Part one appeared in Agitadoras Marzo
After Montse had calmed down from the insinuation her own daughter would be made complicit in the crime her two guests were planning to perpetrate on her, she was looking into the barrel of a small handgun, pointed at her by S. Tie her to a chair, S ordered M, who was leaning backwards in his chair as if he wasn't at all interested any longer. Do it, S snapped. She measured her partner with disgust: you should perhaps have taken a little less from that dangerously embezzling liquid they serve here for wine. How was I to know it would be such a skull breaker, M defended himself while letting go of the bottle. With a loud moan he rose from his chair. If you would please sit down, ma'am, he quite effortlessly resumed his posture, I will tie you up with my belt, which is the most comfortable in these circumstances. Montse felt she had no choice but to obey, as the gun was still pointing rather straight at her heart. So she ended up as decreed and that's when the party started.
I'm afraid we're now really going to need to hurt you, S said, sounding human when her message was the harshest, like it was all so hollywoodesque. Montse didn't dare say anything at this moment, just hoping for the punishment, or whatever it was they had in mind, to be withstandable. If there´s an opening, an escape in any shape, you go for it, otherwise keep low, that seemed good advice.
First up was a real scam trial, to her surprise. M accused her of loving her own people more than him and S, and others like them. This was not allowed under the new law which favoured the centre in every aspect of life. Hadn't you heard of it, yet? You must love us. M asked permission to be quite firm with Montse, an expression which like the red pepper scale in an Indian restaurant didn't seem to completely cover what was actually on the menu, and S granted him full freedom of expression.
But I live here and you live there, in your centre, Montse couldn't suppress her unease, and we don't bother each other, do we? So why can't you leave me alone?
Because we must punish you. It's in the law, isn't it, S?
It is, since you have thought wrongly. You had the opportunity to have supportive thoughts, instead you chose to think wrongly. This is a pity and a shame for you.
Let's talk no further, exclaimed M, losing his concentration again, the time for measures is now.
It sure is, S agreed, but we must wait a wee bit longer for redemption to set in, it's in the contract.
So I get to say something, then? Montse quickly interrupted.
If you must, be my guest, please try to be funny.
She looked into that falsely bearded woman's burning eyes, only warm there, as if she needed to cool down to find human feelings, and took her chance. I must say I never was aware of doing anything wrong, she got out, I was just minding my own business, speaking to the folks next door, the local clientele. We don't know about empires, not anymore, and we certainly don't want to belong to any, as the saying goes here.
Enough, screamed M. How dare you say such filthy words? He took his napkin and slapped her in the face, not hard but painful. You must know who you belong to, it's in the law, isn't that so, S? It is. So you must belong, you cannot be nobody.
I ain't nobody, I'm Montse. I live here, I belong here.
You belong where we say, M shouted. He had completely recovered from his earlier faux pas. Say that you love us.
Say you love us.
He seemed totally honest and S beamed equally sincere thinking. Montse laughed: how can I say I love you when I hate you? You know, this isn't the first time, and I am sure you have heard about it. My grandmother was visited by your ilk and that didn't turn out too well for her, though my mother sort of recuperated what got lost. There were different times for a while, when we all got richer, you must remember them? They were very pleasant for our town.
I remember a horrific mass-extending moral ineptitude, S countered. People were screaming for punishment everywhere, but none would come from the empty heads in charge who thought they were doing the folks a favour by giving them welfare. So we had to come back and here we are, to beat you all into servitude, at your request.
But I don't want that at all, cried Montse, I want to be left in peace.
Peace, yelled M, what is peace in a world at war? With a twist of his finger he indicated he wouldn't mind having that previously mentioned Rioja uncorked. Peace is unthinkable, he concluded somewhat abruptly, therefore it doesn't exist. Punishment on the other hand is highly thinkable and will always happen.
Montse was starting to feel scared. So far she had been too surprised and angry to think of the consequences of whatever they were threatening her with, but now, tied to her chair, not painful but unable to escape without great effort, something the barrel of the gun wouldn't allow for, she realised she was powerless in the face of their mad reprehension. They carried a gun. Without it she might have attacked them in the end, certainly with the M character mostly out of it, just be quick about it, yet all this was empty rethoric in light of S' determination to actually use the thing, or so she read her blood lusting eyes. Montse thought of her daughter, who had been shopping in the city that day and was on her way back now. Why hadn't she called her from the kitchen? Montse smiles wrily. Because it didn't seem necessary as it was all so unbelievable, and now they're really going for it. What madness has possessed these people? What do they hope to gain from this? They were the best words Montse could think of and they were not going to save her, but at least it felt good to express them. M, she noticed, had dug up a rather nasty looking instrument which he was tossing in his hand, not sure if they were scissors or knives, careful not to let it drop. And then it struck her how she could use Clara's arrival to her advantage. Make it buy some time.
I was thinking, she began, maybe this is not the right time to have a torture session.
S smiled downwardly from her low position, M shouted, trying to be present once again: stop giving us your opinion on matters you have no influence on. We decide and we choose not to listen to you. He laughed.
Montse was not to be discouraged, as courage was the only thing she had left. You see, my daughter is on her way home, in fact she should be here any minute, and I don't feel a young woman would improve from being confronted with her mother in, shall we say, compromising circumstances. I'd rather leave her out of this.
S raised her hand before M could speak. And how would you organise that, she asked. Give her a call?
It was the only real option, apart from inviting her in. She would have to come up with an excuse to keep her away. She was going to send her for an errand to an acquaintance, and she must pick the right person to make her understand all was not well at home. So she decided on her late husband's cousin, who was known to be an established conspiracy theorist, and ask Clara to buy a copy of his latest home published book. That might raise an eyebrow or two.
Yes, I think I should give a her call, don't you? Before we start, I mean.
I'm in no particular hurry, said S. So make your little call, but don't talk about the wrong things.
As in mentioning us, yelled M.
She understands. Don't you, Montse?
End of part two