down in Macondo, my friend!  When I picked up a copy of your book while thumbing through the used book section down at my local Amazon book store and I saw that little round sticker on the cover of One Hundred Years of Solitude announcing your incorporation into the world’s biggest book club, my grin could not be contained.  Seriously, my lips and pearly whites extended past my ears and swelled my head like a big ‘ole balloon. At that moment my happiness turned to helium and lifted my body up to the ceiling. 

Inside of two minutes I had half dozen customer service representatives chasing me around the store with brooms trying to get me down, and I was so darned happy I didn’t even care when a pimply teenaged girl named Darnell punctured my bloated cheek with a loose yellow straw, and—Pop!—sent me whizzing around the store, releasing pent-up happy gas (excuse me) until finally I fizzled into a limp heap across a SciFi bookcase.  I found myself draped over a dust jacket’s back flap, staring into the sultry eyes of Ray Bradbury.  I didn’t mind.  I was just so happy for you.

“By God,” I thought, “that old boy has done it this time.  He’s found his way into the spotlight.  He’s wandered under the tender gaze of Miss Oprah herself.  Old Gabby Garcia has made the big time.”  I knew I had to write you a letter of congratulations.


Needless to say, the store manager was none too happy with the damage caused to his store.  In addition to two smashed bookcases and paperbacks scattered across the room, my happiness for you caused a good deal of manpower to divert from paying customers.  Plus, the store lost copies of Love in the Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and a very rare autographed copy of The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, all of which I had stowed, temporarily, down the front of my pants.

I was still a little light headed when I got home and discovered my mistake.  I emptied the contents of my pants—keys, cell phone, a couple of used tissues, and, of course, the books—on the kitchen table, and I gave serious consideration to taking those books back to the store that instant. 

But I was tired.  I plopped down on the couch to rest my eyes and mind, only to be awakened a moment later by a rustling noise.  That’s when I looked up and saw the ghost of Gabo himself (yourself) staring down at me.  I need not tell you how you looked—all round around the belly with flab sagging over your sharkskin belt, your white cabana pants neatly pressed, while an ostrich feather protruded from your cream-colored fedora.  You bent over a cane and glared at me with your droopy ghost eyes. 

“I wasn’t trying to steal from you,” I said, holding out my hands in the universal expression of innocence.  “I was trying to do you a favor.” And that was the truth as I understood it.  If I had not had the presence of mind to tuck those volumes under my junk just as the willful happiness I felt for your sudden success adjusted my smile to the atomic mass of 2 protons plus 2 electrons, inflating my head, and carrying my body beyond the threshold of gravity, who knows what would have happened to those books?  Those Amazon ceilings are well over twenty feet tall!  Had I not had the presence of mind to jam those hardbacks into my Jockeys, they might have slipped from my grip and been irreparably damaged by the fall.  I’m talking about broken spines, ruffled dust jackets, wrinkled pages, you name it.  Who knows?  If I hadn’t flown off with them, someone might have seized the opportunity opened up by my happiness for you to pocket those volumes, and then neither you nor Amazon ever would have seen a penny.


“I’m sick of your post modern excuses,” said your ghost.


“You’re one to talk.”

“I didn’t invent magical realism.”

“You paved the way for all who came afterwards!” I cried as I threw myself off the couch.  I was angry now, having been accused by the phantom of one of my favorite writers.  A struggle ensued.  I socked your pasty ghost gut only to have my hand pass right through you.  I felt the cold wind of your breath and reeled.  “Brush your teeth,” I cried.   I swung again and whiffed once more.  Your spirit struck back with startling intensity.  A bamboo cane cracked down on my nearly deflated head, and pop! it was over. 

“I’m not dead yet,” you said.  “Tell your friends.”

“My friends don’t know who you are,” I murmured as I lapsed into unconsciousness.

“Bah,” you said and then vanished into miasma.

Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that I returned all three copies of your books to the store early this morning.  I left them by the door for the store manager to find when he opened up.  Don't worry, I was extremely careful when reading them.  No one will ever know that someone read them while sitting on the toilet.

Until next time,

Your Pal,

Purvis McGrew

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