And now we speak, for the next week, of Franco.
You may ask, “Who is Franco? Where did he come from?”
Better to ask how you can meet him, and whether you will be the same afterwards.
I would recommend you carry at least fifty dollars with you. Franco is as Franco does. He is as he was, and as he shall ever be. He slept with your sister in college. He is you. He is me. He could be the old woman in the diner carelessly picking at her eggs over easy, just as he could be the harried waiter who delivered it to her with impatient disgust, assuming she would tip poorly.
What will you do when you meet him? For he has foreseen the moment, and knows what you will say. He will weigh your soul as you speak, and his strange alchemy will break you into your essence, leaving nothing but the taste of bitter almonds and echoes of a favorite song.
He is calm, and self-assured of his righteousness. In Latin America, he is known simply as Effe, and he doesn’t give a f*ck if you know what that means. He has killed for less; but in this century, has moved on, and views your skepticism with a generous indulgence. He doesn’t deign to ask his publisher when his works will be translated into Portuguese, and English, and Czech. For he knows the Portuguese, and Americans, and Czech, will learn Spanish first, so they can say they read him as they do in Cartagena, and the salons of Macondo.
Franco once paid seventy gold reales for the runt of a litter of English Spaniels, and taught her to sit and fetch and speak. He still mourns her death, always wearing at least one thing that is black, even if it is hidden from the public eye. For he is Franco, and thou art not.
p.s. I wrote this piece in imitation of someone, and you can all just go and guess in the comments section below. Answers can be both right, and wrong, though often in varying degrees.