Thursday, June 4, 2015

Story #4: "The Rise And Fall Of Alvaro Chalupa"

It's Day 4 of my #astoryaday June Writing Challenge, so here's Story #4. Many of my stories come into existence after I've thought up what I deem to be an interesting title. This one started when I devised the name of its main character. The rest of the story kind of fell into place around that. Hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!  ~  JH

"The Rise And Fall Of Alvaro Chalupa"

Not so very long ago, in the only hospital in the town of Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, in the state of Chiapas, in the country of Mexico, a young woman by the name of Luz de la Luna gave birth to a son, whom she called Alvaro Manuel Chalupa.

The boy grew in girth if not in stature over the course of the next few years, and at the tender age of twelve, began to have strange and terrible visions. Some would call them prophecies, others lunacies, but Alvaro called them Esteban.

"Mamá," he said to her in a characteristically quiet tone one cloudy Thursday. "I have had another Esteban."

"Oh, dear boy, no!" Luz replied. "What has your Esteban foretold this time? A famine? A pestilence? Perhaps a government shutdown?"

"No, Mamá," the boy patiently explained. "This Esteban involves neither hunger, plagues, nor legislative incompetence. I have had an Esteban about myself."

A sharp intake of breath highlighted Luz's apprehension. "Is it bad news, Alvaro, my dear?"

"Not at all," smiled Alvaro. "My Esteban has told me that I shall become a great leader. Men, women, children, and goats will follow in my footsteps, heed my edicts, and build statues in my honor."

"Oh, Alvaro, this is a wonderful Esteban indeed!" She beamed proudly, adding, "Goats?"

"That bit was confusing," he admitted. "But I have not yet told you the best part."

"Oh, my boy, tell all! Do tell all," said Luz, clasping her hands dramatically in front of her face.

"The best part of all," continued Alvaro, "is that I shall become a martyr for my people. I shall be killed violently for the sake of the cause by ignorant rebels who refuse to defer to my authority. Is that not wonderful, Mamá?"

Luz's smile sank quickly into a frown and her hands fell to her sides in defeat. "A martyr, my son? Are you certain?"

"Have I ever had an inaccurate Esteban?" The question was rhetorical, of course. Alvaro's Estebans had correctly predicted the outcome of the previous Mexican presidential election, the past two Kentucky Derby winners, and the price of cheese at the Soriana supermarket half an hour away in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

"My boy, I wish it were not so," cried Luz, dabbing at her tears spasmodically, as was her usual manner when frightened. "But this must happen as you say, I suppose."

And so it did. In six years' time, as Alvaro Chalupa had reached manhood, he had already gained a large following of people (and goats). His philosophies were startlingly simplistic yet refreshingly apolitical in nature, which drew many to him. Alvaro was unanimously elected president of Mexico and served half his term before being unceremoniously cut down by an assassin's rocket launcher in the middle of a speech about horticulture. His state funeral was the grandest his country had ever seen. Festivals were thrown in his honor and grenades were thrown at the rebels. The war was long and hard-fought, but ultimately the rebels were ousted and sent to live on the tiny island of Rábida in the Galapagos, where goats were banned and flamingos thrived.

Fond memories of Alvaro Chalupa continued long after his passing, in his home state of Chiapas in particular. Luz de la Luna lived a long and miserable life without her "dear boy," but was much revered by her fellow countrymen, who regarded her in nearly the same light as the Virgin Mary. Her only consolations were dwelling in the obscenely opulent mansion her son had built for her after his rapid rise to fame and driving her gaudy but gorgeous red Lamborghini at excessive speeds over back roads outside the city.

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