23. Chump


Translated by Angela Telles-Vaz

    Wasn't there a king of the beggars at the Courtyard of Miracles?
    At the Devil's dorm, the cramped and smelly extension of the kingdom of agony, the King of Pissers was elected.
    He was not named King, the promotion was not mentioned. He was not crowned either with gold or thorns. He received neither the jeweled scepter nor a cane. Instead of purple the overall from where, night and day, slipped little angels of stench.
    He was elected king by chance, in silence, by tradition. It was suddenly found out that he pissed more than anyone, that he had been spanked more than anyone, that he smelled worse than anyone. From that tragic fact, Chump ended up by being the target of all of the focused and neurotic attention of the supervisors. The correction paddle looked for him eagerly, if ten boys were punished, and he was among the ten, why wouldn't he?, he received double punishment.
    I remember someone being punched in front of the graduates. A cold silence gripped the breath of all. This person was, thrown into the air and caught by the point of a cleat. Did I imagine that? Was it true that people were beaten like that? It's all mixed up in my mind. I'm almost sure that what I remember it's true. And I'm almost convinced that it was him, Chump, that fell on his stomach onto the point of the cleat, or his mouth or his testicles or his back, does it make any difference?
    I remember him in the center of the pissers pyramid and, to the agony of my memory I witnessed the collapse of the temple. A murmur, a kind of uncontrolled howl, one leg braking the symmetry, someone rolling over the others, arms and legs tangled, an octopus dying or mating desperately, and Sinuca's belt flying fast and hissing, an iron tongue snake biting like crazy. They hunkered in despair, they rebuild the pyramid but the buckle menaced the eyes and they tumbled again, tangled.
    I wonder if all of this is true.
    My eyes are watery, my heart threatens to explode and I want to stop to remember.
    But in the depths of my soul, a vulture laughs and whispers with evil: I was there. And a heron in agony dies, sending in its death the most painful groan: nobody has the right to forget such things!
    I think I see Sinuca suddenly stop and throw to the door a bright look filled with blood; the look of the Archangel on the day of the expulsion from Paradise. And we, the children, who were there for some sadistic curiosity, fleeing in a fretful run towards the beds, where for a long time, the heart triggered by the life and death race, pounded in the chests, warmed up or distracted from the cold.
    What kind of colorful dream would be possible after that?
    I have already spoken about the hand that took fresh paint from the wall. Chump was mentally retarded and he didn't notice that the wall had been repainted. Or was it the fear that always accompany him?, causing him to stumble everywhere, choke on any word or urinating all over, even when awake. That was more than fear, has the appropriate word already been created? I also wonder if he was indeed mentally retarded. His behavior could have been the result of the constant surveillance and constant beatings. He had an enormous head and I think that he was retarded, because the skull extended at the back like the one of the Egyptian princesses, daughters of Akhenaten. I think this physical deformity was what transformed him in Jesus Christ, against his will. He was an ugly mulatto. There were many. He pissed his bed. There were so many! But that gigantic, heavy and monstrous head...
    They shouldn't stand the presence of that strange creature. Once, he spent a long time talking to my small group and I have the vivid memory that, deep in his eyes, there was a great gentleness and his voice was tender. But that big monstrous head, stinking, was a piece of moving piss, sun-dried piss, accumulated for several days, an overall bumpy and rotten.
     How would pisser be, in Latin?
    Jesus Chump, Rex of Pissers!
    If the antique god appeared in front of me, I would ask him to give me back my past. And, in front of Chump, I would throw at his face the sacred sign:
    I haven't finished yet!
    Who gave the world the right to spank him? Who gave the supervisors the right to kill him? The mother of this unhappy creature, what did she do to the world?, to have her son kicked and bloodied until his last breath.
    Which god would have the shamelessness of asking for forgiveness from this woman?

    I don't know if it was because of the milk candy, the collective pandemonium of the bowels and the flushing of poop, I don't know if it was because of that he deserved the horrible beating. I don't know if it was for his hand dirty with paint or exactly when the incident occurred. He was ferociously beaten. In the mist of this terrible landscape of my memory, I hear groans of horse, wolf, cat, rat until a final bloody squeaking. Then he disappeared. My little friends whispered softly in my ears that Chump is very ill at the priest's house, the vulture would have finally had his feast, the king-vulture would spread his wings and stroll happy.
    Though I don't remember the funeral, I keep a fade picture within me. A beheaded heron, a vulture with a torn bill, legs and wings quartered. There's a light and cheap coffin. There are silent steps over the dusty floor. There are trembling hands of the older students that bear the light weight of that fatal warning. There's a downcast priest, walking with eyes full of kindness.
    There's also for sure, the sound of a bell, trying to say that birth-rate and funeral have the same music and one only resonance.
    This happened in 1950. One thousand nine hundred years of an era that is said to be civilized, a few thousand years of written history. I don't know how many millennia since the emergence of homo sapiens.
    Homo sapiens.
    Homo dementissimus.

    to be continued on next sunday.