Gustavo, por favor, tell your good mother that we will need her to help clean up after the baptisms tomorrow. Oh, and Gustavo, why do you not come to God's house anymore? You and that gang of yours are putting your souls in terrible jeopardy. You must come to confession, you must," said the tall, Spanish cleric, wiping fresh animal dung from the perfectly shined Italian loafers that were his pride and a constant subject of local gossip as if they were a beautiful, promiscuous woman or a cuckolded husband.
"Si, Father, I will tell mi mama, and Father, have a good day," replied Gustavo Quiroz, putting his filthy woven grass sombrero back on his wild, bristly shock of native black hair. Gustavo's breath was very foul this morning. He had passed the previous evening with his "gang" at the village pulqueria, "El Cuervo Allegre", singing loudly or playing his beloved bajo sexto, counseling moderation, drinking the milky, slightly narcotic, fermented juice of the maguey in bold gulps, eventually crying great big tears that looked like little obsidian pears running from his hairless chin onto his instrument or dropping in the urinal at the foot of the proud, mesquite bar. Gustavo loved his people and he loved sharing all with them: pain, pleasure and the struggle -- life as campesinos dramatically bound to their milpas and the inevitability of brutality and sorrow.
"Oh no Father, I come not for the Church or to save myself from fires, I come for them," Gustavo replied, "They are mi pueblo, they are my people, they are el corazon y la alma, no Padre, I come for them. Excuse me Father but I must go to bury little Chilito. His Papa is without luck and has lost his shovel." The tall priest started and moved towards the passive, immutable villager, almost tripping over two small, barefoot, children that were squatted down on their haunches examining his freshly shined shoes, he distractedly, roughly moved them away, took a few steps, then turned and strode rapidly back towards the sumptuous alter and the exquisitely carved and gilded reredo with the bloodied, pitiful man gazing down on it all; possibly following the funeral procession as it moved up the street, a drum and a cane flute accompanying the clip clop of unshod burros on ancient cobblestones.
Cuervo -- crow
Allegre -- happy
Bajo sexto -- bass guitar
Pulqueria -- bar that serves pulque, the fermented juice of the local agave plant
Maguey -- species of agave plant native to Mexico
Campesino -- agricultural peasant
Milpa -- corn field or garden
Pueblo -- village, people
Corazon -- heart
Alma -- soul