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A foreign country in New York A foreign country in New York
by MBa
2014-07-05 09:41:33
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“Mato, I’m a seventy year old woman who toured the whole world over and I got to tell you I never heard such an ignorant thing ever” the tall, lady started saying alarmed, mixing French and Spanish as usual. I sighed. I was trying to warm her of how serious the danger was in her own backyard and she’s all about inferior matters.

When Domenico Forte tracked me down through my family in New Jersey and brought me to my recently arrived Madrina, I sensed some dirty shit was being cooked up against her second Husband. Dr. Conde-Regardiz had a squared framed body with a big forehead which must have weighed a lot judging for his giving the impression of begging permission to exist rather than asserting himself. “ tch tch tch” my shaking of the head sideway, along with a fish-styled mouthing sounds I made, fatefully disapproved of a posturing that was tantamount to a “kick me in the ass” invitation in the un contra tous and tous contre un that is high politics.

I wondered inwardly what school of though was this guy trained at “ doctored in Economy and political science in Georgia Atlanta UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” I would soon learned. “Ahhh, I see” my eyebrow raising said but I didn’t it; he was born in a land not so different from the Mafia styled Sicily after all, so the balls have to be there some where, I wished.

The not-so gentle slap on my left hand brought me down to the black Lincoln patiently sailing amid fifth Ave afternoon traffic.” You were told by well off professional US American that the planet has six continent and by other that there were seven continents” I miraculously was able to replay her alarming finding in the English class she reluctantly attended to with some Upper East Side. “It seems to you madrina that US American don’t know that there are is not three ‘America Continent but one.” I added after her eyebrow rising prodded me to continue. She was alarmed; she explained, at such display of ignorance by the people of the mayor economical, political and military power of the world. She reminded me, again, that whens he was a youth, her aristocrat Grandma from the French side, gave her as birthday present a ticket for the then new and popular “ 80 days around the world” trip and she thought she had seen it and heard it all but this circle of well off New Yorkers have left her scratching her silky blonde hair.

Looking back in time, I now think I should have engaged her in the topic but at that moment all my brain cells were focused in reversing that setting up of a trap in our destination. I put the incident down as just a matter of being with the ‘wrong crowd’ after all, “ Professor Dianora New York circles should be ‘equal inter pares’ ones, she was raised with the Latin American branches of the Vanderbilt, the Burtons and the Cisneros for Christ sake ” Mrs. Yolanda Renwick, the mean and cold blooded Administrator Consular kept complaining when she found out Professor secret. The state department, the Mayor office liaison for diplomatic corps affairs and the NYPD community affairs liaison all had Senora Dianora Morazzani-Besoin of Conde registered as attending social and schooling sessions in a place near the UN where the only US nationals that mingled with the foreign dignitaries were multi culturally bred or trained US American ones. The chauffer would drop her off and pick her up somewhere in East 96 Street instead. Dr. Conde-Regaridz didn’t mind, why, ever since this populist movement took over his proud country, it was best to look the part if you weren’t from the lower classes. So wasn’t her fault she is now pestering me with things that probably a minor incident compare to what I knew should be troubling her?

ny01_400“Mato, I’m not crazy, may of these people don’t know that being French and Italian made me  Latin; they speak of Latin as  if was a color and the notion that there are a mixture of Caucasian, indigenous and black in most of Latin America is nil in their mindset”. I smiled benignly to a woman who I admired but who was nearing the senile stage nevertheless. She probably has encountered some of those folks that I would identify as rapper-styled Americans. While visiting my relatives in the Bronx and way uptown Manhattan I noticed there were slang-English speakers and some Spanglish speakers who, for the life of me, I could not understand half of what they said. I would occasionally catch a word saying “ ain’t white, I ain’t Italian, I ain’t Caucasian I ammo Latino, I ammo Hispanic only light skin “ I would scratch my head as if saying “ are they implying that they are Mediterranean or From Latin America? They could have fool me for I would chop off my manhood if they don’t look, act, talk and dress as Eminem and Fifty cents, whatever those two handsome and rich chaps are”. 

It came without warning again. “Ouch”, I pulled away my hand from her pinching long fingers as she asked me what she had just said. I ventured that she was talking about a farmer and the wide, wild, and west. “ Domenico, I mean Mato, they criticized the Texan Rancher millionaire they have as president but they don’t sound much cultural either and you know I am not a classist” she corrected me, her wrinkle hands lighting a Marlboro light long cigarette already dangling from her thin lips. My face frown, not at her confusing me, again, with the two faced and treacherous ex-assistant of her, but at seeing my madrina probably flaunting the don’t smoke New York regulations so blatantly. “Don’t be silly ahijado this is a diplomatic car not a yellow cab” I was not surprised that her blue eyes seem to read her godson’s thoughts.  Spiritual people or highly sophisticated folks tend to develop the art of figuring out whatever shit pops up in the mind of people they are interested in. I know for a fact since I’m good at it. Not because of claiming any high pedigree though, God knows outside the US, my brown ass born from the a housekeeping to the diplomats would be put in his place in less than you can say “there-is-not-weapon-of-mass-destruction-in-Irak-and-Saddan-Hussein-is-the-only-one-keeping-muslim-fanatics-from-getting-stronger” to an US American President and vice-president.

