July 28, 2013

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Guerrilla #1 took my thumb and pulled it slowly back, looking me straight in the eye and telling me over and over with a grim certainty that I would pay”€”and for some idiotic reason I still said this all was “€œunfair”€”€”so he pulled the thumb beyond the ligament and snapped the bone. They then pinned me to the ground and laid into me harder with the pleasure of a captor having gotten his prey. Kicks to the kidneys and head followed…until I remembered what all this was about and I threw all my cash at them. “€œOK! OK! I give up! Take it!”€

After one last kick to the ear, broadsiding my jaw and cheekbones, they suddenly released me.

I was at a loss. Money gone, cards gone. The glasses I”€™d had made in the Johnny Depp style”€”gone. Shirt”€”torn. People were now avoiding me, as opposed to the other way around.

I staggered away from [E]manuel[le]. Two young female students helped me pick myself up when a youngster (16 or 17 years old) came after us, playing with a gun and saying he would kill me if I didn’t hand over my phone.

I remembered him. He”€™d been loitering at the door while the big boys had been restraining me.

Apparently, he meant it. The girls told me I had to go. They bundled me in a passing taxi and told me to leave the neighborhood and not to come back.

I didn”€™t need persuading.

Dissolve to:


Test results and X-rays on a doctor’s table.

“€œIt’s an intra-articular fracture of the thumb,”€ I heard a doctor’s voice say. Then: “€œWhere are you staying?”€

“€œAt the Intercontinental. On Alameda Santos,”€ I replied. And that was where I wanted to be right then more than anywhere: the Intercontinental. I”€™d never stay anywhere else.

I”€™ll tell you the rest but for now, give me a break. My hand is killing me. Don”€™t forget, I”€™m using one arm here. The other one’s in a sling.





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