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  Of Total Confusion


ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF TOTAL CONFUSION

(Unpublished - 1986)
Garcia Marquez spoof


Years later, as he was gunned down at the firing squad by his grandson's grandson, Colonel Jose Arcadia Buendia Quatro, Colonel Jose Arcadia Buendia would remember that rainy afternoon in June when he went into the bedroom to meet his firstborn. Even though the child had only a small pig's tail between his legs and looked nothing at all like a Buendia, he did not have to think twice about naming him.

'We'll call him Colonel Jose Arcadio Buendia,' he said. Santa Fernando The Extremely Beautiful, the extremely beautiful woman he had married the year before, wasn't so keen.

'How do we know he'll become a colonel?' she asked.

'Of course he'll become a colonel. All Buendias become colonels.'

'What about calling him Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, then?' she said.

'But if we call him Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia people'll get him confused with my uncle. Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia.'

'Of course,' replied Santa Fernanda. 'But if we call him Colonel Jose Arcadia Buendia people will confuse him with you. Not to mention your grandfather, Colonel Jose Arcadia Buendia, not to mention his seven sons by the prostitute with the smoky thighs, Pilara Arcadia Buendia, all called Jose Aureliano Buendia, and five of them colonels. And what about your crazy half-brother General Jose Arcadio Buendia?'

'Sure,' said Colonel Jose Arcadio Buendia. 'But if we call him Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, he'll be confused not only with my uncle, Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, but my half-brother, Colonel Jose Aureliano Buendia, not to mention his half-brother, Jose Aureliano Buendia Segundo.'

'And his father, General Jose Aureliano Buendia.'

'Sure.'

'We could call him Chris,' suggested Santa Fernanda, suddenly. 'Chris!' expostulated the Colonel. 'What kind of a name is that?'

'I suppose we'll have to shoot him then,' said Santa Fernando the Extremely Beautiful.

'Yes. Though even if I shoot him through the heart he probably won't die. One night he'll reappear, hunched in the drizzle, riding a silver mare made of ice, and talking in confused murmurs about his great-great-great grandfather Colonel Jose Arcadio Aureliano Buendia, who founded this ridiculous dynasty in the first place.

'It's worth a try,' said Santa Fernando the Extremely Beautiful.

'OK then.' Jose Arcadio Buendia took out his small silver gun and, without ceremony, shot his firstborn through the heart. With a troubled cough, the child expired. Colonel Jose Arcadio Buendia shrugged and sighed.

'It had to be. Any more Aureliano Buendias and I'm liable to go crazy.'

'You are crazy,' Santa Fernanda the Extremely Beautiful reminded him.

'So I am!' Colonel Jose Arcadio Buendia pinched himself and gave Santa Fernanda a wild leer. 'For a moment there I forgot.' He turned, and walked into the smelting shop to make some more silver fish and talk to the ghost of Colonel Xelquiades Jose Aureliano Arcadio Buendia, who had never died.
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