And so I had seen the “graffiti in the wall” forming up against my surrogate relatives and bosses. And so, I saw the transition of the Domenico Forte my madrina would pamper so much, to the axis of evil. The high level officials and the locally hired-workers, who either distrusted or were ambivalent toward the new administration could get away with simply paying lip service to the doctrine of the movimiento required of them. “Mato you’ve been up north for so long you know nothing about the goodness of the movimiento” I came out of my wandering thoughts and inwardly crossed myself to hear the gospel.

She read me the ‘menu, ticking the items off with her wrinkle fingers. Doctors and medical staff go up to the favelas; vocational trainings, alphabetization and workshops are given for the outcast to learn their way into grabbing their pie of the petroleum-sustained Venezuela economy. “ I wondered a loud if the “comunismo con comida” phrase the anti-Fidel Cuban American use to describe the ‘blessings’ of a state that dole out food in exchange for the slavery of the will to an one way or the high way political ideology “eso es mentira Chavismo is not about that” she would snap, shooting the message before it would get delivered. My madrina began ticking off the other hand fingers, I saw lines of people getting petroleum-subsidized handouts, propaganda themed shirts and hats, foodstuff, TV and stereo sets, trips to Cuba for eye, stomach and butt surgeries chanting the Messiah of handle alleluia Corus in their wake. I smiled as I pictured the very well known sardonic nature of Venezuelan as they winked to each other singing the old Dominican merengue song “ seguimos? Si iiii, paramos? No ooooo” there was no need for the state to ask the masses weather they should continue or no the handouts, for who in their right mind will say not?

I wasn’t loosing sleep over what was going on in Venezuela. But I was having an uncomfortable itching of the butt (figuratively speaking of course) for what was being cooking up at work. I have seen, picked up and read the incendiary fliers spread around at the entrance and hallways as I went in first thing in the morning. I took it upon my duties to collect them all and destroy them, after I witnessed the distress those silly kindergartens looking papers caused in my madrina. My Bosses saw this as the one-man madman show rather than a kick in the ass by the higher ups. How can they not know about ‘la ocupacion’? One day, the movimiento supreme leader had his members of his adoring fans being bused over to every entities of his country  “for a better representations of the masses in the struggle against the free market forces”. Soon the newbies began to take over whatever pay for play, fraud, blackmailing and ‘ whatever you name it we have it’ schemes have been going during the forty years old reign of the two traditional political parties.

Anti-capitalist movement they said? Anti-capitalism my ass. And this is where Barberi comes into the picture. Barberi, the almost seven foot tall, legal department clerk knew a good deal when he saw one. Putting aside the distaste that he, like almost everyone else in this little Venezuela off fifth Ave felt for the ‘new class’ of powerbrokers, recognized the big head data entry clerk for what he truly was: the doctrinal propagandist and enforcer of the movimiento.  Dr. Conde-Regardiz could not see a fly if it was doling in his semi-flat nose. But I saw, I heard and I…did what I had to do, let’s just leave it at that.

Another thing that fucked me up was Dr. Conde-Regardiz never thinking about sealing the secret passage. The secret passage (accessed from an almost invisible door by the bathroom at the back of the gallery of art located in the Consulate reception area) wasn’t so secret. Beside the building operator official, the Big boss knowing about it, guess who else knew of it? Bingo, you won yourself a cookie if your answer was that odd couple of the tall Italian descends Barberi and the short indigenous-looking nerdy clerk. So mysterious things will happen every now and then, catching the big bosses by surprise. “Are you freaky-fucking kidding me?” I would have shouted had I been then the handsome, street savvy and (let’s no forget it) the assertive-forty-pounds-of-muscle-man that I am today.

I was about to tell madrina she was about to get ditched by the leader she worshiped and defended with all her might I opened my mouth but the car had pulled over already on the north side of St. Patrick Cathedral and helped her out of the car before I could say a word. I followed my custom of exiting through the other door before the driver felt compelled to hold the door open for me.

I made up my mind. I was going to give those fuckers who were going to pull a dirty one on this incredible human being a little surprise much in the like of their games. I let her going through the glass door saying I had some business to do somewhere. 

Professor Dianora went past the astonished people seating in the reception area, onto the gallery of arts that follows it and disappeared into the turned of the century-looking lift the lit on  cigarette still hanging int here. I then went through the glass door with a sigh saying Welcome to Consulate General Office of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. I headed straight to the secret passage.


      
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