THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK NINE: BOOK of the JAGUAR PRIEST
And so Sunday arrived - that day upon which had been arranged the marriage of the General Silvestro Kaak... Halach Uinic of the Cruzob and Jefe Politico y Militar of Santa Cruz del Bravo... to Maria Morelos... cabaret virtuoso and twice virtuous widow, late of El Pozo Afligado. Carranza's office had sent the President's blessings and a silver plated pistol, an antique, according to his representative, a saturnine Major named Prieto who seized the opportunity to question Solis mercilessly on the matter of the documents Carranza desired. It was a day of unfavorable aspects for the Colonel. Innumerable acquaintances of Maria had packed the church; actors and prostitutes, lottery vendors, the dregs of Mexico's slums who shared a common solace found at the bottom of a glass at the Well of Sorrows.
Maria had even effected a reconciliation with Valentin for the keeper of the Well... eager to exploit a seeming connection with the world of the powerful far above the Street of Coffin Makers... had closed his establishment, bathed and presented the matrimonial party with a bottle of champagne. Almanzar's eye roamed the spaces behind Valentin for a sign of his lajartijas but the Texan was not there, nor his deadly entourage.
The vows were sealed by a bishop, well compensated for any distaste he may have felt, and the church invaded by a touring party of Americans and Europeans attracted to its facade. These were accompanied by amateur photographers, who entreated the bride and groom to pose upon the steps. "Snap! Snap! Click!" went their newfangled cameras from Switzerland while the photographers reveled in their good fortune to have discovered an authentic Mexican wedding taking place. "Snap!" Maria and Valentin had already opened the bottle and she strutted boastfully, now, before the tourists and her contemporaries of the Street of Death, and gloried in the flowers strewn upon her, lifting her dress to the knee to dance a little step down the cathedral stairs while Silvestro... who seemed frozen, a piece of driftwood... was carried along by the crowd like a marionette with broken strings.
"That poor fellow's never been to a Christian wedding like this, let alone his own," muttered the Colonel to Almanzar, who struggled with the detestable Pablito.
But, had either of these military men a power to read minds, they would have known that it was not the ceremony that was clouding the eyes of the Tatoob. He had been married before, if not by Catolicos, and all fiestas began and ended in the same manner... the only question being whether somebody would get in the way of a bullet. Silvestro, as the saying goes, had his head in the clouds. His destiny, to fly with eagles, was near.
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