The Temptation of Jorge
Once, in Betancuria, a farmer called Jorge sat on the high stool of an empty bar sipping his fourth beer.
The barroom was empty except for himself and the barman who was busy at the other end of the bar chopping lemons.
Outside the hot sun was burning on the quiet siesta streets, but inside it was dark and cool.
Jorge watched the barman chopping the lemons into quarters then dropping them into a large white plastic container. He was getting ready for the nighttime rush.
Lemons, Jorge thought, that’s all that life has given me. All my life I have tried to do what is right but I have had no luck. Everything I touch turns to shit.
Jorge closed his eyes and held his head in his palm. Then he began to rub the hot throbbing pain in his brain.
When he opened his eyes again he looked into the mirror behind the bar but did not see his sweaty self staring back. Instead the mirror had become a window into a vast, lush green vista and Jorge was there in the distance, smiling and happy with all the things he had ever wanted around him. He looked fit and healthy, clean shaven in fresh white linen. Beside him stood his Maria and their son Javier. Their old home was behind them, freshly painted white and blue and the land was rich with crops and cattle. In the distance the sun burned, a bright corona of flames around it.
Then a voice spoke, a dark rich voice. Jorge was sure he’d heard it before.
‘This is what awaits you if you will do as I command. Kill the barman and you will receive all you desire in this life. The barman is a rapist of children. He deserves to die.’
Jorge wanted the vision he saw – he felt it in his heart – but at what cost?
‘Are you alright friend?’
The barman stood in front of Jorge. He smiled showing bright white teeth.
‘You’ve been talking to yourself. Maybe you’ve had enough to drink. Why don’t you go home? Get some food and rest, eh?’
‘Yes.’ Jorge said. ‘I should go.’
Jorge stood up to leave, then took another look in the mirror. The vision was gone. It was just a mirror again and he was a sweaty mess. He ran his hand through his greasy hair and stepped out into the bright afternoon. The hot sun hurt his eyes so he quickly stepped back into the shadow of the doorway.
‘But I have no home to go to.’
Then he looked back into the bar. The barman was still cutting lemons into quarters. He was all alone.
Jorge stepped back into the bar.