Tourada

Listen to author

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Let’s posit you are a whale—a narwhal, say—who suddenly finds himself bound by surprisingly strong cordage, an unwilling participant of a whale fight—that is, a tourada. Let’s assume a cause for this. We’ll accept as a given that some virus, some parasite has weakened the native bull population so that they lack the strength to lash at a man dashing for their horns. Since no large land animals exist on this island, the men and women seek a solution in the sea. And since they are good Catholics, the leviathan (logically) bears the burden. Whole villages are needed. Festivals are organized. Religious texts are altered. It is all done to music and dancing. Given this, could you be the one to angrily dive before they could cut their ropes, their naked little feet no match for your massive tail fins: a sequin here and there, a bit of brightly colored fabric making its way to the surface? For although the whale is (by tradition) always allowed to live, the toreadors, on the other hand, work without the safety net since the danger has to be real, the deep truly deep, or the jokes in the shade trees will miss their marks. And if not, could you sleep knowing what you had done?