Sunday, October 4, 2009

Rumble in the Campo

The big fiestas are held in what is called a poli, an auditorium that is strung with lengths of fabric to make it look festive. It's too big and grey and concrete, and the fiestas always look too empty. But there's nothing better to do, so people go, drink and, every time, they say, fight.

This weekend was the Fiesta Patronal, and on the radio I heard the DJ invite everyone to the fiesta and say, "And please, let's have a chill party to celebrate the Virgin. No fighting please."

Oscar's friends have a history of fighting. It makes me think of the '50s, when no one thought anything of letting two boys go outside and have it out. Oscar never gets in it, according to his mom, unless one of his friends is getting beat up. He can't just sit there and watch, he says.

Last night it started early. I heard one of my guy friends yell in some kids' face. And even that, I was like, whoa. I know, I'm so sheltered. I've barely seen a handful of schoolyard fights. As the other kid walked away, another friend smacked him up side the head. Whoa.

Then the police, who were there anyway, came to take one of my friends outside because someone had said he had a gun. Of course the whole group goes outside, everyone's yelling. I have my arms around Oscar, in pain thinking about what it would feel like to see him punched. His mom was hitting and tugging at my arm, saying, "Don't you let him fight!" She can't afford the stitches.

We all go back in. My accused friend is fuming with his back against the wall. His girlfriend is crying. His brother is spit-spew yelling at another friend about the situation.

We all try to dance. Luckily Oscar is physically and mentally more with me than them, and we have a good time. At 4, I'm tired, and beg to go home.

At five there's a knock at my window. It's another friend. He's running from the cops.

The next morning I got the full story during the morning t-ray. Apparently, these other guys from "el otro lado" (outside Yataity) had been sending my friend's sister messages all night, inviting my friends to the plaza after the party to fight. Like I said, the '50s.

And they went, so it's their fault. As they approached, rocks start hailing down on them. Big rocks that these other guys had been collecting with the purpose of raining them upon my friends. Unfortunately, they soon ran out of rocks, said my friend with his goofy laugh the next morning. Looking a the big smile of the guy I knew to be a sweetheart, I could hardly imagine what he was telling me they did next. "Les matamos," he said. (Figuratively: We killed 'em.)

He had just one scratch on him. His brother nothing. Our other friend, who's a total goof but has the misfortune of a drinking streak that gets him in trouble, was not so lucky. His wounds from his last fight were just starting to heal, but this time someone caught him across the back a few times with a piece of bamboo. He ended up in the hospital with five stitches in his head.

But the euphemisms flowed at t-ray time, the laughs. They had pants one guy and beaten his bare butt with a stick.

It was all anyone talked about all day long. Vannessa had slept over with their younger sister that night and saw their parents furious reaction in the morning. They're good people who don't understand why their boys can't leave the house without fighting. Later, drinking more terere with the women of the house next door, we all wondered what the hell it was all for.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Your blog is great, katu che ojapo ahechagau'uetereive Paraguay tanto que che rasy! At this juncture, ndacheimportai ndarekoine health insurance and all that other stuff, solo aimesejey Paraguaype! PS- I'm reading the Eckhart Tolle book "The Power of Now"-- I couldn't find the title u suggested at the library but I really like this one I'm reading. How is O town? I miss H town like WHOA!