Sant Joan, Mallorca
I´ve got a hot one involving fascist Franquista motorcyclists terrorizing a small village here on the island of Mallorca. Sinister undercurrents abound, but to do this story right, I´m gonna need some money. I´m talking enough money to buy—minimum—a 250cc Yamaha dirt bike, pay off this Kraut lawyer for the deep background (and legal protection) and, of course, a little nip for the Professor.
At any rate, I got out here a couple days ago after my interesting stay in Palma at the gay brothel and found the Professor in a state of heavy agitation regarding my intentions of heading off to Iraq for some war action.
¨TPG,¨ the Professor said, ¨how many incoming rounds have you ducked? You got nothing to take to the battlefield. Now, I was in Chicago when the shit went down ´68. I took a billy club to the skull, me and…Hal…Hal Kauffman…Abbie Hoffman! Now that´s more action than your sorry ass would ever see eating Pizza Hut in the Green Zone. Let me tell you about the time I jumped George Bush—that´s Bush Senior´s—limo in ´72 and the Secret Service grabbed me by the nuts and—¨
I cut him off to ask if Iraq was out, what the hell else could I do? For example, what the was the story in Sant Joan?¨
¨It´s too complicated,¨ he said.
¨Because my Internet connection happens to be down at the moment.¨
He suggested we head to the local cantina for a beer while we waited for his computer to un-freeze. El Bar Mayor is across the street from the church in the center of Sant Joan, a village of 1,200 souls, most of them well over the age of 70. I could tell by the looks of the old women sitting in their folding chairs along the sidewalks that the Professor was considered the local rake.
Making our way to the bar, the Professor made several rude gestures toward the gentry driving in from Palma in their Range Rover for the weekend.
“Stupid fucks,” he said. “Don´t realize these streets were made for donkey carts, not Hummers.” The Professor has lived in the village for twelve years, cashing his fat university pension checks to pay for his off-and-on marijuana habit, which I have yet to see switched to the “off” position. His Social Security hits in a year. He´s been planning the party.
The Professor’s local buddy, Pep, was occupying his regular table in the corner of the bar. Pep, who looks like a cross between Colombo and Elvis Presley, hailed us with what the Professor assured me was the local greeting.
“WuuueeeePpppp?” It sounded like something between a pig´s grunt and a man choking on a chunk of meat.
I was introduced to Pep by the Professor as—and my Spanish may have missed some of this—“The idiot who thought he was off to cover the war in Iraq.”
Pep looked at me and shook his head.
He said something to the effect of that when he was my age he was too busy marketing his dick around town to willingly put himself in the way of a large bullet. Again, I give this a rough translation because these islanders speak in a strange dialect of Catalan, which they call “Mallorquin.” The locals pronounce this “Moo-your-keen.” It is a brutal patois of Spanish, Arabic and Italian and, if you aren’t entirely sober, you might think you are in France.
The Professor and Pep sent me to the bar for cognac and olives while they commiserated about their unsatisfactory bowel movements. Pep held up his pinkie finger to demonstrate his ailment.
“It´s almost as evil as those fucking motos,” the Professor said as I returned to the table with their drinks.
“Motos?” I asked.
“Cabrones,” Pep said.
“Maricones,” the Professor added.
“Diablos,” Pep said.
“Every afternoon when I try to nap, those Fascists—“
“—Franquistas,” Pep added.
“—start farting their bikes around the course.”
“Franquistas,” Pep repeated.
I interrupted them to ask what they were talking about.
Pep looked over my shoulder at two aged gentlemen in short beards who I´d noticed on the way into the murky bar. Pep crooked his finger for me to get closer. He raised his eyebrows.
“Franquistas,” Pep said. “Hay aquí.”
I looked to the Professor for help.
He motioned for me to get more drinks.
When I got back to the table with the expensive brandy, I insisted that the Professor explain what was going on. Franco loyalists? Motorcycle gangs?
“And mafia, and Church, and Russians…”
But Franco? The deposed, dead tyrant still had followers in this village in 2007? And on motos?
“Motos diablos,” Pep said.
As I said, Boss, this is big. But trust me, I didn´t just take the Professor’s word for it. Staggering home from the bar later that afternoon, with the Professor still ragging me about my pipe dreams of combat reporting and my foul Spanish accent, I heard the first high-keening rev of a supercharged dirt bike. I stopped to ascertain where the racket was coming from.
“Thought I was bullshitting you?” the Professor sneered. He grabbed me by the sleeve of my Halliburton travel blazer and dragged me down a side street. The cacophony of the dirt bikes howled like giant hornets as we got closer. The alley opened up onto a barren burnt landscape that had been scraped and mounded into a Nazi dirt disco. Through the apocalyptic haze and exhaust I saw chickens scrambling for cover as the moto riders threw their machines off jumps and into tight corners.
“You see that, Sweet Pea?” the Professor said, yanking my collar. “That´s the new wave of fascism.” He yawned and said that if I didn´t believe him, I could keep heading up the street to speak his ex-pat friend, an attorney named Werner. The Professor then pushed me away and told me to not bother for him for two hours.
Caught between the Franquista moto devils and the Professor’s obvious disappointment with the spawn of his collegiate instruction, I decided to pay a visit to the Counselor.
Werner, the attorney, who you might be familiar with because of “Island of Desire,” his weekly column which appears in Der Spiegel, was hosing down his ´87 Jaguar coupe while blasting Blondie from a boom box in the garage. Werner took off his goggles as I introduced myself.
“Ah,” he said, “You are the young man who the Professor speaks about. You have needs? You desire something?”
I told him that the Professor had sent me over to confirm the vicious rumors of a Fascist moto gang in the village.
“Yes,” Werner said, shutting off the hose, “it is shit.”
But is it true? I asked Werner.
“Let´s see,” he said. “This kind of thing can get very complicated. It requires many of resources. I assume you have resources?”
I assured him that I work for one of the most prestigious news conglomerates in the world. I showed him my Colorado Press Pass to establish my bonafides
“This will not be easy,” Werner said. “It will require…money.”
So, Boss, according to Werner—who seems very trustworthy—I will need funds. The moto will be easy, it´s just about negotiating down the fees for the Professor and Werner—who claim that they own exclusive European and North American rights to this story. I will endeavor, as always, to cut us the best deal possible and get the story right and tight. $2200 should do the trick. Please let me know what you think ASAFP because the Professor has convinced me that the really bad stuff is going to hit in Africa. I have booked my ticket to Zambia and am due to depart next week.
Yours on two wheels,