Author: Guede Mazaka
TABLEAU: Two men, face-to-face, guns kissing each other's cheeks. El is on the right. Sands is on the left.
And both guns have bullets left, but El's quicker on the duck and he's the one staggering out. He gets healed-sort of, because now he's not only crippled, but he ain't exactly pretty anymore, except that means less than nothing because he can still kill and that's what matters. So they say, those that watch his fingers cradle steel barrel and varnished wood, but he looks in the mirror and he sees cracked reflection in smooth glass, and he remembers the man who he thinks he should have buried, at least, and the scar catches on his razor and his blood is so red and so lifeless all at once.
And now Sands has three-three, fucking trinity, count 'em till the crosses fall and Jesus eats the same shit as his fellow men do-holes in his head, and doesn't that just bite. Doesn't make him feel any better to kick and spit on the grave, yes, grave, because apparently these bean-shitting fucks just don't get it. Hero died. Hero proved fallible. But they still think he's worth…and that's where Sands feels the thoughts start to leak out of his drain-cover skull. Because goddamn it, El, legends aren't supposed to die. Aren't. Sands is alive, and damn well not a myth, and alone and fuck fuck Fuck.
And sometimes there's a flicker of memory- a melody, a drunk suddenly dropping to his knees before the poor scramble-minded beggar and sobbing like a baby, a gunshot ripping the air-but it always passes. Everything passes, every day and there's another beggar over there that should be known- but isn't. Can't really talk, can't move his arms and legs right, can't see and that's the only thing less but neither of them know because they're just not there. Nothing left from the bullets' ravaging to tell them when they're going by each other, two shit-scabbed unfortunates passing on the street. And no, there's no ships involved, none of any kind. The only ship in Mexico that was worth noticing was the one that brought over Cortés, the first white lie ever in Mexico. And he stole the gold, and now this pair of scrounging idiots want some back. One of them's not Mexican-look closer. Line of the conquistador, in spirit if not in blood.
And there's bullets, and there's two killers finally coming together, matched up as they should be, even ground and no referees and it's twin fires and pair o' snake eyes rattling to the floor in ruby crimson whatever the fuck hue you like. Makes no difference, because it all dries black in the end.
And there's no bullets, and El thinks that he's done this before, that this-this stupidity is completely a repeat of some sad twisted-raw episode of his absolutely fucked life. God, he's talking like Sands, but that's no surprise considering that El's never stopped for too long, never talked for too long and never remembered for too long because the horizon was always there, and so he can count the number of people that he knows, really knows, on the fingers of his hands. Which are catching that grab and missing the knee to the belly, and the fight just goes on, never ever ends he knows.
And Sands wonders what the fuck, but they're already against the wall-no, that's El against the wall, thank you they didn't scoop out my balls along with my eyes-and it's grab wrestle bite. Taste sweat, taste blood, and don't think about whose it is because there's hands raking down belly and back and twisting but no, El, you're not getting away. You're getting fucked. And Sands does, rips right into Myth Man with only some oil that El managed to stuff in and Sands allowed that because it meant nails on his prick and fingers and Jesus' shit, who taught this man how to fuck? But that's the thing, Sands realizes: it's Mexico, lying down and whoring till the cows get barbequed, Texas-style, and taking it with a snarl and a moan, but she's not really-she's just letting America think he's won the war while she gnaws out his strength and replaces it with jangling white powder, and El is Mexico, is chewing on Sands' lip and squeezing Sands' cock like the tightest, hardest, roughest fuck ever but it's no victory. Not in the slightest, goddamn it.
And it's Sands under El, Sands angry and spitting and clawing chunks from El's back, and it's the most glorious thing El's ever seen. Domino was sweetness, Carolina was completion, and Sands is just raw ruining destruction, killing El even as teeth in throat bring the blood rushing to the surface, rushing out of torn skin and into too-gentle curling tongue like Sands is nursing, taking in all that El's earned so painfully and also all that El never wanted-death and despair and delirium in the dark, in the shadowed non-sanctuary of God, in the middle of the dance of guns and knives and whatever else that El's hands could use to tear and wreck and shatter, like they're doing now when they scratch red into Sands' skin, when they hold down the howl-made-flesh and force it to take El's vengeance in a way he swore he'd never-but it's sin, and he's a sinner, and damn it, he's more comfortable with that, with this suicide-by-Sands, with this falling and falling and falling because if he ever touches ground again, it'll be because the shovel's throwing dirt in his dead rotting face.
And it's this and this and this and this and damn it, there's no numbers. There's no scale, no balance, no scoreboard. Five? Fuck five. Five dids or five did nots don't even begin to describe this. You take a handful and you miss the avalanche. You shine the sun on the ball of mirror shards, you count the countless motes of borrowed reflected secondhand light on the walls and you still haven't got it. Because there are no walls. There's nothing ahead, nothing, nothing-
But there's something at the beginning, and backtrack through
the spiral of madness and genius and
then you find the