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Postby hollo11 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:18 am

I have a friend who must be the sweetest, shyest person in the world. His name is brittle and ancient

(Luke), his age modestly intermediate (forty). He is rather short and skinny, has a thin moustache and

even thinner hair on his head. Since his vision is not perfect, he wears glasses: they are small, round

and frame-less.

In order not to inconvenience anyone, he always walks sideways. Instead of saying 'Excuse me', he

prefers to glide by one side. If the gap is so narrow that it will not allow him to pass, Luke waits

patiently until the obstruction -- be it animate or inanimate, rational or irrational -- moves by

itself. Stray dogs and cats panic him, and in order to avoid them he constantly crosses from one side to

of the road to another.

He speaks with a very thin, subtle voice, so inaudible that it is hard to tell if he is speaking at all.

He has never interrupted anybody. On the other hand, he can never manage more than two words without

somebody interrupting him. This does not seem to irritate him; in fact, he actually appears happy to

have been able to utter those two words.
My friend Luke has been married for years. His wife is a thin, choleric, nervous woman who, as well as

having an unbearably shrill voice, strong lungs, a finely drawn nose and a viperous tongue suffers from

an uncontrollable temper and the personality of a lion tamer. Luke -- you have to wonder how -- has

succeeded in producing a child named (by his mother) Juan Manuel. He is tall, blond, intelligent,

distrustful, sarcastic and has a fringe. It is not entirely true that he only obeys his mother. However,

the two of them have always agreed that Luke has little to offer the world and therefore choose to

ignore his scarce and rarely expressed opinions.

Luke is the oldest and the least important employee of a dismal company that imports cloth. It operates
out of a very dark building with black-stained wooden

floors situated in Alsina street. The owner -- I know him personally -- is called don Aqueróntido -- I

don't know whether that is his first name or his surname -- and he has a ferocious moustache, is bald

and has a thunderous voice. He is also violent and greedy. My friend Luke goes to work dressed all in

black, wearing a very old suit that shines from age. He only owns one shirt -- the one he wore for the

first time on the day of his marriage -- and it has an anachronistic plastic collar. He also only owns

one tie, so frayed and greasy that it looks more like a shoelace. Unable to bear the disapproving looks

of don Aqueróntido, Luke, unlike his colleagues, does not dare work without his jacket on and in order

to keep this jacket in good condition he wears a pair of grey sleeve-protectors. His salary is

ludicrously low, but he still stays behind in the office every day and works for another three or four

hours: the tasks don Aqueróntido gives him are so huge that he has no

chance of accomplishing them within normal hours.

Now, just after the don Aqueróntido cut his salary yet again, his wife has decided that Juan Manuel must

not do his secondary studies in a state school. She has chosen to put his name down for a very costly

institution in the Belgrano area. In view of the extortionate outlay this involves, Luke has stopped

buying his newspaper and (an even greater sacrifice) The Reader's Digest, his two favourite

publications. The last article he managed to read in the Reader's Digest explained how husbands should

repress their own overwhelming personality in order to make room for the actualisation of the rest of

the family group.
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