Bus Fare to Somewhere Else (alternate take)

1 Nov

The knock came hard. I had been up since dawn, squeezing a tequila headache from the stem, up toward the forehead, and out the pores.
“What?”
“Open up cabrón. Some shits is going down.”
“Manolito?”
“Come on.”
“What time you got?”
“Open it putito.”
I threw on pants and a white shirt. It was stained at the pits. I looked for cigarettes. Then I flung the deadbolt.
“We gotta go jefe.”
He looked into the whites of my eyes, at the thin ramifications of the blood vessels.
“Jesus, you drunk again?”
“No. Overnight recovery. Miraculous.”
“We gotta get this.”
“What is it?”
“You workin’ for somebody?”
“Not this week.”
“We gotta get this anyway. You’ll sell it,” he said.
“You got something?”
“Yea. Just come. Now.”
Freeze it.
Manolo was my contact at Radio Venceremos; part-time translator, audio guy, and full-time social director the entire time I’d been in El Salvador. He was a scrawny, feisty ferret of a man who chain smoked Winstons and ate salted crackers with pickled pig’s feet. He got me my first gig at Vences when a bus full of banana pickers was pulled over by government troops and the men were executed under the pretense that they were FMLN guerillas. I snapped shots of the whole thing. I sold that “regional” to the U.S. Information Agency. Voice of America. And then they hired me as their LatAm stringer. That was ’89.
Roll it.
“Where we headed? What’s happening?”
“The Farabundo.”
“What about them?”
“They’s shooting it up with the troops at the Sheraton.”
“The Sheraton Hotel?”
“Vamonos putito!”
“What the fuck they doing at the Sheraton hotel, fighting up there?”
“They goin’ floor by floor. No shit. And the feds gots some officers…colonels and something else, in the courtyard from the Farabundo. They gonna execute them. Let’s go.”
“Holy shit.”
“Holy shit is right. Vamos.”
We ran the streets at a crazed, disconnected, flailing pace, trying to get to the besieged hotel. Manolito swung his free arm around and adjusted the falling strap to an open, leather messenger bag draping off his shoulder. I noticed he was carrying a Nagra recorder tucked inside. In all the commotion, I had forgotten to bring anything to shoot what I was about to see.
“Fuck that,” he said, “all you need is eyes, cabrón. That’s all you need.”

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3 Responses to “Bus Fare to Somewhere Else (alternate take)”

  1. slyboots2 01/11/2007 at 2:33 PM #

    I gotta say, I am fondest of the first one put out here on the 30th- I think that the flow is smoother. This one is edgier, and colder somehow.

    I still like. Very much.

  2. dr zombieswan 02/11/2007 at 1:43 PM #

    Not to quibble, and my Spanish is imperfect, but wouldn’t he say Vamanos? (Let’s Go?) I could be wrong. But just to say.

    I like it, though. I like both.

  3. (S)wine, Inc. 02/11/2007 at 2:39 PM #

    it goes both ways.
    watch those spanish tennis players, when they hit a winner, they’ll pump their fists and say: “vamos.”
    it’s shorter.

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