The political and social narrative of the American right is
more and more beginning to resemble the old time xenophobic, nationalistic and
racist European fascism of the early 20th century. Conservatives and religious fundamentalists
are becoming the social monitors of the behavior and motives of just about
every type and group that they consider the other. This country appears to be becoming more delineated and
segregated based on a group-imposed denial of our common humanity and, most
interestingly, a new interpretation of the Jesus story as one of exclusion and
exceptionalism, instead of inclusion and compassion.
What is happening now is a form of sensory and experiential
deprivation: groups of people consciously denying themselves the joy, comfort and
enlightenment of communing with their diverse fellow countrymen -- reveling in
and celebrating a shared humanity.
This is part of a story that digs into the mound of "Us" and comes up with a narrative about "Us."
"The wolf nonchalantly swatted the little skittering mouse, tumbling it back into the whitewashed adobe corner. It was hard to tell whether it was insouciance or nobility that prevented the large animal from looking directly at the doomed rodent just before gently seizing it whole, chewing a few times, looking straight down at the saltillo tile floor, showing no teeth or any sign of appetite or pleasure, swallowing, then looking up blankly into the eyes of her owner, 'La Senora Polaca de los lobos' (the Polish wolf lady).
"She has lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for many years, arriving sometime in the late fifties. The rumor was that she was either a holocaust survivor or Polish nobility. She is elegantly, dolefully beautiful, still; obviously marked by suffering or loss of some sort. Her long-time artist lover left town with a very young Tampico Circus performer, acrobat and contortionist. This was not the cause of her suffering.
"She has had many pet wolves through the years. This is probably her last. Adan her gardener, her mayordomo, occasional lover and the procurer of wolf pups and rodents, died suddenly of the lingering complications of polio on the bus to the Tuesday Mercado. An elderly Indian peddler snatched the wolf tooth on a silver chain from around his neck during all the commotion. This too was painful for her; however the source of her eccentricity is bound to the Eurasian Steppes and fascism, not Mexico. She is not fully at ease with Mexico's mestizo ambivalence toward sin, both venial and mortal.
"The wolf lady's house is about a block off of calle Insurgentes, not far from the Templo de Santa Ana. The alter of this parish church is dedicated to the Holy Family. Mary and Joseph and the child Jesus are front and center with the crucified Christ off to the left. The Wolf Lady has been seen many times sitting in the third pew at midday. She has told friends that she enjoys visiting this church because of the emphasis on family. It has been decided among her group of friends that the reason she has so many parties is because she has a need for the feel and appearance of family. She is having another party tonight.
"The first to arrive at the Wolf Lady's fiesta are Becky and her mother. They are from Ohio. Becky is a retired seventeen-year-old one-legged prostitute. She has the innocence and beauty of a one-legged Grace Kelly or Blythe Danner. Only Americans or Canadians ever ask Becky how she lost her leg. Mexicans act as if it is still there or look at where it used to be and cross themselves. She got her start when her mother's boyfriend left them stranded in San Miguel with no money, no Spanish and no home to return to. A nice older gentleman from Texas, a horseman, a Baptist and conservative expatriate, learned of their plight and loaned her two hundred dollars. Soon after, in a very drunken state, he politely asked her if she would sleep with him. She agreed. The Nice Gentleman slipped another hundred in her purse the next morning.
"Becky and her Mom now have a quaint little apartment on calle Montes de Oca. They live quite comfortably running an impromptu Internet cafe and hair salon. Becky's Mom had been a beautician back in Ohio. The Wolf Lady is especially fond of Becky; her mother, not so much. The Nice Gentleman will show up late to the party as usual. The Wolf Lady is not completely at peace with him. They too have shared intimacies. His wife died in childbirth at the age of forty-four. The Nice Gentleman did not approve of birth control or abortion. He loved his wife deeply. His daughters blame him and throw his many letters in the trash. Becky likes to sit next to him and listen to his rodeo and 'Mash'-like Vietnam War stories. He can be a very funny man. Gustavo, the murderer, cannot fully forgive him.
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