Banana Yellow in a museum…

At times Breen stayed awake for eight days on end on the mountaintops, giving the mosquitos something good to drink, risking snakebite, just to be able to eat a shred of meat.  One dreamed of meat; it filled every corner of his mind.

“Now there’s meat for tomorrow,” Breen came back triumphal, loudly greeting people in the camps, so they would come out and see the deer hanging over his back. His smile shone whitely.

He arrived at the ranch kitchen and an old man carved up the venison on a board while the big black woman lit it up with the kerosene lamp turned all the way up.

“It’s fat,” said the man showing his teeth with joy, and patted the brown belly of the limp animal. Afterward he gave Joe a piece.

In spite of the watchfulness of Martin and the servant, we made of with 18 sticks of dynamite. Joe found a food way to fool them. Some shots they left with the wick barely connected to the tube. The stream of sparks would not reach the tube and did not detonate. We would go by later, all desperate, confirming before the watchful gaze and eyes of Martin Ferrer that had cebado the fulminantes. We could then hurl them scornfully to the mountain. When Martin and his people were looking the other way, we picked them up and threw them in our bags.

With the candelas the thing was more dangerous, we had to blow up the trees that made up part of the aterro. Joe was able to pick up thirty sticks in a roll that was well tied and one of them prepared with the wick twice as long as it should be. After fitting them well between the rabages of the trunk, lit the fuse, shouting:

“Fiiiiiire! The fuse is short on this one.”

Hipolito and Cabrera ran making gulps of air and stubbing their clumsy shoes in the mud. Everybody faked being frightened to death. Martin Ferrer like there was lit fire on his ass, ripping up the canillas, and throwing himself into the gorge. The corvetas of Arias was not far behind. The point of this is I ran as quick as my feet could carry me and slipped two or three dynamite sticks, and I stuck them faster than you could say help, inside my undershirt. It two shakes of a lamb’s tail I installed myself behind some rocks. I hadn’t gotten into a crouch, when the gunpowder blew.


It occurred to me that they had to start with the house chancho, spoke Cabrera after throwing his hat to the floor. She looks tore from the floor, plenty rough but cute to his way of thinking.

“Next Monday we have to bring supplies, I won’t go with you. I kept hearing the tolling of the bells after the explosion and the barking of a dog, due to the closeness of the blast. From the sky rained down a hail of splinters. It was a sound that turn blood into ice water.

“Why doesn’t this guy put a longer fuse on the dynamite,” said one guy, licking where his forearm got scratched when his slid behind a razor rock. Heraclito, laughing, winked at me. This guy Cabrera came running frightened to see if we were dead.

“We’re alive. But how do you know we’re alive. Do we sleep or do we dream?”

Dionisio winked. Ortegón came frightened to see we were still in one piece. In one of these untrammeled races his shoe slipped off and he stepped on a rock. His leg swelled up to the size of a cantaloupe and his foot was sore for three days. He was young. He still healed fast like a young man. The good thing that came out of this was dynamite they had to get fish for days to come. Tender succulent fish, meat, we live for like the dog lives for a pat, a smile, a praise word from its owner.

Lujan grunted with satisfaction at the work done. The mountain of airborne smithereens calmed down gradually. The men kept sweating in the humid littoral , trudging in the hot mud up to their thighs.  Part of the railway the ties were tossed like matchsticks and the railroad tracks were a twin twisted serpent.

Breen the black washed his clothes on Sundays (there were never enough Sundays, and some Sundays claimed their victim hanging from the ceiba tree). Naked in the lagoon, each by a smooth flat rock, they commenced the tiresome work which has its redemption afterward. Suarez, with the hopes of whitening that mocha skin, soaped his body up from head to toenail. At time, he seemed a mountain of whipped cream with two holes for eyes, a snowman, then the hot bank of sunlight came in in dried up the waves of soap and it must have left an unbearable stickiness. Cabrera who had been the psychologist wondered at what point in a child’s development is their repulsion at stickiness, how could anybody stand that sticky feeling? He just glared with moon eyes to stretch the dry soapy skin and I kept kneading the threadbare clothes that would later be stretched out to dry over the rocks on the shore. He mocked me.

To be continued…

Grady is the Wizard of Fiction

Previous articleDrug Crisis Explodes On “Days Of Our Lives!”
Next article49ers and Lions To Meet For NFC Championship
Hollywood humorist Grady grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon) and its follow-up, Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood. ( His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (