Three Stories

Felipe Benítez Reyes

Illustration by Felipe Benítez Reyes

The Iguana

The Plaza de la Magistratura had always been a tranquil spot, save, needless to say, for the defendants crossing it in a state of gloomy uncertainty. Until the iguana turned up one day, ready to take up residence in that public arena as if it were its lair, albeit (it must be said in its defence) with the greatest respect for public property.

Things began to take a peculiar turn on the day the iguana devoured Monsieur Pigot just as the man was making his way to court in a bid to free himself of an accusation of a crime against national security, having sold a hunting rifle to a Scotsman.

In the weeks that followed, the iguana polished off several more accused men and women, seemingly chosen at random, until the authorities reached the conclusion that the animal had been sent by God to dispense justice in His name and that it only devoured those who were guilty, in the process reducing both the paperwork at court and, at one and the same time, the earning power of the lawyers, who spent their time observing from rooftops and doorways, with ill-concealed resentment, as the iguana rendered summary judgment.     

The Prisoner

Miss Kazlauskas was taken prisoner for having an excessively fat head, even by Lithuanian standards.

This particular idiosyncrasy of hers had never given her any trouble in the land of her birth (not even with Kiprsa, the pernickety hatter). However, she was arrested shortly after emigrating to Warsaw to work as a typist at a textile firm, accused of frightening the president-elect’s children during a chance encounter in a patisserie.

She was locked in a dungeon with her feet in shackles and the lone company of a snake arrested for fleeing a circus. Miss K did what anyone else might in her position: she prayed. So hard did she pray that she was one day visited by an angel. “I have come to free you from this cruel imprisonment,” the angel announced. And so it was that the prisoner was led by that celestial spirit down a corridor in which her jailers slept soundly under an angelic spell and was returned, by dint of tele-transportation, to her country, where she soon wed the neurosurgeon Andriulus, who, after numerous botched experiments, managed to shrink the diameter of her head by 8.3%.  

The Mermaid

They had for years harbored hopes of catching a mermaid, or at least a glimpse of one.  

There are those who claim that every sailor has at one point or another dreamt he is fucking a mermaid, for they too end up becoming somewhat amphibious.

(The intrepid Ulysses, as you know, prevented his men from the fateful consummation of that sexual perversion on the pretext that mermaids were deadly creatures, though he himself had no qualms about falling into the welcoming arms of Circe, the sorceress who turned men into beasts.)

When the mermaid in question at last made an appearance, they discovered that she fell far short of the iconographic standards set in the legends that do the rounds among fans of the fanciful and the mythological, and so, once they had put their disappointment behind them, they put practical matters to the forefront and ended up selling the mermaid as fish.

translated from the Spanish by Mike McDevitt