blackbirdonline journalSpring 2009  Vol. 8  No. 1
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The Privilege of Power, 1965

With his black-booted toe the cop awakened me. Why was I sleeping on the lawn? It was better, I told him, than the iron benches. Mid-afternoon in the little park near the entrance to the stadium, the sun just falling below the plane trees. By the time I got to my feet I was half awake. “Why aren’t you home?” he said. “In Spain we sleep in private.” I explained I was waiting for my car to be repaired, & I still had almost an hour to go. He seemed doubtful. Would I walk him to the garage & show him the car? On the way there I asked if I’d broken the law. “The law,” he said, “Why do you think this has anything to do with laws?” The little cafes along the Diagonal were emptying after the lunch rush. The tiny Andalusian waiter at Gato Negro dropped his eyes & shook his head. When we entered the garage, Jordi—the boss—approached carefully. He too avoided my eyes. “May I be of service?” he said. The cop told him the Dutchman claimed he had a car here. Yes, Jordi said, the white VW is his, the one on the lift. Was he sure the car belonged to the Dutchman? Yes, he brings it here many times, explained Jordi, but he is not a Dutchman, the extranjero is from America. “Los Estados Unidos?” shouted the cop, visibly shaken. He turned to me, removed his gray, military cap, half-bowed, & expressed his sorrow.  end