“Father Nicanor rose six inches above the ground. It was a convincing measure. He went among the houses for several days repeating the demonstration of levitation by means of chocolate while the acolyte collected so much money in a bag that in less than a month he began the construction of the church. No one doubted the divine origin of the demonstration except Jose Arcadio Buendia, who without changing expression watched the troop of people who gathered around the chestnut tree one morning to witness the revelation once more. He merely stretched on his stool a little and shrugged his shoulders when Father Nicanor began to rise up from the ground along with the chair he was sitting on.
“Hoc est simplicissimus,” Jose Arcadio Buendia said. “Homo iste statum quartum materiae inventit.”
Father Nicanor raised his hand and the four legs of the chair all landed on the ground at the same time.
“Nego,” he said. “Factum hoc existeniam Dei probat sine dubio.”
Thus it was discovered that Jose Arcadio Buendia’s devilish jargon was Latin. Father Nicanor took advantage of the circumstance of his being the only person able to communicate with him to try to inject faith into his twisted mind. Every afternoon he would sit down by the chestnut tree preaching in Latin, but Jose Arcadio Buendia insisted on rejecting the rhetorical tricks and the transmutation of chocolate, and he demanded the dagguerreotype of God as the only proof. Father Nicanor then brought him medals and pictures and even a reproduction of the Veronica, but Jose Arcadio Buendia rejected them as artistic objects without any scientific basis. He was so stubborn that Father Nicanor gave up his attempts at evangelization and continued visiting him out of humanitarian feelings. But it was Jose Arcadio Buendia who took the lead and tried to break down the priest’s faith with rational tricks. On a certain occasion when Father Nicanor brought a checker set to the chestnut tree and invited him to a game, Jose Arcadio Buendia would not accept, because according to him he never understood the sense of a contest in which the two adversaries have agreed upon the rules. Father Nicanor, who had never seen checkers that way, could not play it again. Ever more startled at Jose Arcadio Buendia’s lucidity, he asked him how it was possible that they had tied him to a tree.
“Hoc est simplicissimus,” he replied. “Because I’m crazy.”—Gabriel García Márquez, from One Hundred Years of Solitude
“…Memories of Manhattan weather washed through him unpredictably, like pangs of brusitis. There, the seasons spoke less in the flora of the hard-working parks than in the costumes of the human fauna, the furs and wool and leather boots and belts and the summer cotton and clogs and in these recent condition-conscious years the shimmering tanktops and supershorts of the young women who rose up from the surfaces of stone as tirelessly as flowers out of mud. New York was so sexy, in memory: the indoorness of it all, amid circumambient peril, and the odd good health imposed on everyone by the necessity of hiking great distances in the search for taxis, of struggling through revolving doors and luggage bags heavy with cheesecake and grapefruit up and down stairs, the elevator being broken.”—John Updike, from Bech Is Back