THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK EIGHT: THE SECOND of the BOOKS of CHANGE
CHAPTER FORTY NINE
But the footsteps of this unseen lord were still small and distant in that summer as the Mexicans deliberated the fate of their dubious prize. With the wire he had lain back to Peto, Colonel Plank hastily telegraphed to Alvarado his estimate of the cost to rebuild Santa Cruz del Bravo and protect it from the sublevados. A malicious rumor, one without provenance but useful as to estimating the size of this sum, holds that Alvarado, receiving this telegram, called to his aide for whiskey... causing a special delegation to be sent to Merida's cathedral.
Drunk or not, the Governor wired Plank: "Find one of the Maya Oficiales, sign over that odious city and return to Merida." And, this time, Plank was luckier, finding a man either ambitious or too addled by his advanced age... or by the beginnings of sickness... to understand the consequence of making his mark as the new Governor of Quintana Roo... Chief Poot.
"Will you, upon your honor, uphold a Prohibition of hurtful spirits and respect the integrity of women?" Plank asked, reading Alvarado's orders. "As representative of the territory, will you support the Constitution and recognize the authority of Don Venus Carranza, the First Chief, President of Mexico?"
"Of Mexico?" Poot asked. "Why not!"
The Mexicans, for all he cared, could name a horse their President and, considering what Poot had heard of those contending for the position, might do well by this.
"Will you operate the schools?"
"Yes," replied the jefe. If it took a small lie to be rid of these diseased Mexicans, so be it.
Plank now ordered a trunk set down before the sublevados. "It is gold," Silvestro hoped, "or, more likely, only some of those false, dzulob Bibles." The trunk was opened and the mazehualob beheld a dozen tapered, polished clubs and a like number of white spheres.
"Governor Alvarado, in his concern for the physical fitness of the territory, has decreed that the rules of baseball be taught and materials provided. You shall be instructed before we depart. Do you accept this condition?"
Chief Poot frowned and stared down at the trunk. He had heard sounds, footsteps, but there were no new arrivals. Every man stood silent, waiting.
"If the Governor pleases, I will be pleased to have my people learn this game of ball."
"Then I hereby appoint you Governor of Quintana Roo," Plank said, securing the chief's mark on Alvarado's document and taking flight, that very evening, back to Peto. So abrupt had his departure been, so sudden and dreamlike the entire re-occupation that, in the turmoil and the mud, and in the cries of horses and the hurried explanation of the duties of the catcher and why batters were permitted only three strikes while it took four balls to make a walk; in the whispers of a few soldiers who knew these indians had gold and silver and had brought items in their saddlebags to sell, and the oaths of the greater number of Mexicans... who had marched all the way from Merida and would now march back without even a day of rest... in this tumult, the small footsteps of Lord Blood-vomit passed, hesitant, meek, entirely unnoticed.
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