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Mole's Pity

Mole's Pity
by Harold Jaffe

Price: $10.95


Farther east begins the familiar grief.  Walking up 4th Street into the Lower East Side.  Shards of history pricking the devastation.  The old Jews gone.  Or going.  Uprooted Puerto-Ricans in their dolorous tenement flats, or leaning over fire-escapes seeking out sun.  Not finding it.  Nor finding the thread (or chain) yoking them to their Jewish near-gone brother.  A different kind of sun, though it give a similar light.  Mole's love would be to join light to.... light:

Mole turns left through a fringe of Chinatown, as there are Chinese "towns" throughout the world.  Secretive like the Jews, they work, work against the great void in their chest--which is the vast country they've gone from.  Not, finally, much different from the desert of the Jews, nor from the Puerto-Ricans' island sun.  Nor from the sign of the heart between the eyes:  the black American's Africa.


Some blind force has put an end to the life of F. Patrician Dix, President-elect...

LEAP YEAR: As always. Wrapped in the earth that is himself, Mole on his roof touches Dix with his eyes. Which cannot "see."

Dix makes his way to the dais. Takes the steps slowly. Grinning, but eyes unstill.

Lights, cameras, microphones, citizens poised:

The dais mounted on an uranium platform beneath me.

When it became clear Mole was to kill him, I was compelled to stalk him, to familiarize myself with his habits so as to assure access to fat flinty heart.

Acceding to the counsel of the Republican kaisers, that he "promote" his recently acquired image as a virulent anti-Communist, the senior Senator from New York contrived a ten-day visit to the sub-continent so that he could shake hands with junta leaders in Chile and Brazil, and encourage the rightists who were making their move in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.  Dix, you see, was mistakenly considered an expert on Latin America because of his family's extensive bauxite holdings in Chile, in which country he once stumbled through an "address" in something roughly approximating the native language.

In the meantime Mole adjusted his mask, procured tourist cards, and booked his flight to Guatemala three days before Dix's own DC 8 was due to lift off.

Once in Guatemala City I took a room on the top floor of the Todos Santos, a smalll hotel on the main drag of Zona 1, close both to the Presidential Palace and to the Pan American Hilton, where Dix and his entourage had engaged two floors.

I observed that the local, government-influenced newspapers devoted substantial space to Dix's impending arrival, alluding to him as the "Presidente futuro de los E.U." In the city itself I counted eleven "Bienvenido Senador Dix" signs, the largest of which was plastered on the top of the arcade leading to the Presidential Palace.

Mole occupied his time by walking through the city (noisy, polluted, virtually without architectural interest, having been entirely rebuilt after the 1917 earthquake)-- Election Day. Not once questioning why it was Mole who was elected to do it.

On the morning of the evening on which Dix was due, an awkward thing happened:  Mole had gone to see Peter O'Toole as Jesus in "The Ruling Class."  Not until afterwards, when I got back to my room, did I become aware of not having my eyeglasses. Thinking I left them in the theatre, I hurried back there, located my seat, but even with the aid of the usher's torch, was not able to find them.  Not good! They were the only pair I had brought, and nearsighted as I was it would be damned hard to see Dix.  Nor would there be time to make up another pair since the swine was moving on to El Salvador the next morning.  I would have to do the best I could.