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Plaza de Toros
(The prompt was a statue of a fallen gladiator.)
It took a long time for the doctor to come and by the time he got there Manero
was dead. By our count Manero had been gored eight times and we brought him into
the dark infirmary under the stands. We could hear the crowd cheering in unison
above us. You could almost picture the moves.
When he heard the noise Manero asked us what was going on. Who was fighting? We
thought it might be Luis finishing off Manero's bull, but we didn't want to tell
him that. Then he asked us if he was badly hurt, and we told him yes, and we
described the major wound to his thigh. The bull had gored completely through,
so far in fact that the horn had dug deeply into the sand. We told him he would
bleed to death from this wound if the doctor didn't come quickly. He asked us
why he couldn't see. "My eyes," he said. "Why is it I cannot see?" We told him
it was not unusual. That he was in shock, and it's normal in that condition.
The priest came in then and told us the doctor would be down shortly. "At the
moment he is tending to the horses. Three horses were gored! Imagine." Then he
went to Manero.
"It does not look good for you, my friend." Manero looked in his direction and
tried to speak. "Do you have to make a confession, Manero?" There was no sign of
understanding so the Priest hurried into the Sacrament, touching his head with
the oil .... "Through this holy unction and His own most tender mercy may the
Lord pardon thee whatever sins or faults thou hast committed ... ." Just then
there was a cheer from the crowd above us and the Priest's voice was lost in the
I thought it was disgraceful that the doctor would tend to the horses before he
saw to Manero, but the Priest told me they were short of horses. "Plenty
Toreros," he said shaking his head. "Besides Manero is done for." Then he left
quickly, whispering to us that Manero was a clumsy bullfighter and everybody
said it was only a matter of time before he got it. We heard a cheer from the
stands above us, and the Priest said, "You hear that? Cordobes has just entered
the Plaza." The Priest did not want to miss El Cordobes.
I walked to the cot where Manero lay. "Can I get you something, Jose?" He tried
to focus on me in the dark room and shook his head. He was too weak to talk now
and both of us knew he would not live to see the doctor.
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