“Mexico” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay) in The Oddville Press, Fall 2019



The opening paragraph of “Mexico” by Mark Jacobs (Paraguay 1978–80)

Mark Jacobs


IT WAS A CHAIN OF EVENTS, some of them taking place in Foster Raines’ mind and some in the world at large, none more real than another. It started with the death of Methuselah’s baby sister, whose name Foster never could remember. He happened to be sitting in the game room at Loblolly Village when she crossed the threshold on her walker and crashed to the floor dead as a bag of cats. A hundred and seven, people believed her to be, reserved but not unfriendly to the end. Nurses and orderlies rushed to revive her. No luck, unless you considered lucky the feat of expiring in a flash after a healthy century. Watching the commotion from his wheelchair, blanket tucked around his knees, Foster was obliged to look his own death in the face. The outcome of that stare-down was one word. Mexico.

. . .


Read Mark’s short story at The Oddville Press.


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  • “Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.”

    — Clive James (1939-2019)

    • Eating during bankers hours,
    • during the time others are sawing wood
    • and the termites are eating it,
    • hunger is first things first. Not sex.
    • Not shelter. You live, learn and still
    • and all we knock on wood because
    • you’re never too young to step up to the plate
    • , but you have to prioritize especially
    • if you are a vegetarian as big as a reindeer.
    • From the get-go when you are beating
    • the tom-tom for dinner you don’t shilly-shally
    • or you’re so full of beans
    • (though it’s no skin off your teeth).
    • As for freeloaders with time passing
    • for anyone who knows his onions
    • those layabouts will soon learn
    • a new rite of passagewhen they are
    • deader than a doornail. OK,
    • plants eat animals, animals
    • eat plants and other animals, but do
    • plants eat other plants? (fungi, plants?)
    • Jeez louise, you say, it’s screwey louie
    • as far as the eye can see. But all
    • you really need to know
    • is that time-flies enter the ointment:
    • because if it isn’t omnivory or carnivory,
    • it’s herbivory, and a herd of hippos.
    ©copyright Edward Mycue

  • My Ukrainian friend Edith 90 this month at the senior lunch Wednesday says

    (at RACS, the Russian American Senior Services, on Anza and Collins a block in from Geary Avenue in northwest San Francisco)

    “as my father said: ‘Paper is very patient. You can write anything on it. It will not complain’.”

    (She was head nurse at Kaiser, matter-of-fact. Plus we sing in the Golden Gate Park’sMusic Makers on Wednesday mornings.)

    She is like “Foster” in the MEXICO narrative by Mark Jacobs in that she says what she says isn’t stories–simply what happened.

    The central characters in MEXICO are Foster and Raymond each telling what happened and what is happening to them.

    They want things to be factual, which is a problem for Foster and it takes the punch out of him recalling.

    Foster’s time in the travelling circus down Mexico way came to no conclusion with the tattooed lady and his love for her.

    Raymond’s a caregiver at night and a taxi man days. He listens, sort of, in the way old houses being reclaimed are like paper.

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