Balthazar's bullet

The author tells the story of a man who, thanks to the Magi of the East, decides - on the verge of death - to get his life back on track.

Juan Ignacio Izquierdo Hübner-January 5, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes

I stopped cutting my hair when Andrea kicked me out of the house. Two years later, in the cold of Pamplona at Christmas, living in one of those small cars in which you have to choose whether to touch the roof with your head or the steering wheel with your knees, I no longer had the strength to curb pornography and alcohol, two weaknesses in which, I know! But I decided to give myself a gift for Epiphany, something that would help me relaunch my life towards something hardly worse, that is, a good revolver. A Colt Cobra of 150 grams, with a barrel for 6 cartridges; a device sympathetic to my situation.

I decided to release it on the eve of the holiday. That day I had breakfast in a village cafeteria, where I was not ashamed to shave and charge my cell phone; then I parked on a hill overlooking a green valley in Navarra to spend the morning wandering around the Internet; at noon I ate two ham sandwiches, then put a cartridge in the revolver and put it in my pocket to have it handy when the time came. I fumbled in the glove compartment looking for the bottle, but found a book. It was an old gift from Andrea that I never opened... "would it be vain to try to read it now and distract myself a little from the horror of the afternoon?", I tried, however, as usually happens with readings that are recklessly started after eating, I started to fall asleep.... 

I was sitting in a dark desert, under a firmament with thousands of bitter eyes, sand was seeping into my socks, into my pants pockets and I remembered, "the revolver!". It was gone. In return, I had a bullet, which I clenched in my fist with ardor. The wind picked me up, my double pullover became insufficient and I began to shiver. I folded my arms and walked in circles. 

I couldn't tell how long it was before I heard a Chewbacca-like growl. The sound was getting closer, a silhouette, then another; they turned on a lamp and I distinguished three camel riders riding calmly towards me. 

- I am Balthazar," said the third one when they arrived. -I offer you a barter for the bullet you have in your hand.  

I remained indifferent.

- I understand," he commented, ceremoniously getting off the camel.

He was a tall, stocky African, but his maroon robe and turban left room for a kindly face, so I was surprised when he took a run at me and, poof, kicked me in the butt so splendidly that he knocked me to the floor. I got up very surprised to be feeling physical pain in that area, even though I didn't even have a bed to fall off of in real life. Balthazar took another run, but then I dodged him; although in vain, because with a quick turn he kicked me with his other leg and knocked me down, making me swallow some sand. Then he jumped up to press me with his body, a goal he achieved more than satisfactorily, he took the bullet from me and left me a Colt Cobra in exchange.

- I'm not doing it for me," he said, getting back on his camel, "it's for the Boy. He cares for you," he added with a little smile, as they set off. They advanced a few meters and turned off the lamp. The light of a larger star guiding them from the horizon was enough for them. 

I felt cold again, time passed, I understood that I was going to die, but then I woke up. It was almost midnight; I thought of turning on the heater, but I gave up, it made no sense. My hair covered my face and the revolver had fallen out of my pocket; I picked it up in fear of reflection, aimed at my temple and fired. "Click." I fired again, much more upset, and so on up to 5 times. Before trying for the sixth time, I hesitated. "This bullet is Balthazar's," I said to myself in surprise. 

Suddenly I was aware of the home I had fallen into: a car full of dust, remains of ham on the seat, papers and cans everywhere... "Here I am eating the carobs of the pigs, while..."; I put the revolver in the glove compartment and noticed that January 6 had arrived. "Why don't I face it, you coward!", I asked myself in tears. The night turned into a long debate: "How to gather strength to get my life back?"; it was beginning to get light when I settled on a plan: thank Balthazar, get a haircut and, most importantly, ask my wife for forgiveness and help. And when the sun rose behind the hills that close the valley, smiling, I started the engine.

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