…Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever

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…I’m more than enough all alone to keep on ruling until the comet comes by again, and not just once but ten times, because the way I am I don’t intend to die again, God damn it, let other people die, he said, talking without any pauses to think, as if he were reciting by heart, because he had known ever since the war that thinking aloud was driving off the fear of the dynamite charges that were shaking the building, making plans for tomorrow in the morning and for the coming century at dusk until the last coup de grace rang out in the street…

…He did not have to take any of the predicated measures because the army broke up on its own, the troops scattered, the few officers who resisted until the last moments in the garrisons in the city and in another six in the countryside were wiped out…

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…and he did not have to kowtow to any foreign power because the government coffers were overflowing with wedding rings held as surety by instant partisans, nor did he have to buy any mats or leather stools of the cheapest sort to repair the ravages of defenestration, because even before the pacification of the country was over the audience room was restored and more sumptuous than ever…

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…and there were birdcages everywhere, chattering macaws, royal lorry parrots who sang in the cornices for Spain and not for Portugal, discreet and serviceable women who kept the building as neat and clean as a battleship…

…and in through the windows came the music of glory, the same Roman candles of excitement, the same bells of jubilation that had begun celebrating his death and went on celebrating his immortality…

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…made us think there was truth to the legend going around that a bullet shot into his back would go right throughout harming him…

–Gabriel García Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975)

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