The Iguana is a truly noble lizard. Only lizards are truly noble, just as only man is truly brave and just as the bravest men are bullfighters.
Juanito Bonjela was a fine bullfighter and a fine man. He was entertaining me in the Cafe Royal after an afternoon with the bulls in Salamanca. We were drinking rum in the cool of the Plaza Major and Bonjela was showing me his new pet, an iguana he had bought from a Buorgos pet store. The iguana was scaly and prone to escaping Bonjela’s arms and running under the tables of the other patrons, but it had a fine aspect and an appealing way of holding your gaze that reminded you that you were in the presence of a noble creature.
‘Juanito, that is a fine example of the lizard-maker’s art,’ I said, and pushed it up my bum.
The chaplain was hard but he was old and I knew I could take him. ‘I will fight you,’ I said, and the crowd cheered to see me enter the ring.
The chaplain fought hard and he fought well. But he was old and he was weary and after three rounds he could take no more.
‘You are a fine boxer,’ said the chaplain. ‘You are a fine boxer and a fine man. I realize I am now too old to fight, and I wish you to take my boxing gloves as a symbol of respect from an old maestro to the new.’
‘You are much a man,’ I told the chaplain, taking the gloves, and I pushed them up my bum.
To land a marlin is a noble art. The marlin is the most noble fish, although no fish can be as noble as a lizard and no animal is as noble as the bravest fisherman. I had taken Pilar out on to the ocean, where the marlin are fiercest and a man must fight hard if he is ever to land one. My marlin put up a great fight, and I respected him for it, but he was no match for my noble skills as a fisherman.
My audience, a journalist from London, who was a poor fisherman and a worse writer, whistled in awe at my skills. ‘You are a fine fisherman,’ he said. ‘You are a fine fisherman and a great man, and that is truly a noble marlin you have caught.’
I thanked the journalist, admiring the great fish, and I pushed it up my bum.
LIFE SIZED PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN
‘Tell me you love me,’ said the woman, who was very beautiful.
‘Okay, I love you.’
‘And you will love me always?’
‘I will love you forever and I will love you as best a man can when he has seen war and has lost a part of his manhood to war.’
‘Show me your grizzled old man’s hand again,’ she said, taking my weak hand in hers. ‘I have seen you admiring my portrait. The portrait that hangs in the hallway of mother’s mansion.’
‘It is a beautiful portrait.’
‘I wish you to have it. I asked mama to wrap it in paper and I have brought it with me to give to you.’
‘Tell your mama I will forever be grateful to her for it.’
‘Will you love my portrait as much as you love me?’
‘I cannot love an object more than I love you, but I will try my best.’
‘Will you keep it in a special place?’
‘I will keep it in a very special place,’ I said, and pushed it up my bum.