In a Way That Satiates

Now to the feasting and the musical gamboling in an area measuring almost a thousand square yards. The guests were from two friendly cartels: a few more than one hundred people bent on having a good time; to this number we must add another smaller number: forty? thirty? Tense faces with very raised eyebrows that were better ignored: hope struggling against two filthy doubts. The stench of death recently focused anew, made leathery perhaps, destroying thick, thorny, thwarted extremes … And the other division: listening to sounds from above and from below: first the harmony and then the stalkings, all those there’d been, footsteps that … who knows … And now, let’s take note of pleasant things: Los Rurales (it was their turn) were livening up the guzzling with their sappy and crackling music, which nobody paid much attention to because of the cha-cha-chugging guitar. Let’s also take note of the sumptuous snacks: the steaming carnitas, yum, and the pace of the swilling and willing women. The swarthiest were rushing to and fro serving, whereas the others, exempt from tiresome chores, were sitting and eating gracefully, embraced by those sombreroed loverboys, who all had bad breath. At first the drinks were cola sodas: Coca and Pepsi, each according to his preference, but then they brought out the Fantas, Mirindas, and Orange Crushes. Not a lot of diversity, one might say.

Finally what everyone was waiting for: three ice chests filled with beer. Whoever wanted could get up and …

Always get the last word.

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The first guy who went to get four beers opened one of the ice chests and—in order to find the coldest ones—dug down through the chunks of ice with, let us say, beautiful despair, and got the surprise of his life: because there below he found three heads with mussed hair: three incredibly well-executed beheadings! Three: indeed! Three, and the rhyme: beers-ears: what a paradox. Luminous terror: even effusive, because the dead faces (more white than brown) belonged to people the locals knew, three married men: ranchers, young (that too) fathers (cheers!), so their wives had to come see what so many others were already seeing. The screams, the disconcerting ayayayays of all who approached. Heads together at the very bottom of an ice chest without any blood below. Indeed! A dull grisly chill, but none of those looking (up close) acted impetuously; instead they waited for the widows to decide what to do. First came the six blowhards: their anger manifest in their many brusque gestures, as well as their badly formed sentences, their verbal trip-ups, if you wish, after seeing those perfect beheadings: frozen trio: fancy that! forced brotherhood. Finally the widows arrived, and one of them said that if the heads of their beloved husbands weren’t kept in the ice chest, where the hell would they put them? That is: they were just fine there: the whole thing should be left intact until all three reached the best decision. There was agreement, expressed with the nodding of three living, widowed, sad heads with long hair.

The sequence of speculations arising on all sides brought one conjecture that arrived without stumbling: TREACHERY: somebody they knew gave the tip-off, was the facilitator: who? A blot, and what the hell for? Along with this same train of thought came another not difficult to expound upon: it was probably a group that had been bribed with a lot of money: how many guys had to be involved in order to …? Those you-know-whats could be at the party, but nobody was going to say, “Yeah, it was me, so what?” Muteness, just like innocence, would spread out like a coarse and ordinary cloth. Nobody, then. Futile inquiries and the resulting dearth, everything seen in the next few days would be revealed in a different way. Some local rancher would have to go somewhere for the most unforeseen reason; that, then, the sure path of prophecy according to absences: that one and the other, and those over there, who suddenly, now where? Foggy figuring, but …

The Colombians left. They had to fly on to the United States so they could check out the secret runway, the one on the ranch near Denver, within a few hours. No setbacks, please, no matter how horrendous, otherwise … Because this business of beheadings was not a Colombian problem, even though one of them offered a casual tip just as he was placing his foot (booted) onto the stairs to the plane: The author of these crimes has to be someone from the Malpicas or the Cureños cartel … Oh, and something else: whoever put those heads in the ice chest is at the party … dancing? eating?: neither of these activities was going on because the party had ended ipso and the feeding had, too. Nobody could feel hungry after seeing the contents of that ice chest, and obviously they’d feel even less like dancing, because it would be very disrespectful to do so. Just imagine! Nor did the musicians want to keep doing their thing, as if nothing had happened. In fact, the two music groups left quite quickly in their pickups. Los Imprudentes hadn’t had the chance to play even one piece. Finally: little remained: only the pain of mourning, the pain itself—even at a monotonous trot—would slowly diminish.

Amid the sadness the practical aspect had to arise: the—cerebral?— widows winding their way toward a solution: little by little: what to do and what to avoid. Therefore: their whispers continued. In the meantime, consider the other part: the slow, thoughtful departure of many, the flight of opposing forces: slow flight. Total dejection with dollops of propitious suspicion, still twisted. Inside the main mansion the four local blowhards were getting confused listing all the known members of the Malpicas as well as the Cureños, but infiltration, such sophisticated espionage, in their midst—how?—the planner of, or rather, the intellectual author of. Meanwhile the departures continued of many people who really did lament the beheadings, in particular the sinister idea of placing the heads in such an inappropriate spot, right? or let’s see: why the wit? Sick humor and horror: hindering one another. The weird part later was when the three widows remained, accompanied by about ten or eleven very understanding women. Female wake-weeping that waned with time, it had to; especially because the mental always ends up defeating the sentimental. That’s the way of the world.

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