Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Neighborhood News and a Violent Incident

Fewer people live on Loma de Chivo so it is quieter these days. Some of the old people have died, some have moved away and many of the tigueres have been killed. Just this week police entered Popitín’s house and shot him in the hip as he backed away against a wall. His parents were in the room. The goal was to give him a dosis, or a permanent crippling but it seems he will walk again. His parents paid $700 to the police and they released him today. We sent a bowl of rice pudding over to his house since he is a tiguere who does not rob from his own barrio.
            Rubia, who used to butcher chickens across the street sold the little pink house and moved away with her son and Anita, her 16-year-old daughter with her new baby.

The colmado next to the house closed, to everyone’s relief. The speakers Rubio had hooked up to the jukebox got bigger and bigger until we couldn’t hear our own phone ring, much less talk on it when the music was playing. He evidently had borrowed a lot of money to make improvements on the colmado, squirreled the money away and stopped making payments so the bank closed the place down after confiscating the jukebox. Rubio tried renting the space out as another colmado but the guys who rented it gave up after one week for lack of business. At the moment it is a hair salon but I never see any customers in it.
            Christmas day, during the short time the new colmado was open there was one customer who, when drunk, refused to pay for his beer. The second time it happened Kiki happened to be in the colmado and when the drunk reached across the counter and cuffed the colmado employee up side of the head Kiki suggested he lay off. Kiki walked out and was right in front of my marquisina when the drunk emerged from the colmado and yelled at Kiki—who had also been drinking all day—that he should mind his own business and keep going. Kiki turned around and, when the drunk walked up fast and threw a right at Kiki’s head, Kiki launched an overhand right that I could hear connect from the galería and a left that floored the drunk. When he got half up Kiki kicked him in the stomach and connected to the head twice more. The drunk was sprawled in the center of the street but managed to sit up and say something I couldn’t hear. Kiki took a step and a half like he going to kick a field goal and kicked the guy in the head so hard that the sound of the shoe hitting the skull was almost indistinguishable from the sound the back of the guy’s head made when it slammed against the asphalt. As Kiki moved in to stomp the guy’s head into the pavement Niningo, Domingo, and Altagracia herself who had been trying to pull him off all this time finally succeeded.  It had been like watching an efficient predator on the Discovery Channel dismantle a confused wildebeest. A couple of us dragged the unconscious wildebeest over to the curb and it took a long time before his chest moved with his breathing. He was out cold for 5 minutes and we donated two buckets of water from the cisterna to bring him to. Kiki was ushered up to Chavela’s apartment in case police were called, and when Jhoanglish started to lecture him about something from the Bible Kiki grabbed a knife and lunged across the table at him but only managed to nick him although the baby fell and started crying. So Kiki’s girlfriend took him down the street to her apartment and on the way Kiki threw another punch at a passerby who had made a smart remark. This was on Christmas Day, which is also Kiki’s birthday.
            The next day the drunk came around and apologized to the colmado and to Altagracia and she said his whole head was swollen. A few days after that he came around again when he realized he would probably have permanent cosmetic damage (at least), with a pistol this time, but Kiki was not around and we have not heard anything more. He is nonviolent when not drinking and has five children, all younger than 7, with a tall slender woman who often walks past the house with two or three babies in tow and a bucket of water or laundry balenced on her head. They live in a two-bedroom shack with a dirt floor.

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