The El Ropo Report #1; San Marcos de Colon, Choluteca Honduras 4/11/2008; 10:30 p.m.
by Blanco Hombrez
Tonight I repair myself back to my room and the dust has settled in the sleepy town of San Marcos de Marquena and my VIP $9.00 dollar a night hotel suite at Hotel Shalom, which rests atop the town of 7,000 +. It is Friday night and the bastard dogs of the town wail, looking for some relief from the piercing afternoon beating cobblestone sun. They wail, fight and screw as the evening tips its hat at 16 year old corner-street girls checking their cells for texts or emails from boys who will never appear as they are drunkenly elsewhere with their hombres drinking on alternate corner streets talking Honduras trash; hopelessly sped up and yet frozen in the past of chivalry. The town, wonderfully detached from the real crimes and abuse of other cities such as Tegucigalpa, conceals its true charm from the impending doom of Central American misery spreading from urban to rural enclaves. Trash is always a sign and testament to where the populations move and San Marcos de Colon is pristinely outside the bounds for now-this is one of the last gems where the women look you straight in the eye with little fear and consummate amounts of wistful wonder and the men, with their tilted cowboys hats set back and their wrangler button up shirts broken down to half way to their sunned bellies. A promise is indeed a promise here; by word and eye. Here the talk is of mules crossed with Kentucky horses, bulls, summer festivals and rating the beers of Latin America (though almost all are made by one company) and the teams of soccer and who kicked who’s ass in the last barroom brawl.
Here: my job is coffee and to find out who is who in this town of old vs. new, cattle and sugar cane. I am the rat bastard fool, the gringo, the man who pays the bills. I can never tell, with my horrible Spanish, if I am THE MAN or the donkey’s ass. We drink beers over lunch, I navigate the Spanish I know and then watch all the men in their blank stares and slow conversations, never knowing if they want to cut my throat or shake my hand in gratitude. I like it this way- not knowing, the indecision, the lack of seeing the score. I will never be one of them and it is clear from the handshake, the pauses of conversation and the endless suggestions of my potential lack of machismo. I will never be as tough as them, I will never endure their struggles, illnesses or emotional droughts-they know it in the look in my eye and I know it the wave of hello and goodbye as they get back on their horses, their 4x4s and off road dirtbikes. It is the old world meeting and kind of spanking the shit out of the fucked-up new.
The next morning, Saturday, the evangelicals roll through the town, blaring their bullshit speakers of hope, like ravenous hyenas spreading the message of new blood to draw upon in their sickening and hovering style. They prey on the desperate, the down trodden. It is not even lunch yet and I want a drink, I want to forget the fact this won’t end or change or “improve”. I am here to do the job, make the deal, paint the smile on the broken face. We will…and do…but there is a greater task…a much larger dance that is beyond my doing. I want to shake it into perfection and victory, but there is the clear window of what is, the dogs showing their ribs to chance, the children not getting what is theirs to have, the parties for yesterday supersede that of what should be of tomorrow. It is a dirty mixture, a bitter cup and I am only one figure propelling myself into the miasma of chance. The challenge of seeing and feeling, yet holding back the thought, the chance of washing it clean. Impossibly wrecked and waiting for the next round of Imperial to land at my table.