With Pedro Moncayo

It was hot in the sun at the plaza. It was good to be out of the cold of the higher mountains. I sat on a wooden bench and watched the Ecuadorian hippies making music. One played a guitar and the other a bongo drum. They were dirty and shoeless and looked in my direction longingly. In the plaza center pigeons alighted on the head of the bronze statue of Pedro Moncayo. There were two pigeons sitting on his head and one defecated and the feces ran down his forehead and slowly down the bridge of his nose. Another pigeon defecated and the feces ran along the same line, a grayish glob collecting at the tip of Moncayo‘s nose. A third defecation caused the feces to grow too heavy and it dropped to the stone base of the statue.

A filthy little black boy with a big, unkept afro was wandering around the park. He was coughing heavily and spitting. He sounded tubercular and seemed to take delight in walking near people and spitting up his phlegm. He would come very close to them and start coughing and spitting. I watched him as he came up from behind me. Beside my bench the black boy got down on his knees and spit up a great quantity of green mucus onto the stone path. Then he began to trace his finger through the mucus making some sort of design with it. I moved to another bench. I was immunized for tuberculosis but I did not want to chance it. The black boy continued to outline something in his phlegm. He was very serious about it.

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