From Good Offices by Evelio Rosero:
He has a terrible fear of being an animal, especially on Thursdays, as lunchtime. “I have this fear,” he says to himself, and glimpses his hump reflected in the window. His eyes wander over his eyes: he does not recognize himself. What an other! he thinks. What an other! And examines his face. “On Thursdays,” and then, “this Thursday, especially, when it’s the old people’s turn.” Tuesdays for the blind, Mondays for the whores, Fridays for families, Wednesdays for the street kids, Saturdays and Sundays for God, or so says the priest. “To rest the spirits,” the Father asks him—or as good as asks him—to pray and swing the censer. Mass, Mass, Mass. There may be Mass every day—the Word of God—but every weekday lunchtime the parish church becomes a living hell. With midday meals like these, there is no eating in peace. They have their lunches. He has to keep an eye on things, take charge, from the outset. On Thursdays, especially, when he has a terrible fear of being an animal. At 10:00 in the morning, crowds of old people start pouring in from the four corners of the city, Bogotà spitting them out by the dozen. They form an impatient line, leaning against the church wall by the side door that leads to the dining hall and that only opens at 12:00 on the dot, come blazing sun or lashing hail like knife pricks. The old people cannot bear any kind of weather or tolerate the fact that the metal door opens only at midday: the line moans, grumbles, and curses. They are the only ones who forget that their lunch is another of Father Almida’s acts of charity. They protest as if outside a restaurant, as if they were paying customers. They act as though they were respected clients and he the maître d’, their waiter. “I’ll complain to your superior,” they yell. “We’ve come a long way,” “I want my soup; it’s getting late,” “I’m sick,” “I’m hungry,” “Open up, open up, I’m dying,” “Open up, I’m already dead.” And they do die, as a matter of fact: eleven old people have died in the three years since they began offering Father Almida’s Community Meals. They have died in the line or while eating, and Tancredo’s dreadful fear of being an animal redoubles.