You're Gonna Carry That Weight

Después de tanta hazaña
a que no puede bastar
cuenta cierta,
en la su villa de Ocaña
vino la Muerte a llamar
a su puerta.

Coplas a la muerte de su padre, XXXIII

“Here. Take a seat.”

Spiegel gestured him to one of the sofas. I’d say they reeked of mothballs and time. The Well Dressed Man sat down and perused the living room.

“How very delightful! This place is lovely, Spiegel.”

“It’s just a condo.”

The Well-Dressed Man sprang out of the sofa and started wandering around the room. “Yes, it may seem so to the untrained eye. But look at this beautiful Saturn Devouring His Son facsimile! Centuries upon centuries came to pass before this could even be imagined… It’s absolutely wonderful, it’s…”

The Well-Dressed Man kept staring at the painting in silence, with arms akimbo. 

“Would you, um, like something to drink?”

The Well-Dressed Man didn’t turn. He took out his pocket watch and checked it. “I fear we don’t have enough time for that.”

“Oh, are you in a hurry? We could always meet some other day, you know.” The Well-Dressed Man sprawled on the sofa once again.

“About that…”


“Well… I think I owe you an apology.”

The Well-Dressed Man lit a cigarette, ignoring the “Thank you for not smoking” sign on one of the walls.

“Oh, we don’t smoke in—”

“I know.”

“My wife died of lung cancer and—”

“I know, Spiegel. I know.”

The Well-Dressed Man put his feet on the table and sighed heavily.

“I owe you an apology.”

“Are you okay? You seem a bit off.”

“I’m completely fine. Why wouldn’t I be? I’ll retire soon. There’s this little cottage waiting for me in Kalispell. A beautiful, cozy cottage by the lake…”

The Well-Dressed Man got lost in his Montanan reveries, but soon came back to reality. “Spiegel, I really don’t know how to say this.”

“You look paler than usual. You sure you’re okay? I can get you some—” 

The Well-Dressed Man dissuaded Spiegel from talking further with a hand gesture. “Please, don’t. You’re only making it worse.”

Spiegel remained quiet while The Well-Dressed Man rubbed his eyes. He then buried his face in his hands and started whimpering.

“Hey, whatever it is, it won’t make me mad, you know me. I’d never take what you say as—” 

“Please, just stop talking for a second. Please.”

Spiegel put his hand on The Well-Dressed Man’s shoulder. They stayed like that for some time, but The Well-Dressed Man gently drew away from him soon after.

“Heh, I know this will sound crazy, but…”

The Well-Dressed Man instinctively smirked. Spiegel smiled too.

“Come on, tell me. I’m dying here!”

The Well-Dressed Man sat upright and put his hands on his knees.

“I’m your creator.”

Spiegel chuckled uncomfortably. The Well-Dressed Man lowered his head. He wasn’t laughing. 

 “What’re you talking about?”

The Well-Dressed Man didn’t respond.

“Is this some stupid prank?”

Complete silence.

“I’ll go get a beer.”

Spiegel stood up and went to the kitchen. I watched him go. He came back a minute later with a lager and his eyes all red and swollen.

“So… You’re like a god or something?”

“You’ll believe me just like that? Don’t you need any proof?”

Spiegel shrugged as he finished his beer.

“Why bother?”

The Well-Dressed Man couldn’t avoid chuckling.

“So much for a theological debate…”

Spiegel opened his second bottle.

“So… are you God?”

The Well-Dressed Man lit his second cigarette.

“I wish!”

Spiegel scratched his head.

“Okay, so this will be even harder to believe…”

Spiegel gulped his beer.

“Try me.”

The Well-Dressed Man started fidgeting. He stared at the wall.

“I’m actually a comic book writer, and—”

“And I’m one of your characters? That explains an awful lot of things.”

The Well-Dressed Man couldn’t hide the bewildered look on his face.

“Well, you’re not just one of them…”

Spiegel shrugged. He then snorted.

“So the Lord writes comics, huh? That’s a good one.”

“As I, uh, told you a minute ago, I’m not in fact—”

“You’re to me. That’s all that matters, right?”

“I guess so…”

Spiegel headed to the bureau right under the Saturn Devouring His Son facsimile and grabbed a picture of his wedding. His wife was still alive and he still had his hair.

“So me and Julia…”

“Never happened; not in the real world.”

Spiegel frowned.

“I wrote that story back in the nineties. It was a big deal, let me tell you. Every major writer at the publisher contributed their own little story to the issue. We all wore tuxedos and evening gowns to work the day we received the copies from the printing company. We had a really good time. You should’ve seen us, Spiegel. You should’ve been there. We were so young…”

“But it’s still real to me. That has to mean something…”

“I suppose… I’m not sure what it means, though.”

“I don’t get it.”

Spiegel’s chest started hurting again

“Why even come here if you don’t—”

He sat down, breathing heavily.

“Was the trip to fairyland even worth it?”

The Well-Dressed Man took a moment to think.

“Of course… You see, there’s some truth to this world after all. We’re both Jewish Clevelanders… I did fight in Vietnam, just like you. And our wives have… well, had the same name. My Julia died of lung cancer too…”

Both fell silent for a while until a cat entered the living room. Spiegel struggled to kneel down and pet him tenderly.

“And what about this guy? Is he real or not?”

The Well-Dressed Man got up from the sofa to stroke the cat as well.

“Bebop? Of course he is!”

Spiegel looked at The Well-Dressed Man with sudden consternation.

“And is he…?”

The Well-Dressed Man half-smiled.

“The fat fellow has yet to die. He’s turning fifteen next month… sometimes I think he’ll outlive us all…”

“I can’t imagine what I’d do without him. I know it’s sad, but he’s kind of my only—”

“Friend? I know that feeling; he’s good company. Just like you…”

Bebop was lying flat on his back, purring. Spiegel continued petting him as The Well-Dressed Man rose to his feet and brushed off Bebop’s white fur from his clothes. He took out his pocket watch, and we checked it one last time.

“I must go.”

“You won’t be coming back, right?”

The Well-Dressed Man weakly pursed his lips.

“I don’t think so.”

Spiegel was still on his knees, petting Bebop.

“Oh, okay. Good luck in Montana then.”

The Well-Dressed Man was already gripping the doorknob when he turned around. “What?”

“That cottage by the lake you mentioned. Hope you have a great time there!” 

The Well-Dressed Man nodded to himself. He had a lump in his throat.

“Ah, yes; the cottage in Kalispell… Thank you. For everything.”

“Yeah, no problem.”

Spiegel continued stroking the cat. The Well-Dressed Man opened the front door and was about to leave, but stopped with one foot out the door.

“Hey, Spiegel.”


“Try to wear your best clothes tomorrow.”

Spiegel began singing nonchalantly under his breath until I shut the door forever. 

Felipe Rodolfo Hendriksen studies Literature at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina. He currently lives in Quilmes.