Exhibit 52.017 (Dr. Hammer's Museum of Curiosities): Photograph Entitled "La Cola del Diablo"
(click image to view larger)
One day I came across this artifact in an album of old photographs of religious relics. Although my Spanish was rusty, I understood the title of the photograph to be "The Devil's Tail", probably a local name for a very potent pepper. I was curious about how this photograph came to be in the album, and asked Dr. Hammer to explain. He looked at me with his deep sad eyes, and disabused me of my idea that this was a photograph of a mere pepper. He assured me that a respected scholar at the Vatican had authenticated the photograph as being that of the actual tail of the Devil. He explained that every 5 years, the Devil molts his tail, the old one once discarded shriveling up as it dried out. His Vatican source claimed that the molting process was quite painful, which put the Devil in a devil of a mood so to say, which in effect caused the furnaces of hell to be turned even higher. While it seemed a completely implausible tale, I found myself smiling as I left the museum that afternoon.