• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 11


We flew into the plains. A cab into the highland city. Where sidewalks were precipitous because of all the floods. Graffiti from the revolution. It had been exactly twenty years. Another century. Men and women in balaclavas, the red star, communistic. My hotel bed beneath a poster of a pyramid. My window on a leaky air conditioner. My wife had just had our baby back home. There was a chance of violence. So we hired a car with strangers, a French photographer and his biracial British lover, a reporter. Beto my friend the anarchist sat beside the driver. His Chicano did not translate well. Climbing higher into the fog along bare cliffs past girls in blue dresses walking goats towards stone huts, shepherds taking naps against hillocks in coats of black alpaca fur, and once or twice a sinkhole would surprise us. I was always almost throwing up. At their camp in the mountains they kept us waiting. Revolutionaries the world over. Mostly academics. Spaniards and New Yorkers. Some Japanese kid. Pressing against the gate in a murmuring reverence. We heard they’d take our passports but they didn’t. The rain began to fall as we poured in and downhill slipping in the mud, taking pictures of their murals. They sold us their tchotchkes. A tiny doll with tiny wooden rifle for my daughter. They wore their balaclavas. We could buy one too. And food in kettles upon fires in the open air. Our feet were sinking. My shoes were ruined. They stood apart from us. The French photographer was so handsome that they let him take their accusatory portraits. Then the concert as night fell. On their basketball court. Women and children in masks stood in front of the musicians facing us. In case of gunfire—a sacrifice, or to shame the killers. I was shaking cold. They watched us watching them, with glances towards the jungle. A few weeks later I read someone had been murdered. I never did write my play about them.