Friday, March 19, 2010

Cry, Mercy (Fiction-part 2)

In life all men have a Voice that whispers softly. The Voice is the whistle of the wind. The Voice is the love of ancestors long since gone. The Voice guides man to happiness in this world and the next. When the words of man become louder than The Voice of the spirits, man must fend for himself. When a good man becomes deaf to The Voice he will fail.  He will fall.

Before Don Miguel Garcia was rich and powerful he was humble and poor as to the things of this world.

Miguel spent his entire life working his father’s small milpa. He awoke early daily to cows. He milked them and branded them. He delivered their young with expert hands. He drove them out to pasture. He cared for horses and livestock. He learned to break wild ponies and handle a gun in case of wild animal attacks. His work made him happy. By the age of sixteen he easily handled his horse, a lasso and a rebellious calf with a cigarette dangling from his parched lips.

When work was done he sat under an Alamo tree with his brothers and talked about the future.

“I want to be rich!” he said. “I want a beautiful wife with long hair and a big ass. I want to buy her nice things. I want hundreds and hundreds of cows!”

His brothers were both older than he. They thought themselves very wise in comparison to his 16 years.

As the oldest, Rueben felt it was his duty to prevent his little brother from wasting time dreaming about impossibilities. “Miguelito, be happy with what you have! We will never be rich!” Rueben said. “Our reward is a cold beer and a good woman waiting at home with fresh tortillas.”

“And if you’re lucky maybe a woman or two on the side to keep you warm,” said Flaco. “But you don’t know about women yet, hermanito. You’re still a baby virgin. Your tiny pistol has not yet entered the warmth of life. You don’t know the ecstasy of which I speak.”

“I will never be a pig like you,” said Miguel. “The woman I find will satisfy my every need.”

His brothers howled with laughter.

“We are Garcia men! We love women and women love us. They love a good sized pistol and a man who knows how to use it! We are very generous! You cannot deny who you are, hermanito! We are lovers and vaqueros. You make me exhausted with your talk of hundreds of cows,” said Flaco.

Flaco and Rueben teased Miguel mercilessly for his ambitions and old fashioned values.

Two years later Miguel fell hopelessly in love with Theresa Rodriguez Lobo. He had watched her from afar for months but was never confident enough to approach the raven beauty. She was vibrant and passionate. Her smile made his heart race as it never had before. When she was out of his sight he could think of nothing else. He knew she must be his. He would never be whole without her.

He approached her at a dance.

Vamos a bailar?” he asked.

She shrugged, “Vamos.”

He wore his best white cowboy hat and matching red snake skin belt and boots. He had bathed especially for the occasion.

He took her by the hand and led her to the dance floor which was little more than an outdoor basketball court with an old gazebo at one end. From the gazebo a live mariachi band played Cumbias, Corridos and Rancheras. He put his arm around her tiny waist and felt the warmth of her body against his chest. He felt slightly lightheaded with elation and excitement.

She looked up and smiled at him.

“So. You finally decided to speak to me.”

He reddened. “Well… I… did you… want me to speak to you?” he asked.

“Miguel, how can you be so shy when your brothers are such lady‘s men?” she asked with a twinkle in her eye.

“I’m not like my brothers,” he said. “I have wanted to speak to you for a long time, Theresa.”

“I know.” She looked up at him. A smile played across her full mouth.

He looked down into her dark, brown eyes and saw eternity.

“Theresa, I’m in love with you,” he said.

Her eyes grew wide. “You love me? But you are a Garcia. You can have your choice of women. Every woman in the town would die to be with you. And you have never even spoken to me!” she protested.

“I want no other woman but you. When I look into your eyes I see my future. I think of you constantly. I dream of you. You are the blood of me.”

What woman in her right mind could argue with such a statement? How could a red-blooded female turn her back on such a declaration of love? Theresa felt her heart swell. Perhaps she had loved him all along as well. Perhaps she was his future and he was hers. He seemed so sure of himself.

“I have my own cows and my own land now. I will build us a house. When it is finished I will ask you to be my wife.”

They danced all night. As Miguel expertly spun her around the dance floor her mind reeled as well.

After the dance he walked her home in the dark. He was the perfect gentleman. He led her safely to her parent’s door.

“May I kiss you?” he asked.

Theresa was accustomed to rough cowboys who took kisses and whatever else she allowed without such formalities. Who was this man-child?

She nodded slightly and tipped her face up to his. He stood 6 feet 3 inches. He stooped low to meet her tiny 5 foot 1 inch frame.

The kiss was soft and tender. He held her face in both of his hands and whispered, “You will be mine, Theresita. You will make me the happiest man alive. I will take care of you.”

Theresa said goodnight and stepped inside.

Miguel’s feet did not touch the ground as he slowly walked toward El Mescalero Cantina to meet his brothers.

His reverie was interrupted by the shouts of a teenage boy on a horse. The boy headed toward him at full speed.

“Miguel! Los hermanos Morales are beating your brothers with sticks! They are going to kill them!”

Chingada madre! Lend me your horse!”

Miguel took off like a bolt of lightening.

His brothers were always getting in bar fights. They were loud and cocky and enjoyed gambling. Fist fights were a thrill. But Miguel would not allow his brothers to be bludgeoned with sticks.

He offered up a prayer, “Virgencita de Guadalupe, grant me strength and courage to protect my brothers. I will devote my life to you. I promise to light candles for you everyday for a year if you will answer my plea.”

The street outside the cantina was a sea of white cowboy hats.

“Move it! Get out of my way!” he shouted.

The crowd parted and Miguel saw Flaco and Ruben in a drunken, bloody heap on the ground. Two large men were taking turns pounding them with thick tree branches.

“Where is my money, Garcia?” The fatter of the two sneered.

“I don’t have it,” said Flaco a long string of blood and mucus hung from his nose. 

“You don’t have it? Break his fingers.”

The slimmer brother stepped on Flaco’s arm and brought the branch down with a thud on his right hand. Flaco howled in pain.

Miguel’s blood boiled. He took a .44 out of his holster and fired in the air.


The crowd of white hats began to scatter.

Miguel pointed his pistol at the fat brother.

“Throw down the sticks and put your hands up! Flaco! Get up and take their weapons.”

Flaco staggered to his feet and took their guns.

Dame las pistolas, Flaco!”

Pero..,” Flaco started to protest.


Miguel holstered his own pistol. Flaco handed him guns.

Miguel took one pistol in each hand and pointed them a each of the Morales brothers.

“Ruben! Pick up the sticks and give one to Flaco."  Ruben did as he was told.   "Now break their noses.”

Ruben hesitated.

“Do it! Or I will shoot YOU!” he shouted.

Miguel's orders were followed.  A volcano of blood shot forth from the faces of the Morales brothers.

“Now break their knees!” Miguel shouted.

Crack! Crack!

Miguel continued to shout orders as he held the Morales brothers at gunpoint. When he felt satisfied justice had been served he yelled, “Ya! Ya estuvo!”

He looked down at the four bloody men and shook his head. “Go home, idiots.”

Ruben laughed, “When did you grow such big balls, hermanito?”

For the first time in his life Miguel’s chest swelled with unfamiliar pride. He was now respected. He was now a man.

La Virgen had been with him tonight. He had earned the respect of every man in town and had won the love of his heart’s only desire. Theresa.

He offered up a prayer. “Virgencita de Guadalupe, gracias! Thank you for granting me this favor, Madre de Mexico. I am forever in your debt.”