When Edmundo walked to the end of the world he had no map or compass, but he figured that if he kept walking in one same direction, he would eventually hit the end.
Edmundo was big like a Northern banjo, and his ambling emerged as an act of equilibrium. Leaning his body in one leg, he tested the weight of the leg that soared the air. When he deposited the heel of his boot on the ground, every inch of his foot studied the geography of the road and the possibilities for his next step.
For Edmundo the days came slow like his walk. He carried his pocketknife and used it when the sun baked the crown of his head; with the blade he scrape up and down the hardened dust off him. When he arrived to the hot lands, he cut a banana leaf and folding it this way and that way, pulling it here and there, made himself a hat, and life felt good.
Word rang about Edmundo’s voyage, and people put aside their chores and came out of their houses. Men and Women gathered in a single row along the road to see Edmundo walk with his enormous hands clasped on the back, his eyes like a man that has not seen much yet, and the patience of his slow long steps.
At his lack of hurry a young mathematician, a woman that observed him from a rock on a hill, tried to calculate the time it would take Edmundo to reach the end of the world. She wrote down the equation on her notebook. A young man, a numerologist, came by and suggested that she add and subtract all the numbers from one to one-thousand—except for three or seven, for even a young person knows the relationship of these numbers with magic, and they were looking for scientifically proved answers, which could never be done with three or seven.
People old and young came out of admiration for Edmundo’s steps, and helped add and subtract according to their own mathematical knowledge, which was different from person to person, for everybody knows--even very young people—that numbers have the ability to change according to generations. At the end, when they had calculated all the possibilities that, of course, excluded the magical numbers, all they found out was that the equation would remain incomplete until someone went to the end of the world and measured the distance from there to here, because without it nobody could ever calculate the time it would take Edmundo reach his destination with his elegant steps.
However, with Edmundo’s caring way of pressing the earth with his feet, and his eyes concentrated on the afar, everybody had to agree that if some one would ever reach the beyond that would be Edmundo, no doubt.
Perhaps, after he reached his destination, Edmundo would write them a card to let them know more about the end of the world. Even a small postcard would do. Or might Edmundo write a chapter for the encyclopedia with all the geographical and numerical information people needed when they wondered about the end of the world. Perchance, Edmundo, would take the photographic machine that the man in black suit offered him so that he could send back a picture of the end of the world some day.
Edmundo refused the camera politely but filled his back pocket with the mailing addresses they gave him at the road.
When faces had long faded form his memory and sound had become a distant recollection, Edmundo reached the vastest isolation. His steps all so quiet, he raised his face and saw the sky leaning low closer and closer to the ground like the rim of a bowl placed up-side-down over a plate. Soon, in front of him, the sky became a curtain. When he parted it with his hands, Edmundo knew that the sky felt exactly like muslin. Behind it, he saw the end of the world.
Gears big and small moved. Levels rose and dropped. Wheels turned in different directions. A clackedy-clack of a metal heart could be heard coming from all around. The end of the world, Edmundo thought, was like the inside of a clock he once took apart when he wanted to know what was inside the time.
For a long time Edmundo examined the mechanism. The device rose as high as a house and wide as a town block. A dark wooden armature held the pieces in place. A scent of old grease escaped from between screws and hinges.
Walking along the structure, turning his eyes up and down, right and left, Edmundo trailed the entire function of the end of the world. Where the machinery finished attached to it he found a bundle of strings that reached up and trough the curtain. He followed the strings too.
As if he were coming from backstage of a theater, Edmundo came into the world again. There, high hanging from the strings, rusted in corners but shiny and clean as if they had just been polished for a puppet show, he saw the sun, the stars, and the moon. Edmundo stared at them moving up and down for a long time.
Wiping the sweat on his forehead with his arm, Edmundo sat on the dry cracks of the floor and untied his shoes lose. He pulled the collection of papers with the addresses from his back pocket. He unfolded them and smoothened them with the warm of his palm as he placed them in alphabetical order. Then Edmundo started to write.
When the expedition found Edmundo, they discovered him laying on his side whit his head resting on his hands, inside a hole in the ground.
The old scientific with a plastic eye put on his spectacles and determined that Edmundo had lived during the conceptional age, so long ago that people still believed that other planets existed beyond earth and that all them circulated around the sun.
A team of technicians collected Edmundo with a silver spoon and they placed him inside a black rubber box the size of a bar soap. Two crystals, one lens, and a seven corners fake diamond were incrusted in a pinhole of the top.
When the old scientist looked with his natural eye through the pinhole, he was able to see a tiny but complete image of Edmundo: a handful of radiating dust
Electric light beams trespassing the crystals and the fake diamond gave Edmundo’s remains a gleaming new look. It was all thanks to the one thousand universal lanterns that illuminated the world day and night.
After pining the bottom of the sky up for a clearer view, the technicians stood in front of the end of the world and agree on that the best way to go was with screwdrivers and a saw.
From every level to every wheel, the end of the world was taken apart, tagged, and classified by size inside bags. The team left to last to cut down the strings. With a crane and much care they brought down the sun, the moon and the stars that were mostly rust and very little shine.
The old scientist with the plastic eye buttoned his jacket up and put on his scarf. He pulled from his pocket a strip of faked pigskin and a pen.
There he started to write.
August 24th, Year of the Dragon
End of the world
Our expedition has finally arrived its destination. The drought, the labor of opening the road, the dismay of the distance, and the sense of been lost was all put behind us as soon as our dogs detected a smell of rust in the air. All of our endurance became paid for we have successfully recovered the father of our modern knowledge.
Dear woman in red shoes,
I am here.
Dear blind man by the window,
For everyday there is a free show in the sky.
Dear boy with snake
Some times I forget and yell, encore!
Dear man that offered me the camera,
I let the wind take my letters with it