This week's sentence: from Mario Vargas Llosa's 'Aunt Julia And The Scriptwriter' was:
"But with the passage of the years Lucho Abril Marroquin was to tell himself that of all the instructive experiences of that morning the most unforgettable had not been either the first or the second accident but what happened afterwards."
Señor Marroquin And The Gift Of Flight
But with the passage of the years Lucho Abril Marroquin was to tell himself that of all the instructive experiences of that morning the most unforgettable had not been either the first or the second accident but what happened afterwards.
Accidents should by their very nature be instructive, but the wisdom gleaned from such events is rarely revealed in a flash and will often only emerge after a long and bitter struggle with the subject's consciousness.
Lucho, however, had learned his first lesson fast; in that blissful eternity - actually only a few short seconds - between discovering that he was flying and discovering that he was no longer flying.
Regrettably he was unable to put this instructive lesson into immediate effect, which was a pity, as acting on it would certainly have prevented the second accident and in consequence, its consequences.
The lesson Lucho learned that morning was one that perhaps he should have already known.
And it is this:
Collision with fast-moving and heavy objects should be avoided if at all possible.
It was not that Lucho had stepped off the kerb without looking, indeed he had looked and had seen the bus approaching. His mind, however, had other things on it right then and had simply filed the information at the bottom of the pile, meaning to look at it later.
The impact had been oblique, providing passengers on board the bus with the startling vision of a middle-aged man flying in a graceful arc right over the perimeter fence of the adjacent fairground.
On another day, Lucho may have welcomed the opportunity to get in free but on this occasion he was understandably distracted.
One cannot truthfully ascribe much prescience to the porcine mind and so we should not apportion blame to the pride of the county, the famous Diving Pig as it shuffled forward and dropped from the high board just as Lucho flew over the fairground fence and hit the side of the pool with such force as to rupture it and drench the surrounding crowd with the ensuing tsunami.
Landing as he did, full on his back on the wet blue plastic of the pool's base Lucho had just enough time to register the approach of three hundred and fifty pounds of squealing panic before the pig hit him in the face.
Learning that he was dead came as a great surprise to Lucho.
Learning that there is an afterlife even more so.
The most unforgettable and startling discovery of that morning, however, was the revelation that this - and only this - precise set of circumstances (which perhaps explains the scarcity of such apparitions) is how Angels are made.
Lucho Abril Marroquin stared aghast at the wreckage of his body, now inextricably mingled with the burst carcass of the once famous Diving Pig.
He glanced at the crowd: some screaming, some laughing, all drenched.
He gazed awestruck at his magnificent wings and flapped them experimentally.
There was a faint whiff of bacon.