To my father, who by now has no mouth and who has not slept since the day of his death
I had just finished watching TV. I felt weak. I stretched out on the couch and it felt like there was a huge hand pressing down on my heart. I thought I was dying and I hadn't even managed to buy my wall vault in the cemetery. They would definitely put me under the ground. And that was the final failure of my life.
I was fifty-seven when I got lung cancer. The illness lasted a few months. I suffered a lot, but that period wasn't worse than any of the others. I had always schlepped myself along with the idea that sooner or later life fucks you over, and I had never enjoyed anything. I spent all my time blaspheming. Those who heard me thought I was joking, but I was blaspheming for real: I was really angry.
At some point I thought I could become an important man. I felt like death was granting me a reprieve. And then I stuck my head in the world the way a child sticks his hand in a Christmas stocking. Then my day came. Wake up, said my wife. Wake up, she said, over and over.
I was walking on the street. I ended up under a car. I found myself with my face on the ground. The sky, the blood, the asphalt were all whirling in my head. I only had time to realize that all that blood on the ground was mine.
Outside it was a beautiful day. I didn't want to die with all that sun out there. I've always thought I'd die at night, in the hour of the barking dogs. And instead I died at noon, while a cooking show was getting started on the TV.
I am one of those who, a moment before dying, felt perfectly fine.
I fell from the scaffolding. I was sleepy that morning. At home, I had run out of coffee. There will be a trial, somebody will be found guilty or found innocent, but I am convinced that I'd still be alive today if there had been some coffee left in that jar.
I was taking a stress test. The doctor had just told me that I had to pedal some more.
I died of old age, although I wasn't that old. I was fifty-nine.
I don't know exactly what I died of. The doctors were running tests to figure out what I had.
Before me, eighty billion people had already died.
I was a cheerful kind of guy. Then I lost a son and all my teeth fell out. I'll spare you the rest of the story.
The day the doctor told me I had cancer I lost five pounds. I lost it from crying.
On the first day of the hunting season, someone mistook me for a quail.
I died at 7 a.m. That's one way, like any other, to start a day.
I lived in Zurich. On the memorial poster they wrote, "She ascended to the House of the Father." The truth is, I dove from the fifth floor.
The only thing I've ever said I was happy about was my crèche: every year it grew more beautiful, and I set it up right inside the front door, which I always kept open. I had divided my only room into two sections, using the red and white men-at-work plastic ribbon. I would offer a glass of beer to anyone who stopped to admire it, and then I would explain each and every detail: the cartons, the moss, little sheep, the Magi, rivers, castles, shepherds and damsels, the grotto, the child, the Star of Bethlehem, the electric wiring. The wiring was my masterpiece. I died all by myself on Christmas Eve, while I was admiring my crèche with all its lights on.
The day of my funeral was a day like any other day. The following was day too.
My name was Alfredo. I had been in Germany for thirty years. I came back to town when I retired. I died on the night of the earthquake, inside the bar. The guy who was playing cards with me was unharmed.
My name is Mario. My name was Mario also when I was alive, but then my name was of some use.
When I went to the hospital, they told me I had to undergo surgery immediately. I underwent surgery, and I died immediately.
I died of cancer of the brain. According to the doctors, I also had a tumor in my intestines, but I never really paid any attention to that one—it was the one in my head that I felt, and from a certain point on I haven't felt anything else. In the doctors' opinion, I was in a coma, but I was actually wide awake; I was wholly inside my tumor, like a snail in its shell.
Me, I was hanged by my parents. They were farmers. They didn't want me to go out with a boy, who, in their eyes, wasn't the boy for me. This didn't happen in the Middle Ages. It was 1929.
Me too, yes, me too.