by Harry Gamboa Jr.
Fade in from black.
A man and woman are standing on soapboxes with their heads covered by black hoods while their wrists are bound behind them. A hangman’s noose is placed around each of their necks.
Man: I don’t understand how this could be happening.
Woman: Shut your mouth.
Man: I never expected them to turn on us like this.
Woman: Stand straight or you’ll tip the box over.
Man: It was implied that no one could touch us.
Woman: The protective arc of self-delusion.
Man: Where’s my badge? What happened to my gun?
Woman: I swore my allegiance to the state and to my constituency. The lynch mob has a short memory.
Man: And a shorter rope.
Woman: We have rights as citizens but everything seems to be a nightmare of endless violations.
Man: I should have shot them all when I had the chance.
Woman: I outlawed common sense and enacted laws that would ensure autonomy from federal and foreign control. I’m a self-respecting official who believes in superiority of my kind and the absolute inferiority of the other kind.
Man: You’re not kind.
Woman: Those pink panties you’re wearing don’t make you any sweeter.
Man: Never thought I’d be out of my boxers.
Woman: They drugged me just like we used to sedate the children as they were being kidnapped on their way to school. It wasn’t the high I was hoping for.
Man: I was beaten into unconsciousness and then forcibly blessed by a riot baton.
Woman: The world is a rotten place.
Man: I don’t remember much of the trial. I couldn’t understand most of it.
Woman: It was in plain English but with an accent. Ugh.
Man: It’s hot out here in the desert sun.
Woman: I’m not so sure we’re on the outside. It could be that we’re inside a prison.
Man: The rope is feeling warm around my neck.
Woman: I heard someone say they were going to drag our carcasses across Yuma, Phoenix, Nogales, Scottsdale, and Mesa. Just doesn’t seem right.
Man: It’s those damn drugs. No one is talking but you and me.
Woman: Well, they can’t hang me. I’ve got so much more harm to do to all of those people.
Man: They used to fear me. I whipped so many women, children, and men. I made them crawl back across the border.
Woman: You’re uglier than any gila monster.
Man: The black bag is making you more attractive than ever.
Woman: I just don’t understand who is behind all of this. It just couldn’t have been the Right and it wouldn’t have been the Left.
Man: And those other people wouldn’t ever dream of doing this.
Woman: There’s a long list of suspects from the President, the United Nations, The World Court, to any of the cartels, or maybe even a few rogue do-gooder states.
Man: You’re delirious.
Woman: I’m not sure if we are alone or in front of a million people.
Man: Maybe a few billion on the Internet.
Woman: All the fame and glory.
Man: Only if it’s gory.
Woman: I won’t give in to their taunts. I need to rule and ruin.
Man: Where’s my posse?
Woman: They’ve been executed just like everyone else who played a role in our nefarious game.
Man: Hey, stop tugging at the rope.
Woman: Wait, I need to write my memoir.
The ropes lift the man and woman about a foot above the soap boxes. Their limp bodies dangle in the slight desert breeze.
Fade to black.
Harry Gamboa Jr. co-founded Asco (Spanish for nausea) 1972-1987, the East L.A. conceptual-performance art group. He has authored several books. His works have been exhibited nationally/internationally. He is a faculty member at California Institute of the Arts , Program in Photography and Media. He also lectures for Chicano/a Studies Department, CSU Northridge.
Archival image of Yoeme people hung for their resistance.