El Agente Provocativo
Isabella Seguendo, Vieques, Isla Nena
"A couple of the guys from the office were telling me the other day about the time they spent in Saudi Arabia. After a few long days at the office, they'd take a mid-day break and pay a vist to Chop-Chop Park, just to relieve the tension." says Alec.
We're sitting at dinner in 'Mucho Gusto', one of Isabella Segundo's new resturants. It's also the only place open for dinner this evening.
"Chop-Chop Park?" I ask.
"That's what they call it. It's a public square where instant justice is delivered three days a week. Thieves and other criminals are brought before a tribunal. If the thief is judged guilty, then right there, with the public cheering, the executioner carries out the punishment. Small-time theft. Chop. One hand severed. More serious theft. Chop-chop. Both hands are cut off at the wrists."
"What about really serious crimes, like rape or murder?", I asked. "Simple," he says, "then they just chop off the criminal's head. One swipe of the sabre. CHOP! Justice is served. Actually, that's what draws most of the crowd, including my friends, to the park; the anticipation of seeing one of those bastards lose their heads."
Alec is the father of Beatrice (aka Bertie) who Lydia be-friended yesterday, at the beach. They're staying in the little cabin behind Olga's resturant and plan to be here until this weekend. Bertie's mother, Louise is from Lebanon. Alec grew up in Massachusetts. Alec and Louise met in Beruit during his tour investigating the bombing that destroyed the US Marine barracks there, around twelve years ago.
Alec works for the State Department in the Bureau of Embassy Security. Bertie wears t-shirts with the State Department logo on the front. Alec's shirt says: FBI Training Camp, above the pocket. Alec has a look and demeanor that reminds us of Fred Flinstone. Louise seems exactly like Fellini's wife in 'La Strada'. Their daughter, Bertie, was adopted while Alec was working for the foreign office in Santiago, Chile, 10 years ago. She's very sweet and inquisitive.
Alec says, "What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?" "What?", we ask. "Nothing. You already told her twice!" he replies. "Ouch..." I wince.
Bertie says, "I've got a joke for you. A man goes to the doctor, limping because of a hurt foot. The doctor examines him and says, 'I'm going to have to operate.' The doctor puts the man under and performs the surgery. When the man wakes up, the doctors says, 'I've got bad news and good news. The bad news is that we had to cut off your foot and we amputated the wrong foot! The good news is that, with luck, we can save your other foot!'"
Lydia pipes up, "I've got one! Why did the man cross the road?" "Why?", we ask. "Actually, it's irrelevant." she answers, "He should never have left the kitchen in the first place.""How about coffee and flan, for dessert?" I ask.
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