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Last Stand

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.

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.

Copyright © Harry Gamboa Jr.. All rights reserved.