Louis Ralto was, without the shadow of a doubt, besides being a perfect friend, the best fisherman in the department. His reputation had even reached the neighboring departments. That’s really saying something.
You would have to see him cast a fly to believe it; a finesse, an elegance and a precision without equal. When he went off to fish, some of the teachers at the elementary school took their kids along so that they could take a leaf from his book.
Until that terrible day when the poor Louis was knocked over by a truck carrying “Loomis” rods, which was piloted by a highly inebriated Auvergnat driver.
Both legs cut off cleanly .
And to make things worse, the ambulance rushing him to the nearby hospital collided with a fire truck that was hanging out on the corner of boulevard Marechal Foch and the rue du Mont de Piete (the previous night, the stoplight had been stolen by some Poles). The shock was of such an extreme violence, that poor Louis, besides his two legs (thighs included), also lost his two arms.
A few months after this drama I was sipping an icy cold demi-panache at the “The Last Stop” cafe and you can imagine my surprise to see before me, you’ll never believe it, Louis in person, scampering like a jack-rabbit in heat. He grabbed a nearby chair, sat at my table and ordered a glass of Bourgueil, BOUCARD Thierry, 2007.
“Louis, what a surprise to see you in such great form, what happened?” I asked. “I thought that you would be impotent for the rest of your days!”
“AH! Fleche, my friend, let me tell you the whole story, which makes the odyssey of the late Ulysses pale. You’ve done advanced studies, so you know perfectly well that every single day there is considerable progress in surgery. They can graft kidneys, there are teeth implants, one cuts hair, replaces noses, one sends out essential organs to be repaired, then replaces it like socks in a suitcase. One can lengthen, one pulls, one modifies.”
“Everyone has read in the newspapers, the story of the swede who was too tall and got shortened by 4 inches (actually 4.5 inches) by cutting a bit of each side of his calfs and a little of his thigh (across), then sewed back up. It’s exactly like a sausage where you cut off two slices and stitch it back together. It’s not hard to imagine that my case, perhaps disastrous for the uncultivated, was a piece of cake for the surgeons of the hospital at Aubenas (07).”
“That is absolutely extraordinary” I babbled trying to close my open jaw, completely stupefied by the story.”
“Wait a minute my dear Fleche, unfortunately, that’s not the end of it.”
“After my operation, I was taken back to my bed and it was a long time before I realized the horror of the situation.”
“Maybe it was a joke in very bad taste or simply omission, perhaps jealousy, who knows… whatever, when I came to, I realized that they had grafted two right arms and a left leg, the leg in question belonged, formerly, to an unfortunate citizen of the Congo who died in a fall from a ladder.”
Well my friends, I have to tell you that our France, once highly regarded in the sciences, in culture, of distinguished international renown, has fallen to a new low… and that’s a fact.
Today, we at le Mouching hesitate between Belgium, the Ukraine and Monaco.