Wednesday, September 23, 2015

XXXVIII. Una Muerte No Natural

An Unnatural Death

R.I.P. Pepe Farias
Near where we live a fellow was killed just after noon yesterday. He opened his door and was shot four times. I heard the shots and passed them off as fireworks, I guess—didn’t believe them for what they were. It’s a dramatic event when someone is murdered, but I went by the house today, on my way home from the store, and nothing marked the spot where I had seen his covered body lay the day before*. A guy was working on his car’s transmission not twenty feet away.

The paper and webboards said Pepe had been playing fast and loose, selling drugs to ex-pats for one thing. People seem to reckon that was why he was targeted for elimination. That makes those of us who don’t do "bad" things feel relieved—stay out of trouble and you won’t be hurt, at least in this way. Some might call it a rough justice, but isn't there almost always a better option than killing?

Pepe was also a musician, a local character, and we’d heard him singing at the bar on the corner. He liked doing covers of 70’s  hits—"Born To Be Wild" was one of his favorites, and "Hotel California". So, he had good taste in music. The Bar El Camaleon was closed last night. I didn’t see any sign on the door this morning, but I like to think it was in memoriam for him. 

As I finish writing this I hear the bells of the church in our little town tolling the death knell. Those sad, slow bells—they say best what I feel.

UPDATE: I spoke to a friend of mine yesterday who lives on the corner across from Pepe's block. He told me police had already arrested a suspect who turns out to be Pepe's alleged supplier. Rumor is Pepe shorted him on a deal...Police reportedly found a pack of crystal meth in his pocket at the time of his death.

*On the sidewalk in front of the house there's now a table with a shrine in remembrance of Pepe. A half dozen chairs are at the side of the street facing the shrine. Walking by recently, I saw a woman leading a prayer for 5 or 6 mourners.

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