It’s bigger now. The anthro-apologists, as Bobby called them the first time, have made hay here. The cows are the turistas. Busses full of them, like cattle in a truck pulled by a semi. There’s one now. Blonde with the proverbial camera around her neck, lovely but parsimonious like most of us, scrutinizing the ways of the pagan.
What am I doing here with another night of work ahead of me? What do I care? I’m here. Maybe I’ll stay this time. Look up the doctor in the jungle, if he’s still there. Or the Senora, who served me two meals a day and listened to my halting efforts at speaking Spanish. If she’s still here.
I have come alone, leaving Puebla at dawn. The rental car is due back tonight. Maybe I’ll leave it here and go out there and hit up Vallejo for a stay at his place. He’s the magician, the doctor, he knows how to make things appear and disappear. Maybe his brother will be there, or did he die in prison? for the great sin of organizing railway workers in Mexico City . . .
I do find the Senora’s place, the same place it was before: nothing’s changed, she says she doesn’t need turista dinero. She knows the doctor. He’s still out there. He hates the incursion. And no, his brother is not with him, he stayed in D.F., organizing again because the work is more important than his freedom from incarceration.
I find the same path somehow. I go to the doctor’s house. It’s even more hidden in what I once called Liana Land. He lives there with his woman, the one Manuela Roma talked about, the puta who retired with him here. I have never met her. She is gentle, with a look of fierceness in her eyes, no rare quality in Mexican women. Neither gentleness nor fierceness.
The doctor has aged. He is losing his hair. He sports playfully in front of her whose love keeps him alive, he says, making a gesture toward his lower parts. He likes to say, There is where we all are, below–the poor eat nothing while the rich devour everything, men starve and women starve, they have no strength left to make babies, not even to make each other happy. His parrot, the same one, cries, “Fuck, you mortals, fuck!”
We sit at the table and he tells me the story of what has happened to Cuetzalan. Nada is the name of the story, he says. They bring nothing here but their self-importance, gringos and gringas who have too much at stake in what they may turn up under the earth–cities of gold, civilizations no one knows–and they employ the poor to dig deep until they find treasure.
I do not believe, the doctor declares, there has been any change since Cortes . . . only His name.
(16 September 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander