Sunday, July 5, 2015

the last book I ever read (The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa, excerpt one)

from The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa:

They’d attended the best school in Lima, had private tutors for the course in which they were weak, gone to summer school in the United States and England. They learned English but spoke an illiterate Spanish full of the awful slang and dropped endings of Lima’s young people, hadn’t read a book or even a newspaper in their entire lives, probably didn’t know the capital of half the countries in Latin America, and neither one had been able to pass even the first year at the university. They’d made their debut as villains while still adolescents, raping a girl they picked up at a run-of-the-mill party in Pucusana. Floralisa Roca, that was her name, a name right out of a novel of chivalry. Slim, rather pretty, with terrified, tear-filled eyes, her thin body trembling with fear. Rigoberto remembered her clearly. She was on his conscience, and he still felt remorse for the ugly role he’d had to play in the matter. The whole imbroglio came back to him: lawyers, doctors, police reports, desperate measures to keep the names of the twins out of the articles about the incident in La Prensa and El Comercio. He’d had to speak to the girl’s parents, an Ican couple already along in years, and it cost close to $50,000, a fortune at the time, to placate and silence them. He remembered very clearly the conversation he had one day with Ismael. His boss pressed his hands to his head, held back his tears while his voice broke: “How have we failed, Rigoberto? What did Clotilde and I do to have God punish us like this? How can we have these thugs for sons! They’re not even sorry for the outrage they committed. Can you imagine? They blame the poor girl. They not only raped her, they hit and abused her.” “Thugs,” that was the word exactly. Perhaps Clotilde and Ismael had spoiled them too much, perhaps they hadn’t been strict enough. They shouldn’t have always excused their escapades, not so quickly, at any rate. The twins’ escapades! Car crashes caused by driving drunk and drugged, debts incurred using their father’s name, forged receipts at the office when Ismael had the bad idea of placing them in the company to toughen them up. They’d been a nightmare for Rigoberto. He had to go in person to inform his boss about the brothers’ exploits. They even emptied the petty cash box in his office. That was the last straw, fortunately. Ismael let them go, preferring to give them an allowance to finance the idleness. Their record was endless. For example, they enrolled at Boston University and their parents were ecstatic. Months later, Ismael discovered they’d never set foot in BU, had pocketed their tuition and allowance, and forged their grades and attendance reports. One of them—Miki or Escobita?—ran over a pedestrian in Miami and was a fugitive because he fled to Lima while out on bail. If he ever returned to the United States, he’d go to prison.

No comments:

Post a Comment