Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day of the Corrida de Toros (a short story)

Day of the Corrida de Toros The bull was bright eyed fast as a mouse, cleaver as a cat, strong in the legs, if anything, the young matador was a sleepwalker, and the bull was very interested, never forgetting for a moment what his great horns were for. He was a small bull, but a real bull, with unaltered horns.

For me, bullfighting was just a spectator sport, no more, but a dangerous and attention-grabbing sport. In those days (now a decade in the past), it would have been nice to have a bullfighter for a friend, I could have learned much more of the bullfight, the corrida—meaning, the Spanish bullfight, or the corrida de toros—

I had been to arenas in Lima, Mexico City, Seville, they always impressed me, as did the Barrera, the red painted wooden fence around the ring, where the first row of seats are (expensive, and where the media usually are).

I was aware of the Banderilleros; they take orders from the bullfighters. I also liked the burladeros, the shelter of planks, behind which the bullfighter dodges the bull if in pursuit. It makes the event look more dangerous.

In Peru, I had met two bullfighters (matadors) in the arena; been to the Capea— the informal bullfights held in village squares in which amateurs and the hopeful bullfights take place. For me it is all serious entertainment.

But as I was saying, the bullfighter was a sleepwalker; the weather was very hot in Mexico City. I could tell the bull was a proud bull from the moment he slowly eyed and passed the young matador.

I sensed that day to have great insight, or second sight as the bull was watching this young Matador closely and critically; in consequence, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, he would give the Matador difficulty, if not a great would; my equanimity told me the bull already knew what was going to happen to him, courage or no courage when all was said and done, and hence, he gave the matador a grave wound that hot summer’s day, a reminder for the Matador—until the day he died, he was a brave bull.

The two picadors I had met a while ago, talked to before this main event, were now in the background, towards the red wooden fence, the bull was pumping out hot red blood from its shoulders, bright red blood from the jagged wounds those two picadors gave him. Onto the sand of the arena the blood dripped. The bull saw the blind spot (the very one I had seen); the matador being too close to the horns, and his cape or Capa (cape used by bullfighters), made of raw silk on one side, and percale on the other, was heavy to hold, he lifted and lowered it, and somewhere in-between the bull’s eye caught sight of it, and its horn penetrated the young matador’s armpit, he was lifted like a toy soldier over and across the bull’s head, and tossed to the ground, in what the bull might have considered—‘Absolute technical perfection.’ No: 781 (3-23-2011)