CIX.

Then I saw Inaki’s sword raised higher than prudence or musketeer movies would advise and I saw his opponent’s sword advance until its point was a fraction of an inch from Inaki’s heart, and I think, though it can’t be, that I saw Inaki turn pale and I heard Quima say my God, or something like that, and I saw Pina flick his cigarette far away, toward the hill, and I saw that there was no one on the hill anymore, not the woman or the car, and then the other guy abruptly drew back the point of his sword and Inaki stepped forward and struck him with the flat of his blade on the shoulder, in revenge for the fright he’d given him, I think, and Quima sighed and I sighed and blew smoke rings into the tainted air of that hideous beach and the wind whipped the rings away instantly, before there was time for anything, and Inaki and his opponent kept going at it like two stupid children.

-from The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano

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