The Snake

 

One on front of the other, in the circle drawn by the silence of some curious people. 
The notes were obsessively repeated. There weren't many notes, just a brief, syncopated, repeated melody. The snake, in ambush, aimed at the arm of the man that was facing its mortal jerk. Suddenly, maybe by mistake, or simply for an obscure curiosity, he looked up; the fraction of an instant, a time that nobody could ever tell. Two black eyes, half-closed were overlooking him. 
The snake had a shudder and looked back that ridiculous instrument in the hands of the man, then those eyes again. An unforeseen facial expression appeared on his mouth, which just an instant before was ready to open wide and hit. What was happening to him? He never felt like having those muscles at the side of his jaw before, but he knew the feeling he had beyond that expression all those times just before his legal bite. Compassion. Yes, that was it. It wouldn't certainly suit a snake of his race, but getting on in years, everybody knows, even the toughest of the prides tempers in front of the miserable pretences. The snake then slackened all his coils, turned on himself and left while the snake charmer, with his gaze lost on the sign that got more and more distant on the dusty ground, was blowing those notes that by now wouldn't enchant nothing else anymore.
At around midnight he reached Paris, he sat in a bistrot and ordered a pastis. It was his first pastis. Some of his friends often extolled the quality of that drink. After his first sip he felt at the sides of his mouth that same expression, very strongly this time and persistent. And maybe that was because of the taste that he just discovered, maybe because of the tiredness or who knows for what and he started to laugh and laugh and laugh, louder and louder and louder. 

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