Cuentos Completos, Vol. 1, by Julio Cortázar, met a grim fate the other day in the confines of a washing machine at the laundromat, embraced by a shroud of soapy water and accompanied by a congregation of more water adaptable neighbors. As I stared through the circular glass window into the harsh interior of the side-loaded machine, I felt hypnotized by the calmness and indifference with which the anthology anticipated it’s inevitable end, spinning endlessly with the linens and cottons, pegged against the glass in indignation and yet pride, as a testament to its soon to be terminated existence. I felt defeated by the helplessness in salvaging my already loosely-bound from years of library abuse friend. It was negligent of me to place the anthology into the laundry bag full of clothes. As I continued to observe the spectacle, I realized that if I didn’t promptly organize an extraction from the waters, acknowledging its already decomposed state, it would soon infuse the other occupants with its leftovers, a calamity I preferred to avoid. As a further complication to the affair, the machine would not tolerate cycle disturbance, this being a side-loaded model with a strict shut-off mechanism. Consequently, the laundromat employee had to resort to switching off the electricity via the circuit breaker before the machine finally yielded control, allowing me to open the door, recover the decapitated corpse, and toss the remains into the waste basket.
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