Father Bartolome vs Canseco

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“You there!” Father Bartholomew shouted, pointing a wobbly finger at Canseco.

Four boys stood up.

Father closed his eyes and said a prayer. His large hands were trembling, and he could not hold his index finger steady. The boys were making sport of it.

“Was it me you called, Father?”

“Yes, Father?”

“At your service, Father!”

Father Bart’s sermons, no matter how diplomatically he phrased them, revealed an affinity for the poor that disturbed the civic leadership of the communities to which he was assigned. That was bad for the Catholic Church, and worse for Father Bart. His superiors worked hard to keep him alive during a time when Catholic priests were getting assassinated for the content of their sermons. They moved him from parish to parish well into his 70’s. Finally the Cardinal of Lima told him that if he wished to continue risking life and limb, he may as well try his hand at educating the boys of La Virgen del Pinar.

Excerpt from Chapter 34, Ghecko on God, in Part II of Tocayos, which I hope to publish in 2016.

Father Bartolome

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And, as so often happens in Catholic school and horror movies, a figure materialized on the teacher’s platform. No one saw or heard him walk in. A little unsettled, one by one we, the students, we turned in our seats to face the apparition. He was a towering man in a dull black cassock and crisp white priests’ collar. His giant hands clasped a bedraggled Bible against the front of his body. He was completely bald. He was ancient, and his old cassock hung thinly over his broad, bony shoulders, the sleeves not long enough to cover his arms or hide his powerful hands. Though 2 meters of height, he stood straight as a redwood. A priest that tall had to be North American, I thought, but his leathery skin was more olive than pink, and his features were almost indian, his eyes almost black.

He studied us with great concern, and remained silent until the last student had turned around.

“I am Father Bartolome,” he said in a voice that crumbled like old wood. “I am here to teach you social justice.”

Excerpt from Chapter 33, Burguese’s Lower Lip, in Part II of Tocayos, which I’ll publish in 2016.  Part I is available from Smashwords.

Milagros Across the Court

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Photo courtesy of Nice Cool Pics.

I stopped breathing. She was a beauty of such astonishment that my sense of time folded back over itself and I was suddenly unsure whether I was seeing her for the first time or remembering her from the moment of creation when God, as the centerpiece of his plan to make man strive for eternity, gave me a glimpse of the perfection that would remain forever out of my reach.

I had to see more of her. Her dark hair cascaded, thick and loose, to the middle of her shoulders. The face it framed was exquisite. I examined it like a reckless boy, jumping from the lips of a sculpture to the eyebrows of a movie star, skipping beneath the shadow of her hair and tracing the contour of her cheekbones to rest again on her lips, where I paused to breathe many times. I lingered in a state of awe along her elegant jaw line, moving aside her hair with the back of my hand to reveal the earlobes of an angel, pierced with a single pearl. Hidden from the world beneath the curtain of her hair I kissed the length of her neck until the gymnasium swayed. Leaning back, I stared into her eyes. Chocolate brown like her hair, they were priceless gems that defeated space, collapsing the distance of the court between them. Them? Between them? Why not between us?  No!  She was staring at Charly!

Excerpt from Chapter 10, the Gospel According to Carlos, from Part I of Tocayos.  Part I is available from Smashwords.  I will publish Part II and a hardcover version of both parts in 2016.

Want a Job with ISIS? Start Hating American Muslims

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Pic courtesy of Viral Moose.

The residents of Hawaii would quibble with this point, but since the Civil War America’s strategy of fighting its wars on foreign soil has protected American civilians from the worst of war’s horrors.  That might be small consolation to families who lost loved ones in the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the “conflicts” in between, but it’s still a huge benefit.  If you’re not convinced, ask a German or Japanese survivor of WWII.  There are still a few around.

That strategy, however, is no longer working as well.  Starting with Al Queda, our enemies have made it a central objective of their strategy to bring the war to American soil, by any means possible.

We are at war.  Ask our soldiers.  Hang around military families.  They know.  Open your eyes and you’ll spot the amputations around you, hidden by prosthetic limbs and long pants.  And those are not the worst injuries.

