The Red Butterfly, Part Seven – I Hope It Hurts

Madrid, short story about artists

Short Story

“Why did you tell them to go that way?” said Anna.

“Why not?” said Carlos.

“Because it is the wrong way. Because you have sent them to Plaza de Lavapiés.

“And so?”

Es peligroso, It is dangerous there. Something could happen.”

“Well, If anything happens, then they will probably deserve it,” said Carlos.

Eres estúpido, what if one of them gets killed. Then there will be trouble for us.”

Carlos narrowed his eyes, “Cuidado Anita, cálmate. Nothing will happen. There will be no trouble. Now lets go, I am getting cold.” He looked at me and smiled. “Still with us guiri?” He said mockingly, “We haven’t scared you off.”

“I don’t scare easy.”

“Good,” he said, and turned away.

I began to realize that although Anna was the star, Carlos, despite the way that Pablo had bossed him earlier, was the leader. Pablo was the only person Carlos seemed to respect. But he was resisting and would not respect him for very much longer. Pablo was the old lion, but old lions only have control of the pride for so long and when their time is up, another is always there to take their place. And Carlos was definitely the young lion.

We followed the soldiers down Calle de Cañizares. Although they were well ahead of us, we could still hear the occasional “Olé.”

I was embarrassed by them. To people in this country, and other countries that had to suffer their presence, these young men represented America and I found this shameful. We are not all like that, I thought. Or was I really any different? Earlier in the day I had drunkenly urinated into the river in front of a little girl and her mother. Is this what we do? I had seen this behavior in other places; in Japan, where I had been stationed for a while, in Vietnam, where we had committed unfathomable atrocities and now, of course, here.

The sound of retching echoed in the street canyons and I could see in the shadowed, dimly lit distance, the red headed soldier doubled over a rubbish bin. Good, I thought, I hope it hurts. I hope it feels the way it feels when you get really sick after eating a bad oyster and soon after find yourself with your head deep inside a toilet with the stuff inside your belly bursting out of you in a chunky, sour mash until there is nothing left. You feel as if a gorilla has punched you in the stomach with it’s massive fist and your insides contract as if your guts are trying to turn themselves inside out and explode back up your throat and you can‘t breath because every time you do, you are retching again and there are tears in your eyes from the pain and from the effort and when it stops, you feel relief for a moment, just for a moment. Then it starts again but worse, because now there is really nothing left inside of you except bile which sticks to the inside of your mouth and your teeth and under your tongue like a bitter ooze and then, when it is over, finally truly over, that‘s when the real pain begins, and the chills and the constant uncontrollable viscous shitting. I hope he feels like that, I hope it hurts.

We turned left on Calle de Olmo and left them to their fate.

next chapter: The Red Butterfly, Part Eight – I Danced With Duende

previous chapter: The Red Butterfly, Part Six – Love in the Time of War

all chapters: The Red Butterfly


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Sergio Remon Alvarez

Born in Madrid Sergio moved to New York City at a young age. He studied playwriting under Karl Friedman and theater at Purchase College. After college, Sergio moved to Alta, Utah where he was a dish washer, waiter, handyman, ski repairman, firefighter and free-skier. Upon his return to New York City, Sergio has alternately been a bookseller, boxer, painter, translator, graphic artist, jazz musician, and writer. He studied creative writing at Gotham Writer's Workshop, the Unterberg Center for Poetry, the St Marks Poetry Project, and New York University. He currently splits his time living in New York and Madrid. He runs with the bulls in Pamplona.

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