LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||03/FEV/2006 8:34 AM|
|Assunto:||Gus/Shot - To Dale!|
CR, I gotta to call'em as I see'em.
I didn't know what rats were until I spent a night in Cototepe, a deactivated fortress/prison on the outskirts of Masaya, Nicaragua. I saw one rat wearing an apron, another had a saddle, two were wearing muscle shirts, and several who wore moustaches a lot more macho looking than mine.
I had been invited to spend the night there. The girls I was with were afraid to drive up the hill in the dark, so the twits dropped me off at the beginning of the road. Let me tell, that walk toward the lights at the top was something out of a Hitchcock movie. Got up to the main gate and all I could hear was more wind. I hollered several times. I didn't feel like hoofing it down the hill and returning the the quinta ("sitio") in Masaya, so I decided to go over the gate. About that time I heard a voice yelling for me to identify myself. I did. More wind. Finally out came a guard carrying an M-1 and dressed in his Fruit of the Looms. (He was a "guardia" of the Guardia Nacional, a military-police organization that had kept a lid on Nicaragua for decades.) I explained that I'd been invited to spend the night. He told me to go home. I said I was staying. He rounded up my host. The guy who had invited me acted as surprised as if he had regained his virginity. He confirmed that he had invited me, but he said he had never dreamed that when I had said "Yes", I had meant it. There had been a lot of fighting at this location around 1912. A soldier had told his grandson (a friend of mine) that it had been impossible to reach the top of the hill without stepping on bodies. And how did I enter the fortress? One of the bars in the gate was loose. It was lifted up and I squeezed through the hole it left. All those men died taking a fortress that had a Mickey Mouse gate. Ironic. There were bunks in the towers but the towers were locked up and the keys were in Managua. (Sounds like Brazil, huh?) I'd seen the kitchen and suggested that I sleep there. Upon reaching the door, I heard some strange sounds. He assured me it was the wind blowing through holes in the walls of the kitchen. We opened the door and turned on the lights. There were rats in the kitchen the size of Fuscas. I turned to him and... He was gone. I have no idea what happened to him. Eaten by a rat? Maybe. Kidnapped by Martians. Possibly. Sleeping in the kitchen was, of course, out of the question. I slept for a while on the roof of a cell (the roof was only 10 cms or so above ground), and spent the rest of the night on a wooden bench. When the sun came up, I was out of there. I walked back to the quinta and got some real shut eye.
Three or four years later I met a fellow how had once been a prisoner there. When old man Somoza was assassinated about 1956, this fellow was arrested on suspicion of involvement in his death. His only crime, apparently, was to be the only person wearing a necktie on a train. Sounds suspicious to me. He had been placed in a large cell with a spiral staircase. He said he had never seen a prisoner return to the cell after being taken out by guards. From the constant gunfire, he assumed they were being executed. A colonel in the Guardia Nacional, a family friend, happened upon him and convined the guards that his arrest had been a mistake. He was released. Fearing that he would be shot by guardias thinking he was an escapee, he asked for transportation to Masaya. Request denied. He walked down the hill, expecting with every step to be shot in the back.
After the Sandinistas took Coyotepe in 1979, at least for a time it was used again as a prison.
I started this tongue-in-cheek, but the story is true. The rats were bigger than a lot of cats I've seen. Had I fallen asleep in the kitchen, I would have left minus assorted body parts.
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