Nobody's creekbed

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The Anterior Insula and Hwy W

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"I don't have time to read the bullshit intellectuals write. All those poems and novels [...] I don't have time for that, or for seeing movies, or listening to music, or going to the ballet or to the cockfights. And I've never trusted artists. They're spineless and have no sense of honor, they tend to be traitors or are very servile [...] But there's one exception. A speech you gave seven years ago. At the Fine Arts, when you were inducted into the Academy of the Language. Do you remember it?"

The little man had turned even brighter red. He radiated an exalted light of indescribable joy:

" 'God and Trujillo: A Realistic Interpretation,' " he murmured, lowering his lids.

"I've read it many times," said the high-pitched, mellifluous voice of the Benefactor. "I know whole paragraphs by heart, like poems [...] 'A bold, energetic will that supports, in the march of the Republic toward the fulfillment of its destiny, the protective benevolence of supernatural forces,' " Trujillo recounted with half-closed eyes. " 'God and Trujillo: here, in synthesis, is the explanation, first of the survival of the nation, and second, of the present-day flourishing of Dominican life.' "

He opened his eyes and gave a melancholy sigh. Balaguer, made even smaller by the gratitude, listened in rapture.

"Do you still believe that God passed the baton to me? That He delegated to me the responsibility of saving this country?" he asked with an indefinable mixture of irony and interest.

"More than I did then, Excellency," replied the delicate, clear voice. "Trujillo could not have carried out this superhuman mission without transcendental help. You have been, for this nation, an instrument of the Supreme Being."

"Too bad those asshole bishops haven't heard the news," Trujillo said with a smile. "If your theory is true, I hope God makes them pay for their blindness."

--Excerpted from The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman