THE LAST COMMUNIST PHILOSOPHER

Amilfitano dreamed that he saw the last Communist philosopher of the twentieth century appear in a pink marble courtyard. He was speaking Russian. Or rather: he was singing a song in Russian as his big body went weaving toward a patch of red-streaked majolica that stood out on the flat plane of the courtyard like a kind of crater or latrine. The last Communist philosopher was dressed in a dark suit and sky-blue tie and had gray hair. Although he seemed about to collapse at any moment, he remained miraculously upright. The song wasn’t always the same, since sometimes he mixed in words in English or French, words to other songs, pop ballads or tangos, tunes that celebrated drunkenness or love. And yet these interruptions were brief and sporadic and he soon returned to the original song, in Russian… he sensed these were sad, the story or lament of a Volga boatman who sails all night and commiserates with the moon and about the sad fate of men condemned to be born and die. When the last Communist philosopher finally reached the crater or latrine, Amilfitano discovered in astonishment that that it was none other than Boris Yeltsin. This is the last Communist philosopher? What kind of lunatic am I if this is the kind of nonsense I dream? And yet the dream was at peace with Amilfitano’s soul. It wasn’t a nightmare. And it also granted him a kind of featherlight sense of well-being. Them Boris Yeltsin looked at Amalfitano with curiosity, as if it were Amilifitano who had invaded the dream, not the other way around. And he said: listen carefully to what I have to say, comrade. I’m going to explain what the third leg of the human table is. I’m going to tell you. And then leave me alone. Life is demand and supply, or supply and demand, and that’s what it all boils down, but that’s no way to live. A third leg is needed to keep the table from collapsing into the garbage pit of history, which in turn is permanently collapsing into the garbage pit of the void. So take note. This is the equation: supply + demand + magic. And what is magic? Magic is epic and it’s also sex and Dionysian mists and play. And then Yeltsin sat on the crater or the latrine and showed Amilifitano the fingers he was missing and talked about his childhood and about the Urals and Siberia and about a white tiger that roamed the infinite snowy spaces. And then he took a flask of vodka out of his suit pocket and said:
“I think it’s time for a little drink.”

Roberto Bolano, 2666, p.228

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