I learned yesterday afternoon that Raoul is going to be moving. I did not want it to come to that but that was the wishes of the owners of the house. And yes, they heard in great detail and from more than one person what this crazy gringo had done. I even confessed as much to the landlord: that I started it, that I lost my temper and that I wanted to kick his ass.

I said in the ‘Almost went to jail’ post that my neighbors probably like me, especially when I wasn’t beating on Raoul’s house. Several neighbors expressed sentiments as such when they hoped I wouldn’t move. But if the truth were know I am probably enjoyed more as the singular cultural oddity that lives on Calle Victoria than I am for being a nice guy.

So while I am highly culpable with respect to the recent events it can be equally said that Raoul and family are not very nice people. Imagine if you will the complete paranoia that follows on when your next door neighbor tries to break into your house while you’re away.

And before the masterminded break-in attempt (you’d have to meet Raoul to understand the extremity of my sarcasm) I had given him and his wife some good paying weekend work by which they repaid me by overcharging and turning in poor quality pieces. The work was going to have been an ongoing endeavor until his greed and stupidity quickly scotched the deal (sorry Paul).

And he played me for a fool, mistaking my generosity for weakness. I find it highly ironic that Raoul perceives himself to be both wily and clever while in fact his could be that grinning imbecilic face on that poster with the caption ‘sometimes a man is so far behind in a race that he thinks he’s ahead’.

Raoul, Jr is a smaller, more dangerous version of his father. I only reckon him to be the more dangerous because he doesn’t exhibit the same sly soft-spoken caution of his father. Raoul indirectly threatened me a few months ago, that I should ‘watch out’ because Raoul, Jr was in a gang. That wasn’t surprising news. The kid had always given me the impression that he was capable of doing something incredibly stupid because he lacked both the patience and maturity to think it through first.

I don’t like these people. And I freely admit that a big part of me is glad that they are leaving. Something is very wrong when you’ve got to be ever mindful to close and lock your supposedly private 3rd floor terrace door every time you take a shower. And to continually be on guard with the front gate always locked and bolted. The same personal safety concerns had me take the precaution yesterday of moving my bed from the back bedroom to a central bedroom just so I am not an accessible target while I sleep. And that is not an unreasonable fear because I am quite certain that both Raoul and Raoul, Jr. are stupid enough to believe that they could shoot me while I slept and get away with it. And the scary thing is they probably could. What about the guy that caused gringo Dave’s untimely demise a couple of month’s ago? He didn’t spend a single night in jail, let alone wear a pair of handcuffs; even for a minute (see the ‘Leo’ post).

Continuing on with the post-script, I apologized to most of my neighbors and left flowers on the doors of the closest half dozen houses the morning after. Half a dozen people asked me on my way to the Mercado that morning why the police were at my house. I told each and everyone the facts of the matter; that the bastard had previously tried to break into my house and that my wanting to kick Raoul’s ass was bigger than just the loud music, that I finally had enough and just snapped.

Am I worried about Raoul? No, not really. Cormac McCarthy talking about horses said, ‘They ain’t worried about stuff they can see, it’s the stuff they can’t see that worries them’. And I got my eye on Raoul.

W. Somerset Maugham says it best for me in the preface he wrote for John O’Hara’s brilliant little novel called ‘Appointment in Samarra’ published in 1934. He retold the old story where a servant returned running back from market in Damascus and said ‘Master, master! Lend me your fastest horse so that I can flee to Samarra and escape my fate!’ The master told him to calm down and asked him what happened. And the servant said, ‘while I was in the market doing your bidding I happened to jostle an old woman, who in turning, I saw that she was Death. So lend me your fastest horse that I may flee to Samarra and escape my fate!’ The master told him to get a horse and go. He was curious so he went down to the market in Damascus to investigate. He found the old woman and she was in fact Death. He asked, ‘Death why did you frighten my servant so?’ Death merely shrugged, ‘I did not mean to frighten him. I was merely surprised to see him. For tonight I have an appointment with him in Samarra’.

I am meeting Sarah in Minnesota in 14 days where we will spend the next 30 days doing an extended running tour of the north central US. And all things considered it is probably time to get out of Mexico and see how the folks back home are doing. But wouldn’t it be a bizarre twist of fate to think that a benign place like Minnesota could be my Samarra? I say that as I recollect the story I read in the papers a couple of days ago about the guy who got hit by a pick up truck and killed in Oregon while trying to bounce a soccer ball the 10,000 miles from Seattle to Brazil. Sometimes a man just can’t catch a break in this world; shit happens and all that, right?

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