. . . but they have no interest in real combat, when the great masters struggle against that something, that something that terrifies us all, that something that cows us and spurs us on, amid blood and mortal wounds and stench.

26 March 2010

The Conversation

At page 491 José Márquez describes a mysterious conversation to Juan de Dios Martínez, a conversation among other policemen from which Márquez was excluded. Those in on that conversation were Pedro Negrete, Inspector Ortiz Rebolledo, Inspector Ángel Fernández, and Epifanio Galindo, a motley crew indeed.

Per the snatch of the conversation that Márquez heard before being waved away, the participants were upset about Karl Haas's press conference. One can only conclude they are upset because Haas has been given a forum to protest his innocence. They see the hand of Enriquito Hernández, a narco, in this.

We are then given some history regarding Enriquito and are then left wondering along with Juan de Dios Martínez why Enriquito is "protecting" Karl Haas. Page 493.

25 March 2010

Another Visit to El Chile

In October no dead women turned up in Santa Teresa, in the city or the desert, and work to get rid of the illegal dump El Chile was permanently halted. A reporter for La Tribuna de Santa Teresa who was covering the relocation or demolition of the dump said he'd never seen so much chaos in his life. Asked whether the chaos was caused by the city workers involved in the futile effort, he answered that it wasn't, it came from the inertia of the festering place itself.

Page 473.

El Chile is not the only place festering in inertia.

24 March 2010

Working Girls

. . .and as he was talking the whore yawned, not because she wasn't interested in what he was saying but because she was tired, which irritated Sergio and made him say, in exasperation, that in Santa Teresa they were killing whores, so why not show a little professional solidarity, to which the whore replied that he was wrong, in the story as he had told it the women dying were factory workers, not whores. Workers, workers, she said. And then Sergio apologized, and, as if a lightbulb had gone on over his head, he glimpsed an aspect of the situation that until now he'd overlooked.

Page 466.

It would be nice if Sergio were to share the insight. We must noodle it out for ourselves. I would not trust Sergio's insights anyway.

Therein lies the problem. Sergio's insight may simply be that the victims are predominately factory workers and not prostitutes. The guy is not a helluva lot of use to us, the readers.

Elvira Campos

Sometimes Elvira Campos thought it would be best to leave Mexico. Or kill herself before she turned fifty-five. Maybe fifty-six?

Page 513.

Interesting. I don't want to leave Mexico either. But in my case it is not quite this serious a matter. Killing one's self in late childhood? She should up that to age seventy-five at least.

It is also interesting that we are offered this angst with nary a hint as to what lies behind it.

Harry Magaña

vigilante: a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate); broadly: a self-appointed doer of justice.

Harry Magaña is clearly a vigilante in the broad sense of the word. His role raises interesting questions about the complete breakdown of the state apparatus for dispensing justice as portrayed in the novel. We grant a monopoly on violence to the state in connection with the social contract on the presumption that the state will effectively employ that violence to provide security for the citizens. Bad cops, for example, constitute a breach of this social contract. In Santa Teresa we witness a breakdown of the entire social contract. It should therefore be no surprise that vigilantism then comes into play to fill the breach.

We need to discuss this more, but in the meantime the observations in Daryl's entry at Infinite Zombies entitled “One More Po” and the comments appended make interesting reading. I continue to ponder that entry and those comments.