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Cock-Fight

The gathering of forty or so huddled on stools of their own making or stood around the oblong fenced arena not much larger than a small living room. Focused over the eighteen inch high wall of the enclosure in which two tall monarchical, but haughty, yet beautifully colored roosters were circling each other. Their magnificent capons held high, their beaks crowing blasphemies at each other. Each warily approached the other, their yellow feet stepping high. The tension in the crowd drew cheers and hisses. They called for blood.
The sparring was becoming tedious. Attendees were snapping open cans of beer, or, popping the caps off of bottles of beer with their thumbs. As they witnessed each bloodless lunge, they quaffed at their beer. Some shook their heads, shouting that they wanted their wagers back. They yelled that this was not a match of roosters, but of hens who had hopped out of the pot. The bets were not huge by any man’s standards, nor would the winnings bring a tumultuous future to anyone. The importance was the satisfaction the results would bring to all as the match culminated in the death of as few as six roosters, and, as many as thirty six that evening.
The gleam of the silver spurs attached to their legs flashed glints of light about hall. Neither bird had as yet relied upon them. Both entrants were novices. Neither had been in the ring. Subsequent challengers would include the experienced. Both birds regard the slender, sharp tongs as being dead weight. Both had worn them before, in their corralled spaces on their Rooster Ranches. But neither had connected to them as a means of offence or defence. This was the first round of the evening, the warm up to the more intense match of previous winners.
The two owners sat at either end but inside the arena. They were becoming agitated both with the crowd’s reaction, and, the seeming orchestrated dance of their birds. Their birds did not seem interested in engaging in the duel. The foreheads of the two owners revealed a sheen of sweat. Novices. The first to learn of the usefulness of the silver spurs would most likely be the winner – to go on to meet the challenge of up to five other roosters.
The crowd grew silent and restless. Their attention drawn more to their neighbour than to the action in the ring. Some of the crowd attempted to cheer, raising a hand clutching a can or bottle of beer. Shouting some obscenity or possibly an encouragement. The two cocks hopped around, now thrusting and jumping aside, with wings flapping an occasional boast or a means of preventing a fall. Beneath the dull hooded lamplight, they were beautiful, both birds coloration was an amazing pleasure to the eye, showing a silvery mauve to green sheen, topped with a flaming red upper tail, and, capons of royal origins. But a fight, this was not.
Of a sudden, Caliente’s bird rushed into a serious stab, striking just below the eye of Fue Fuego’s bird. A droplet of deep red wept out. The failure to blind the bird could cost Caliente’s bird a win. The crowd’s attention returned to the ring. Beer sloshed on neighbour’s hands, as the crowd jeered and cheered. Beads of sweat formed on Caliente’s brow. He vociferously urged his ‘Prince’ to use the spur to claw a piece out of the other. His heart thumped in his chest as the birds returned to parrying with one another, looking for an ‘opening’. Both birds were still ‘peckers’.
Each bird found himself alone, one on each side of the ring. Caliente’s rooster stretched his neck in readiness for a good crow. Fuego’s bird charged the other, wings flapping, grabbing the Caliente bird by the neck with both of his claws. With a force never seen before, the Caliente bird’s neck was snapped back beyond normal. Caliente’s bird slowly shuttered its eyes as its body draped to the dusty floor, limp.
What had begun as a cheer, ended in absolute silence. The gathering waited, anticipating the Caliente bird to rise and retaliate. The bird’s involuntary popping off of the dusty ground was limp and lacked power. The silence persisted momentarily, then an eruption of nausea and vomiting gripped various attendees. Others fought the inclination with hand-covered mouths. Caliente’s owner picked up his empty cage and followed the members out into the night air. The bet-master walked across the arena to Fue’s end. Fuego was encouraging his ‘Prince’ to enter the cage. The bet-master handed all of the bets for and against his bird to him.

-}{-

Fue Fuego is a mechanic. Fue does not show his age. He does show a tattooed, but well muscled arm, a six pack of notability, and, dominates every environment he is found in. His wife, after bearing him three children, still bears a figure of an eighteen year old. His father-in-law appears a quiet but dictatorial type who had been in the car reparation business for nigh forty years.
His rooster ranch is in his workplace. It is difficult to call it a garage. Its almost trapezoidal four walls all belong to the neighbours. In a corner, partially sheltered from the midday sun, he maintains from ten to thirty roosters at any given time. Several times a day he walks away from the automobiles he is repairing, to his ranch, feeding his princes lettuce, good grains, clean sand, egg shells. He talks to them. He loves them carefully, knowing that someday their lives will end abruptly, and, he will be the cause. He appreciates their physique, their luster, their color, their clear clarion crow, their apogee of self-indulgence and importance. As well as he can he banishes the thought of their ultimate moments when they cross over.
Here, in the shade of the tin roof, a well kept cage encloses the beautiful bird that is now referred to as “mont de rey” [hill of the king]. The notoriety of the one fight creating a fearful legend which purchased his retirement into rooster old age.

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