Jesus called me again. He always asks for the same thing. That I go forth, out there, amongst the masses and spread the word. Tell everyone that he’s coming. Sell those tickets. There’s gonna be a revival. A redemption. A happening. It just shouldn’t be missed. You’ve probably heard it all before, and sometimes I get tired tellin’ it, but then again, I have to. I’m his friend and do believe. His aspirations are so high, lofty; idealistic. Either you believe or you don’t.
Then again, he has the most pathetic profession imaginable. He had a meteoric rise to notoriety but the fame, glory and fortune never followed.
He’s broke again but must carry on his pretentious living for his fans, the public and localized observers. It’s been a long winter and he had plenty of drinks to buy for his fans and hangers-on. When they see him in the streets he must be impeccably dressed, the latest style, conservative and no adornments. Similar to all those greats before him; he walks in their shadows.
He has become the heart throb of our venerable Taurin club ever since I had him strip down to his Levi’s, greased him up with baby oil and had him do some passes in the Vera bullring. I made enough selling photos that day to pay for lunch and he felt like a true matador signing.
With the tourist season in full bloom it is his time to do the harvesting. Rent a portable bullring, invite the public and let him show his stuff. Big bulls, little ones, blinded, throw aways the rancher couldn’t sell for meat. He’ll face them all. There still remains that slight, infinitesimal possibility that an impresario will be in the crowd.
A promoter, filthy rich looking for a new act, a novelty to dangle in front of the excitable public. Once the word is out they will come for miles to see the phenom, will cue up and wait endlessly for hours to obtain one of the cherished tickets.
El Pipo did it with El Cordobes. Made the boy a household name. A living legend. In a large city at one of the hotels el Pipo talked the management into allowing his matador to have the highest room in the building, one with a big window on the street side so El Cordobes could throw money out to his admirers below.
Within two years’ half the bars in
But for Jesus the dilapidated portable bull ring held together by a few well worn nuts and bolts would be his Maenstranza of Sevilla or his Las Ventas in
Dressing for the corrida was special too. The ancient ritual and customs were observed to the letter of the ancient laws. These were the same quiet moments that the great Manolete or Jose Tomas endured. Silent times but heavy thoughts locked far in the recesses of the mind. Tragedy could happen in the blink of an eye.
Bulls were dangerous beasts not programmable to make easy passes; they had to be educated slowly. Therein also envisioned were the moments of glory, fleeting but one lived and possibly died for them. In any case, there would be pain and hunger along the long dusty road. No one in the room ever discusses the toros then. Whatever conversation happens it is light and far away from the days pending events; unimportant, insignificant.
His dream fulfilled. Jesus wouldn’t hear the abuses hurled by the drunken festive foreigners. The fat ladies in the front row were as beautiful as any young Spanish maiden. It would happen for him one day.
Jesus trained daily; early in the morning. Ran to the far edge of town where the park is clutching his capes and sword all the way. Practiced the required passes and created a few. A large swishing cape unfurling above his head and then swooping in an elongated curl to the imaginary toro.
Slow with great intent and concern of purpose. The trees about him clamored uproarsly, their leaves and branches ecstatic in the gusts of wind applauding his beauty, his art, and his courage. No matter how bad his life was in the streets he still clung earnestly to his dreams, as if holding the cape with both hands so that his enemy couldn’t pull it away.
By Ric Polansky