We have made Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria our most recent battlefield, but our enemies are trying to make American cities their battlefield.  The recent shooting in San Bernardino makes it pretty  clear that ISIS wants the headlines in American media to shout:

Muslims kill Christians at Christmas!!!!

And you can help them.  Yes, you can be an ISIS or Al Queda recruit without even having to go through the inconvenience of traveling to Syria and wearing those funny clothes.

It’s simple: just start printing those headlines and hating American Muslims.  That’s all ISIS wants you to do.  If you hate American Muslims, and you help spread that hate, eventually American Muslims will start hating you back.  Giving ISIS fresh recruits right here on American soil.

The alternative?  Embrace American Muslims.  Invite them into your Christian homes at Christmas.  And go to their homes on their Holy Days.  Welcome Syrian refugees warmly.

Will that result in some ISIS sympathizers being able to hide among American Muslims.  Yes.  And they will manage to kill some of us.  After all, we are at war.  But it will result in far fewer of them.  Not to mention a great deal more peace inside our own hearts.

Jesus instructed us to love our enemies.  Perhaps he was a better military tactician than we give him credit for.

A Man’s Heart

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Isabel sighed and looked at her daughter directly in the eye.  “Your idealism has made you bitter.  You expect impossible things from a man, then hate him, and perhaps resent all men, when he does not do for you what is impossible for him to do for any woman.  A woman has a woman’s heart.  A man has a man’s.”

Excerpt from Chapter 29, Ringing the Little Bell, Part 2 of Tocayos.  I hope to publish Part 2 in the summer of 2016.  Part 1 is available here.

Charly and the Waves

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A wave was as opposite of Charly’s nature as it was possible to be.  Charly, he chewed metal nuts for breakfast.  The he turned on all the chainsaws in the house and screamed with them.  Before showering, he pulled all the hair out of his chest, to show the water who was stronger, but by the time he finished showering, it had all grown back.  A wave, it is something very different from Charly.

When it is not as big as a hammer, a wave is soft as a caress. A wave is sensuous in shape, in movement, in color, in surface, even in the way it collapses and disappears into the sand.  If you surrender to a wave, the forces of the Earth they reveal their mystery to you: they show you the secret place where intersect the weight of your body, your momentum, the wave’s momentum, the angle of its surface, the power of the wave, the name of the force that keeps things on the surface of the water.  That place of magic changes every second.  You have to listen with your skin.

Charly, he did not know surrender.  He did not respond to mystery.  I had been around him long enough to realize he had the sensuality of a dog who protects a junkyard.  He had the seduction abilities of big, fat nail that you step on with the heel of your foot.  I did not and do not understand how a girl as beautiful and sensual as Milagros had any interest in him.

Waves were so much the opposite of Charly that once he tasted them, he developed a hunger that did not stop.  The more he consumed the waves, the more he needed them.

Except from Chapter 27, “Standing in Isabel’s Doorway. ”

Photo courtesy of http://iliketowastemytime.com/2013/05/07/daily-wallpaper-wave.

La Carretera Panamericana – Tocayos Part 2

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Photo courtesy of Panoramio

As we rounded the last house on the street, the blue waters of Playa Norte finally revealed themselves to me.  I stopped, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.  The morning breeze, thick with the ocean’s moisture, gently caressed my face like a mother’s hand.  Seagulls squawked overhead, and the warm, bitter aroma of guano that pervades the Peruvian coast drifted into my nostrils.  I opened my eyes and took a long, loving look around.  There was the small park with the tiny lawn, the half-buried white stones, the cluster of nicely painted houses.  There were the black cliffs above my house and the thatched patio that jutted out over the rocks.  There was the royal blue Pacific, sparkling through the mist, undulating with swells slowly making their way toward shore, tumbling over themselves into sparkling white foam, and rushing in a hush onto the sand.  During the last month of school I had dreamed of this moment at least once per class period.  This humble but lovely creation of God had been responsible for a full grade point off my average.  And now it was responsible for letting me forget all about politics.

Excerpt from Part 2 of Tocayos, which I hope to publish in the Spring of 2016.  Part 1 is published here.

GiG