Where in the past one could find the Mountain barracks and where
now start the small steps of the Debod temple, I was called to
a meeting with several labor organizers led by a Venezuelan man
called Blackie who had, they said, participated in guerilla activity
in his country.
It was precisely
there, on the deserted courtyard swept by a cold wind that went
straight through to your soul, that Blackie
us that the object of this meeting was to prepare a string of robberies
so that we could update our press office, in a sad state since
May and in need of a new ‘supply’ of equipment. Only
the Brujula sector, the only one to communicate with the central
directorate, knew about this operation about which we were to keep
total secrecy, to refrain from talking to anyone even party members,
while taking all the security measures that seemed appropriate.
My legs were tembling. Somebody in Brujula had decided that this
job would be my baptism by fire as a member of the workers section
of the organization.
The next meetings were held in a sinister house in Pozuelo, lfar
removed from looking like a villa, where Blackie, seemingly a
genius for these jobs, scrawled with a chalk his guerilla tactics
on a blackboard. Tension among us kept raising with days passing.
And for a simple reason ! No one in his dog’s life, had
ever tried something like stealing a rotary press machine from
a girl boarding school. Besides the operation didn’t look
easy at all since the boarding school was filled with people
at all times and since the assailants, having raised the guard’s
slightest suspicion while approaching, would have to knock down
the door of his booth, in which he would have had ample time
to lock in, before his raising the alarm or calling the cops.
To our lack of experience one had now to add the divisions in
our group. Some intended to be armed, others – those who
had know how – refused, claiming that our lack of pratice
would result in internal bloodshed at the first trouble.
Finally we decided to pick a group of studs like Blondie, Celtic,
Suntan, and Noodle Head, all militants from the construction, and
carpenters’ sections. In support would be Frog, driving his
twin stoke box, and myself on the lookout under the awning at the
main entrance. The plan would go as follows : on a Sunday morning
at 7 AM, the four would enter the boarding school faking being
drunk and spewing : « We’re gonna fuck them all ».
make the guard come out, who then, once strayed from his jug
of chuck wine, would be taken and bound, while the two
other guys would grab the press and carry it to a van waiting
outside while I would be on the lookout at a street corner. Celtic
Suntan would be the ones taking out the machine and carry it
to the stolen van driven by César. Noodle Head and the
Blondie would escape in another car driven by Frog in which I
The most impressive
is how nervous we were, and it was increasing as the big day
approached. Frog, Blondie, Noodle Head and I decided
to board in the same house. That night Noodle Head having slipped
a glove on, tested on Frog’s jaw the sway to give his knock
and further frightened him to death as, without thinking, he punctuated
his knocks with loud ‘han’ in his direction.
Nervousness was such that upon going to bed Frog said in the dark
- Are you guys awake.
- Yes answered the Blondie. Even the Lord wouldn’t sleep..
When we got
to the rendez-vous point, at 6AM, everything was already set.
Blondie, Frog, Noodle Head and I were in the twin
the Suntan and Celtic, wearing Rank Xerox repairmen overalls,
were in a van driven by César. We were so frightened that
we stayed put for an hour half of us in front of a hedgerow,
of us behind, yet without ever meeting up. That morning we had
to postpone the job due to fear overdose. The bosses in Brujula
decided that we would be up again the following Sunday.
At 7PM we arrived at the Santander boarding house also called ‘piranha’s’ because
of the reputation for the accumulated sexual frensy of its lodgers. Noodle
Head and Blondie came in acting drunk and punking it up as usual. I stayed
at the door.
- Hey, where
do you think you’re going ? shouted the angry
guard as he bolted out of his booth.
- We’re gonna fuck all the broads here ! shouted Blondie
When the man reached them Noodle Head punched him so hard that
the poor guy fell flat on his belly bleeding profusely, yet still
twitching, as his furious attaker tried to knock him out as planned
and while Blondie was sectioning telephone wires.
The two guys
in overalls came in to pick up the machine. Blondie was painting
swastikas on the wall and under Noodle Head’s
wrath the guard wimpered :
- Don’t hit me! Don’t
hit me! me, I am a working man!
- Shut the fuck up! Don’t push or I’ll mess you up
Blood prevented the tape to stick to his mouth ;
They decided to stick him in a phone booth but they tied him up
so badly that the hysterical guard was able to get out moaning
and Noodle Head had to restrain him behind a door threatening
- Do not get
out, ‘cos we’re gonna wait and if you
don’t follow, you’ll really get it !
The guys in overalls had already left with the rotary press. As
soon Noodle Head and Blondie started to follow them, the guard,
bleeding from mouth and nose stumbled out behind in the street
- Help, help,
they’re trying to kill me.
We ran out to the cars. So nervous were my buddies that they had
not changed the licence plates and the real numbers were only taped
up. As soon as we climbed in the old box, it rumbled out just to
stop ten yards later. I came out to remove the tape from the plate,
but the car surged and with half of my body out I lost my balance
- Watch it fucker!!!
In our retreat we went down two streets the wrong way and a truck
was about to topple us over while the other one kept on shouting
in the middle of the street
- Help ! Help! They tried to kill me!
We left the area finally. We were all silent except for Noodle
Head, wide eyed, and mumbling:
- Why did he
put up a fight? I didn’t mean to hit him
And he was
looking at his carpenter’s fists.
– I didn’t
mean to .
forget the mix of his gilty eyes and pungent reek of sweat:
Seated behind, on my left, Noodle Head was near tears. Advocating
revolutionary violence was one thing, practicing it was very much
another, especially when you were fundamentaly a nice guy.
Blondie in the passenger seat, turned back and tried to calm him
- There, there,
Noodle Head, he’s a retired cop from the ‘guardia
civil’, a facist.
Noodle Head looked at me before answering.
- Easy for
you to say, you didn’t have to bash his head
On Main Steet as soon as we got off, Noodle Head and Blondie threw
away their blood stained shirts in the garbage and as we were going
to the security rendez-vous checkpoint my new buddies went over
the assault down to the smallest details.
- Fuck it, I hit him too hard, man. He was just a poor bloke like