Three Argentine Flash Fictions

translated by Kit Maude
The drawn image of a human face peers from within a darkened room through iron bars
“We Don't Care Broken Window Theory” by Zak MC is licensed under CC by SA 2.0

Old Acquaintance

Having met by chance, they hugged. “Long time no see!” the men chorused. They caught up, exchanged telephone numbers, and promised to meet again for coffee sometime. On his way back home, M. tried to remember why they’d stopped seeing each other; such a nice guy. (One meets so many fools in life, he mused, but truly worthwhile people vanish without a trace.) But when the taxi arrived, he found that his wallet was missing. Identifying the guilty party immediately, he wondered when his erstwhile acquaintance had chosen his moment: during their unexpected greeting, or the hug goodbye.


The Ghosts of Canter Villa

They broke in through the window at night and barricaded the door from the inside. The next morning, they draped the mansion’s façade with a large red flag with Che’s face on it (the mansion had been empty for years). They made cairns of stones on the balconies to repel the police response and piles of leaflets to hand out to journalists. But neither the police nor the media paid them any attention. Now they’ve been living there for years, claiming to be revolutionary insurrectionists. But people in the neighborhood regard them as simple squatters.



Because of its geographic location, in the town of El Hoyo, the wind doesn’t blow from the side but from above. This means that hats aren’t blown off heads and doors don’t swing shut, but also that you can’t air out rooms by opening the window (and girls’ skirts don’t fly up in the draft). Here, flags hang from horizontal masts, you light cigarettes vertically, and umbrellas are called windbrellas. Although they can’t fly kites or sail paper boats, the children still have a happy childhood. Or at least one in which their hair is always neat and tidy.

Translations from the Spanish

Read Kit Maude’s note on translating Ariel Magnus’s work.

Ariel Magnus (b. 1975, Buenos Aires) is a writer and literary translator. He has published numerous novels and story collections, edited anthologies of Argentine humor and misanthropy, and written for the radio. Several of his books have been translated into French and German; Chess with My Grandfather is the first to be translated into English.

Kit Maude is a translator based in Buenos Aires. He has translated dozens of classic and contemporary Latin American writers and writes reviews and criticism for several different outlets in Spanish and English.