“Guadalupe in the Promised Land” — Sam Shepard

“Guadalupe in the Promised Land” — a very short story by Sam Shepard.

Guadalupe hit the skids and fishtailed into a ditch, crawled out of the wreck bleeding from the neck, saw the moon, laid his head in a mud puddle, said “Todo el Mundo” three times and snuffed out. Him and Manolete got together after that and Manolete told him it wasn’t enough just to be a man. The thing was to shoot for sainthood. He said he almost hit it. A saint of the cape. Jackson Pollock joined them and told Manolete he was full of shit. A man was good enough. That was harder than sainthood. There’s too many saints anyway. Guadalupe didn’t know what to think. He ran into Jimmy Dean and Jimmy just looked confused. Marilyn Monroe had no opinion. Brecht kept talking about Germany and shame. Satchmo kept wiping his sweat and shuffling. Janis wanted more. Crazy Horse said: “Fight and die young.” Brian Jones just played the harpoon. Dylan Thomas said “Rage.” Jimi Hendrix said “Slide.” Big Bopper said “What?” Johnny Ace said “Shoot.” And Davey Moore said “Take it all on.” That made sense to Guadalupe. And with that he lay down for a nice long rest.

(From Micro Fiction, edited by Jerome Stern).

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