09 February 2011

Revolución, Undone

Cristóbal sat straight back on the mahogany bench, and squinted through the Gauloises haze towards the door.  Even through the thick, scarred leather of his coat, he could feel the uneven bricks digging into his back.  The pisco that still burned in his gullet had not yet worked its magic, even though the glass on the battered table was empty, begging for anointment from the green glass bottle standing alongside.

Cristóbal drew a slow breath through the cigarette gripped between the middle fingers of his left hand.  The nails were begrimed, split here and there, and his fingers carried the faint tang of cordite.  As the heavy cloud of French tobacco smoke leaked from his nostrils, he felt a faint shiver of regret that it could very well be the last cigarette he ever smoked.
you know where I have been and
you know what I have done
they say that you see everything
so you know I never hurt no one
The mournful sound of the singer's voice carried across the bar, to land on Cristóbal's heart with a pang of regret.  He had brought his share of hurt, and death, into the world.  The pursuit of liberty, to throw off the shackles, to rid his country of pestilence in the form of secret police...to what end?  Alone here, a cause surely lost, without friends, and without her.
What I have stolen won't be missed
By those who had so much, so long
We'll soon be laughing about this
They will never notice it is gone
But they had noticed.  The faceless ones, the men in the  black coats, they had noticed his theft.  Being possessed of long memories and diabolical patience they found his weakness.  Not being a man given to bartering his righteousness,  Cristóbal had foolishly thought to escape while thumbing his nose at them.  The bombs weren't enough, the midnight raids on the minister's compounds, it wasn't enough.

They had her.  He hadn't believed them, until the grainy photograph had suddenly shown up one day inside the door of of what he had thought to be a safe house.  Her body, a rough wood floor, her eyes half closed, in unconsciousness or death, he could not say.  There was a lock of her hair glued to the back of the print.  Clarity had seized him, he knew what he must do.  He had flung the picture into the fireplace, burning it to ash along with a thick stack of letters.  The only thing he kept was a tattered sepia photograph.  He ran.
I could bend the universe
It I can only get there first
There are some foolish fresh laid plans
My fate is firmly in your hands
The singer crooned, a tiny knife twisting in the wound.  Small tears stung the corners of his eyes.  He brushed them aside, hand straying inside his coat and brushing against the heavy butt of the pistol sequestered there, on its way to the pocket.  He pulled the photograph out, cradling it his hand like a relic.  She looked out at him through eyes like polished mahogany, deep and rich.  The brilliant flower tucked behind her right ear stood out like a sun, and he stifled a sob.

"Aurore", he whispered, "a sunrise I shall never see again."  He raised the picture to his lips, and kissed it, eyes closed.  The singer's voice swelled in duet with his guitar of Spanish cypress.
If you must take me
I can not go peacefully
I left someone waiting for me
I left things so terribly...
A loud screech of tires outside, loud, angry voices and the unmistakable click of guns being limbered.  The singer's voice stopped in mid-lyric.  Cristóbal looked up, through eyes suddenly gone soft on a small wave of pisco.  Four members of the Sección Especial were coming through the door, pistols in hand and lamplight shining like oil on the black leather of their jackets.   
Cristóbal realized it was too late to run.  They hadn't seen him yet, but they certainly had him cornered.  He felt light, feathery and calmer than he had expected.

He carefully put Aurore's photograph back in his pocket, and gripped the butt of the pistol.  He stood up silently, and in one fluid motion he flipped the table over and drew the gun.  The clatter of the table drew the attention of the police, and they swung there pistols towards Cristóbal, like evil flowers facing the sun.

Cristóbal showed his teeth.  Time slowed down to a dripping of honey, and as his finger tightened on the trigger, he sang.
If you must take me
I can not go peacefully
I left someone waiting for me
I left things so terribly...

Lyrics used w/o permission, from "Undone", from the album A Mad & Faithful Telling, by Devotchka.


  1. Holy moly, Irish. That's awesome!

    Now I wanna know the rest of the story...

  2. I can't tell if his finger tightened on the trigger to shoot himself or shoot at the members of the Sección Especial!! A good cliff hanger, there!

  3. Reading that post was just like watching a movie! Excellent, Gumby...and I'd buy that book. For real.

  4. Tara and Sweet Cheeks: Glad you liked it! Now, if I can just get it optioned for a movie...


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...