Benjamin Kosnit was traveling from Madrid to Paris by train. Already approaching fifty, of all means of transportation, this was his favorite. Exact speed, ability to walk inside the vehicle, atmosphere compatible with humanity. The plane has ruined his nose and the bus has ruined his body in general.
He was talking to the woman in the opposite seat, the casual chat of two passengers. She was Basque. Her hair, burnished black. Broad forehead, very white skin, straight nose, high cheekbones and prominent lips. Her teeth, as the Song of Songs said: a row of goats. he knew how to smile.
His figure was portentous. Benjamin appreciated the swing between firmness and femininity, as a force to be rendered with sympathy and charm. Fermina, as she was called, was also on her way to Paris. Hearing her name, Benjamin smiled and sang:-January 1, February 2, March 3, April 4, lara, lara, lara, San Fermín.
Why am I making this document?At the end of his melodic evocation, he wondered if that explosion from the past could be called that.
– It’s an advertisement I heard in my childhood, for a wine called the vase Benjamin confessed.
“Don’t worry,” Fermina reassured him, she must have been around thirty, thought Benjamin. I love San Fermin.
She was an anthropologist, she went to the Sorbonne, and Benjamin was amazed that she revived that festival in which the men of the Basque Country faced each other in the streets with loose fighting bulls, running between the sidewalks, with dead and wounded. But he could not help reproaching himself for making a fool of himself by singing that song to the lady.
He recalled an episode narrated by Kissinger, in China: in front of Zu Enlai, premier designated by Mao, Kissinger comments that the Chinese have never abandoned a central idea of equilibrium, they have only replaced Confucius with Marx. Zu Enlai, who had always maintained an empathetic attitude towards the shocked and alarmed Kissinger, replied that such a reflection was nonsense.
Kissinger shamefully wondered, in his book, which demon had possessed him enough to have expressed such a firecracker without any diplomacy, in front of the highest Chinese authority under Mao.
What dybuk Has he possessed me to sing the days of San Fermin?, lamented Benjamin, trying not to show his modesty to Fermina. To erase the traces of embarrassment, he imposed:- Yes, what a wonderful party. The courage of the Basquesthe strength of those bulls loose in the city…
-You’ve never been? Fermina asked enthusiastically.
– Unfortunately not- informed Benjamin, adding to himself: neither in Hell, nor in Pol Pot’s Cambodia-.
“It’s a unique show,” Fermina encouraged him. Every person should experience it at least once in their life.
“Put your fingers in the socket too,” agreed silently, smiling, Benjamin.
“Too bad I didn’t meet you sooner,” he courted her, bringing his miserable charade to a fever pitch. I missed it for a month.
Fermina answered with a surprised gesture.
Benjamin was to stay for a weekend in Paris: he worked in the Marketing division of a Danish-owned agricultural machinery company. Marketing assistant managers from all over the world met. Liberal capitalism had distributed wealth better than any previous system.
Fermina got up to go get a coffee in the restaurant car; Benjamin admired the devastating gait of a perfect woman.
“We have to go to Pamplona”, they sang; and inserted a verse of his money: “We have to go to Pamplona, but not to San Fermín”.
However, the train stopped precisely in Pamplona. Benjamin didn’t fully understand, but they had to get off and wait a day, or choose another means of transport, due to an unusual overflow of the Arga River. The land around them seemed barren; but apparently, a couple of kilometers further on, the tracks were flooded.
“A miracle,” Fermina exulted. We will be able to participate in the San Fermin bullfight!
“But it’s July,” Benjamin replied.
– Of course! July 7, San Fermin. It’s a fucking miracle.
In his perpetual imbecility, in his la la la la of idiocy, Benjamin had confused July 7 with June 7.
“I’ll introduce you to my relatives,” Fermina invited. After the run. Come on, they’ll be happy.
Certainly Fermina attracted him like a cow to a bull in rut, but in any case it wouldn’t have been easy for Benjamín to avoid that tragic chain of events. He had panted excessively.
Like Churchill, he felt himself walking with destiny: towards its total destruction. What will my mother say when she reads that I was trampled by bulls in Pamplona? A loose one will come out Village from Madrid: “Inexplicably, an Argentine Jew dies in San Fermín. Wrong date. He thought it was June. La Daia and Amia delimit the responsibilities”.
In those moments before their certain extinction, Gaby, Fofo and Miliki, and the La Vascongada brand, which they promoted, passed in his memory. And Fofito! That was a nice syncretism between Jews and Basques: Benjamin felt infinite affection for those clowns!
Not San Fermín, which was a Christian holiday. Just before being released onto the street in front of the herd of bulls, Benjamín, who had spent his adult life deliberately indifferent to any cause, stopped on a cobbled avenue in Pamplona, spread his arms and shouted like the Nazarene.
– Friends, Basque brothers, a Jew speaks to you. I am not moved by fear or apathy. Why will we have to face, as enemies, the beloved bull, benefactor of humanity, at the time the father of the cow, supplier of dairy products, including Sardinian cheese?
“Of course,” answered Fermina cheerfully, very happy with the public debate. This holiday is favorable to Taurus and checks the human. Oops! Hosts! Run!
They released the beasts. Again, Benjamin had been defeated in the dialectical arena, and in the other as well. Fermina ran as possessed (not really by Benjamin). The Basques, mostly men, cheered the bulls, wearing red and white ritual clothes.
Benjamin clung to a whitewashed wall and trusted God. If I survive this coven, he promised himself, I’ll order a whole octopus without asking the price.. A bull stared at him. I had chosen it. his end had come. But a reckless boy provoked him and the minotaur went after the native.
Somehow, Benjamin realized, the ordeal had come to an end. Fermina came exultant, hand in hand with another lady. God will reward me with something other than octopus, she told herself. But as if the Creator of the Universe resented Benjamin’s appetite for shellfish, Fermina informed: – This is my girlfriend, Sancha. Are you coming to eat with us?
“Octopus,” Benjamin decreed. I pay.
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.