SERVANT OF THE SCORPION – Chapter 4, Running with the Bullshit
After we were all released we silently got on a big old US school bus, painted with the La Paloma Blanca Ministries logo and colorful child-like illustrations of Christ’s life. As I moved down the gauntlet of unforgiving glances there was no seat vacant for me. I passed Esmeralda who kept herself rigidly immersed in a book. The guard and I finally sat down in the very back.
I still couldn’t figure out that baggie of dope. If it wasn’t from Roberto, where did it come from? Who had access to that duffle bag besides me and Roberto? There was only one other person. Esmeralda? While I was asleep? No, no way in Hell. Who had been sitting behind us? I was so upset I just couldn’t think.
Because we were so late we had to drive all the way to Mudéjar at night. After an hour we entered the city of La Antigua.
The senior apprentice pastor Rita stood up in the front of the swaying bus.
“Everyone. We are passing through La Antigua at a very special time. It is Semana Santa. Starting on Palm Sunday there is a week-long re-enactment of Christ’s last days with processions of religious sculptures. On Good Friday the people cover the streets with a rainbow of flowers and fruits. They call those floral carpets alfombras.”
I thought sadly of what Esmeralda had already explained to me about holy Brotherhoods, Hermandads, who hold sacred vigils for their sculptures that are then carried through the city in a procession over those alfombras. I could barely see the top of Esmeralda’s head.
Rita continued, “And as a surprise La Paloma Blanca Ministries has been allowed to carry a sculpture in the procession. And you will all help with the sculpture and you will all participate.”
While everyone cheered several of the kids looked back at me shaking their heads.
“Fucking great,” I muttered.
The guard looked over at me and said, “Estás corriendo en la chingada.”
I was glad when we left La Antigua and headed up into the mountains on an unlit road.
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