Those From Below
“I’m telling you, it’s not an animal. Listen to how the pigeon barks. It should be something Christian…”
The woman focused her pupils on the darkness of the range.
“And are those police there?” suggested a man that, squatting, was eating in a corner, a cooking pot in one hand and three taco-shaped tortillas in the other.
The woman didn’t answer him; her senses were positioned outside of the hovel.
A noise of hoofs was heard on the rocky ground nearby, and the pigeon barked with even more fury.
“It would be good if you hide yourself just in case, Demetrio.”
The man, without getting flustered, finished eating; he lifted a jug by both hands and drank the water gushing out. He then put it at his feet.
“Your rifle is underneath the backpack,” she said in a low voice.
The little room was illuminated by a wick stuck in fat. A yoke, a plow, a cane and other farming tools rested in a corner. From the roof hung cords holding an old mold of adobes that served as a bed, and on top of blankets and faded rags slept a little boy.
Demetrio held onto the holster at his belt and lifted the firearm. Tall, robust, with a bright red face, without a beard, he was dressed in a shirt and pants made of muslin, a wide hat made of soybeans and huarache sandals.
He left step by step, disappearing into the impenetrable darkness of the night.
The pigeon, infuriated, had jumped the fence of the farmyard. Suddenly a shot was heard, the dog gave a muffled whimper and didn’t bark anymore.
Some men on horses arrived yelling and cursing. Two of them hopped off and the other stayed to take care of the beasts.
“Women, something for dinner! Eggs, milk, beans, whatever you have, we came starving of hunger.”
“Damned range! Only the devil would get lost!”
“They’re lost, my sergeant, if they came as drunk as you…”
One was wearing braids on his shoulders, the other red ribbons on his sleeves.
“Where are we, old hag? But with one! Is this house all there is?”
“And then, this light? And this kid? Hag, we want to eat and we want to eat soon! Are you going or do we have to make you go?”
“Evil men, you have killed my dog! What do I owe you, even if my poor Palomo eats you?”
The woman entered bringing the dog in with rakes, very white and very fat, with already glassed-over eyes and a loose body.
“Just look at his red cheeks, sergeant! My goodness, don’t get angry, I swear you’ll turn this house into a pigeon loft; but, by God!
Don’t look at me angrily…
No more strife…
Look at me caringly,
Light of my life,
She finished singing with a husky voice.
“Ma’am, what is this name of this little ranch?” asked the sergeant.
“Lemon,” answered the woman sullenly, already blowing the hot coals of the fireplace and bringing the firewood closer.
“So then here is Lemon? The land of the famous Demetrio Macías! Did you hear that, my lieutenant? We’re in Lemon.”
“In Lemon? Good, for me I couldn’t care less! You already know, sergeant, if I go to hell, no time is better than now… I’m going on the good horse. Just look at its dark cheeks! A Perón to bite it!”
“You have met this bandit, ma’am…I was together with…”