THE OLD MAN AND THE BULL.
I’ve been fascinated with the world of bullfighting ever since I saw Tyrone Power flashing his red cape at El Toro in Blood and Sand. Unfortunately not many movies have done justice over the years to the blood sport. Only Robert Stack’s film, The Lady and the Bullfighter and Mel Ferrer’s The Brave Bulls seemed to capture the right essence. Most books on bullfighting have been non-fiction, the best of which was by Kenneth Tynan. Hemingway’s fiction is the best remembered and most loved when it comes to depicting Death in the Afternoon. My new story The Seventh Bull attempts to capture just a bit of this drama.
WHEN A WASHED-UP JOURNALIST AND A FAMOUS MATADOR GET INVOLVED WITH A SULTRY AGENT, THERE’S THE DEVIL TO PAY.
́Paco showed the crowd why he was called “The Matador Who Can’t Be Killed.” He stood under the hot sun with never a back step and sent his bulls crashing to magnificent deaths in a sea of gore and spittle. The crowd that had come to see Paco gutted, ended up screaming. “Olé, olé, olé”, until they had no voice left to use. Paco gave them the works: pase de pecho, manoletina, veronica, a kneeling molinete, and even the famous arrucina. The fans forgot the inadequacies of the other matadors, as they sat enthralled by Paco’s mastery of muleta and sword.
Paco cheated the crowd out of seeing him get a fatal cornada. He was brilliant. And, finally, the last espada had been driven into the blood-choked aorta of the sixth bull of the afternoon. A hitched team of plow horses then carted the last gory carcass off into the shadows beyond the stands.
When I rejoined Paco, he was making like a playful schoolboy. “Ha, Roberto,” he shouted at me, “we showed them, didn’t we?” No adornos. No funny clown hats. Or the telephone bit. We just showed them all the classic moves.”
“And courage, Maestro,” I added.