They had high hopes when they built Magalíluismili, so why they built the village in the bottom of a valley was a joke we thought we would never live down. Once we tried to invade Ayeléticia but they laughed at us and we returned home without firing a shot. We were a joke. We thought that invading Ayeléticia would make us rich. How can I show them how poor we were? How can I tell them? Do we have no shame? We lived not on the land, not off the land, but in the land. We were moles. We lived deep in the earth. We refused ourselves the sun, the wind, the rain, and we fed on dirt and worms and the lice that lived in our hair.
Nicolás was killed by a falling rock. Julián was killed by a falling sheep. Nadia was killed by a falling television. Francisco was killed by a falling bass drum. Alejandra was killed by a falling flag pole. Emanuel was killed by a falling book of poetry—I always knew Elizabeth Barrett Browning could kill. Celeste was killed by a silver dollar.
The Europeans who built Magalíluismili loved to fight. When they could not fight the people of Ayeléticia, they fought each other, and when they could not fight each other, they declared War on the devils in the clouds.
Irina was killed by a falling fish. The fish was very big; we had fish for months. Joaco was killed by a falling kettle. Gerardo was killed by a falling bull; we kept the bull and sold the bull to a matador. We heard the bull performed admirably in the ring. Juan Martín was killed by a motorcycle. Nazareno stole the motorcycle from the museum and journeyed to Machu Picchu where he employed his European work ethic, monopolized and sold hotdogs to wealthy Americans. Yanina was killed by a record player. Celeste was killed by a silver dollar. Florencia was killed by a silver dollar. Federico was killed by a silver dollar. Daniela was killed by a silver dollar. Martin was killed by a sack of silver dollars. Natalia was killed by a sack of silver dollars. Rafael was killed by a sack of silver dollars.
With wealth comes greatness. With all the silver instead of rebuilding Magalíluismili high above the rain, we spent the silver on knives, guns, machineguns, rockets, bombs and fancy uniforms.
If the scorpion did not have a tail, it would live like the mouse, but still it would be hated and despised and hunted and hammered with the heel of a boot.