‘Rafael Angel Uribe Serna, lawyer.’ Once I’ve checked in, the doors that are mostly meant to let no one out open to let me in.
I know that the assignment I’m about to undertake will be the end of me. But I also know that all that pent-up desire that’s been building up over the years will be fulfilled to some degree. Sometimes, I find snippets of excitement in the smudgy edges of ordinary weekdays, but generally I can’t afford to lose my carefully controlled concentration. In my world, there’s no room for men like me. You would think that when something boils over for long enough, it runs dry. Well, not me. I drip with libido. How he manages openly, sometimes for all the world to see, is a mystery to me.
I’m escorted through the corridors: grey, grim, bare passageways, empty but for the secrets and dreams of the men who live here, if you could call it that. They’re doing time, staying here, some longer than others. Just like they do at home, they eat, sleep, get bored, fuck, though the latter mostly in secret. But there’s no settling in here. Glances speak of hate or desire, it’s impossible to see the difference. Perhaps there is no difference.
Then I’m outside, in the courtyard, where hate and desire are intensified by competition fever. Bare legs running in the Colombian sun, chasing a single ball. Beads of sweat flying like parasites from one frowned forehead to another.
Next, there’s cheering. High fives. Arms around shoulders. Bodies against bodies. Goal. The man who scored? My goal, Hélmer ‘Pacho’ Herrera. His name alone makes me want to have sex with him.
Pacho: feared, loved, imprisoned. One of the four caballeros of the notorious Calí cartel, his apprehension put an end to his impressive rule over the Colombian and American drug world.
I don’t know who gave me the assignment, and why. I just know that this is how I can be close to the man one last time before the rest of the world pounces on him. This man, dethroned, stripped of his prestige, his privileges. This man, who will be taken down as soon as he’s allowed to feel the Colombian sun in the world outside, will be burned alive by that same sun. Not because of his crooked practices, his fortune, his power or his network, but because of his love of men.
Pause. I approach him. He sees me, he recognises me, he smiles at me, he hugs me. Even the pause pauses. We hold each other, his hand resting on my lower back, making me giddy. Only my exterior remains in place. Only my skin doesn’t move out of position. Inside, everything turns upside down, spinning, shivering, shaking, tearing to pieces, over and over again, until nothing remains but a weak, churning, roiling mass of desire. A hot volcanic mass of seething excitement. Lustful, liquid, intangible. While the Colombian sun heats things up even more, the four prison walls keep the broiling mass together, churning it, mixing it up until not only the floor but we ourselves and everything around us has turned into lava, and we’re about to erupt. The other prisoners, the guards, prepare for evacuation, just in case.
We are standing there as if the lava has already petrified, seemingly motionless, seemingly forever. We’re standing there and we become me, I’m standing there. We have become one, our pleasure intensified by the delay. The longer the journey, the higher the summit.
Time for the eruption. Time for the evacuation. Time for my assignment. ‘Is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?’ I pull the gun from my trouser pocket and let it erupt. Six times. In the presence of everyone there, in the middle of the courtyard. Six highlights, in his stomach, in his head.
While Pacho lies bleeding on the courtyard floor, bystanders rush towards us and I’m grabbed by strong hands of men I don’t see. I’ve stepped outside myself.
A rigid dick replaced by rigid death. Or perhaps death resulted from a rigid dick. The floor was lava, now it’s hard as rock.
Rafael Angel Uribe Serna is not my real name, of course.
I’ve never killed a man in a prison courtyard.
I’ve never killed anyone.
I’ve never loved anyone this passionately.
I have longed for someone so passionately, though, that I felt capable of taking a gun to petrify the roiling mass.
I’ve often watched television and learned that love is a goal in life. Watching that same television, I’ve often looked at Pacho with a mixture of admiration and disgust. An intangible mix of moral awareness, uncontrollable excitement and social frustration.