Sunday, 1 March 2015

Podolfo the Immemorious

Podolfo has been fully cured despite having completely lost his memory. Given that he has no relatives and the bursar at the hospital mistakenly threw his documents into the incinerator, he was loaded by the management onto a tricycle from the morgue and dumped near a crossroads seven kilometers from the hospital to cancel every trace of the mix up. It is, in fact, a hospital well-known for its mix ups ever since a scheming news review published a secret photo of the exchange of newly born infants displaying a young woman, just recovering from having given birth, breastfeeding two young puppies, and, in the next ward, a young bitch breastfeeding two newborn babies. Since the clothes of the patient ended up in the same place as the documents, a nun acting as ward sister found no other alternative than to discharge the patient naked so as not to waste a nearly new pair of pyjamas belonging to the institute. At which point, a chaplain, with a rather murky past, kindly offered Podolfo a cassock not otherwise needed . In haste, it was inserted back to front with the buttons at the back together with an ecclesiastic biretta which had a few negligible holes. This was how Podolfo made his second entry into the world- with no name and dressed as a back-to-front priest. Since he had no memories of any species he was restricted, like tortoises, to smiling. He was immediately hired in the post of idiot by a timber merchant, and now carries tables and poles and has even managed to work an electric saw, so becoming indispensable for the company. Besides, he has already rendered a work colleague an invalid. 

Podolfo has been trying to place together the different parts of the world but without much effort - something easy to explain if one takes into consideration the mediocre quality of both component parts and the whole. Everything is happening to him for the first time and Podolfo is finding it hard to get a clear understanding of the greater or lesser desirability of the event. His colleagues find him a bit odd, rather strange: he swallows small stones, walks on lighted fires, sits on eggs, barks along with the dogs; at the cinema instead of looking at the screen he watches the other spectators; he sleeps in church; he doesn’t walk down stairs but prefers to jump out of the window; at night, he watches the moon or the stars with chilling interest; he’s afraid of flies and of milk, he shaves his beard in stripes, chews the telephone directory, two or three times he’s been seen to pass through a closed door, he is continually putting on weight and growing in volume or, at the very least, every now and then he receives the visit of a cheetah in his room. Sometimes the scent of scotch broom is so strong in his room that one needs to open the window, he makes holes in the roof with his willpower alone. In short, his return to normality seems rather unlikely. 

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