Page 174 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 174

154                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               “Let me drive you to your place. My car’s outside.”
               “Si, señor amigo. You take me home.” He started out the door taking
            a bottle from the counter. I dropped a bill and followed him. Outside he
            had propped his knees up against the car’s dash and was nursing the bottle
            like a playing child who already had his fill. I got in.
               “You want to know quickly what happened next, señor? Finally, they
            killed him, you know, but not without the sideshow. Every circus must
            have its sideshow. Three blocks from where they killed his friend and left
            the Indian lady standing, a crazy woman with a camera stood out in the
            crowd, not four feet from him and took his dirty little picture. The policia
            could not catch her in the crowd and she got away in the side streets. She’ll
            have a pretty time of it, I think, looking. She can put it on her bureau and
            dream dreams of him at night–if she likes bruises and blood and the rope
            burning around his neck and shoulders. The crowd, they laughed at her,
            but mostly at the stupid running police.
               “But then, not laughing, out on the plain below the city, while it was
            still morning, they shot the other cabinet minister and threw his body
            down from the cliff. But the General was not to be so lucky.
               “Out there on the plain in our summertime, nothing grows because
            of the wind and the burning sun. It grows so hot the very stones dry and
            crack into dust. To this place had they made them drag the car. And it
            was here they tied the General to the black Packard roof, with his arms
            outstretched to the side windows.
               “No one but the police came close to the execution because of the
            heat. And even they left long before the man was dead.”
               “It is not a good story,” I said.
               “It is not finished,” he answered. “That evening the policia returned
            and found him dead as they had planned. The car was set afire and
            plunged over the gorge. They hoped to destroy completely all trace of
            him. But in the fall, his body was wrenched loose and thrown clear of the
            car. Later some of his people found it and buried him. They say there was
            not so much as a drop of blood left in his body, the sun had dried it so
               I was driving slowly now through the wreckage of the Rio slums.
               “I will walk from here,” he said.
                I pulled over. “It must have been terrible for you, his friend,” I said.
               He got out, closed the door, and bent back through the window. “It
            is terrible, señor, but I was not his friend.”
               “How do you mean?”
               “The  General spent much on ‘his people’ as he called them. The
            Minister of the Treasury could not watch money wasted like so many
            melons at a fiesta. Por favor, I am quite drunk.”

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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