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Jay Marvin

FIDEL'S SECRET AGENT

He calls you up to the blackboard and you stand in front of the whole class. The figures stare at you in white chalk, but you can't make anything out of them. It's like your head is blank, dead, there's no here and now and no tomorrow. You loose track of time god knows how long your up there. The whole class laughs. You sit down stunned, wounded, you'd like the whole fucking class to die. But most of all you want your tormentor to die. You escape the moment by think of ways to kill your math teacher. You've read stories in the papers about service men in Nam fragging their own commanding officers. You feel the grenade in your palm and you roll it under his desk and it goes off with a. . . .

At home their all gathered around the dinner table. You pick at your food watching them your insides coiled like a snake. You watch him eat and drink his water in huge gulps. He talks about the quality of the food. This drives you crazy. This man is supposed to be your father yet you have nothing in common with him. You don't want to have anything in common with him. You'd like to get up out of your chair and push his god damn head into his plate. Across from you sit his two girls from another marriage. You look at them, you see them everyday, but you don't really know them. The family: all of you under one roof bumping into each other living together fucked up as hell. It's like your on some kind of movie set and you wish you had a saw to cut a hole in which you could escape. You don't live life you try to survive it. The phone rings and he gets it. He's talking about you. The others at the table are sitting still listening. You get it at school you get it at home. Your mother gets up and fiddles in the kitchen. He continues to talk on the phone you hear your name repeatedly. He hangs up and sits back down at the table. Seems your math teacher doesn't want you in his class anymore. He says you are flunking and that you won't do your work. The others giggle. You ignore them knowing you'll get them later. Starting tonight, he announces, you'll get no television, and you'll go to your room until you start doing your work and your grades improve. This is the deal he's worked out for you so you can stay in math class.

In your room you sit at your desk and turn on your short-wave radio very low as to not let the guards catch the prisoner with any special privileges. The radio plays a station from the country of Cuba. You hear about this man named Fidel and how he keeps telling the U.S. imperialists to jam it. You like that. Maybe if Fidel were here he'd tell your math teacher, your stepfather and the rest of the household to jam it. You decide to listen every night. You'll be come a communist, and while others cheer for your country you'll cheer for Fidel's. And when the Cuban people win in their battle with U.S. imperialism Fidel will come liberate you. There will be trials and those who committed unjust crimes against you will be tried in a revolutionary court of law. It will be a people's tribunal and you'll be the judge and prosecutor. You'll present evidence and take testimony, and in the end they'll plead for forgiveness and mercy. And you'll ask who gave you mercy when they were in control and took him prisoner and subjected him to torments and abuse? There won't be jails big enough to hold everyone you'll try and convict.

The radio glows hot with non stop programming from the Caribbean. You rub your eyes and make a pact with God and Fidel you'll be his secret agent here in America; in the belly of the beast. You disconnect your receiver, hide it under your bed like in the movies, and turn off the light. You get undressed in the dark a smile on your face. You're a guerrilla fighter: a man with a purpose and tomorrow you'll start to prepare yourself for the coming revolution in which all men will be free from exploration! For the first time in your life you feel like you'll survive.

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