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July 2014, vol 10, no 2

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Paula Moore

Act of Faith

We linger at the painting Auto–Da-Fe on the Plaza Mayor in Madrid by Francisco Rizi, in Madrid’s Prado Museum. It is the Spanish Inquisition spectacle of June 30, 1680, in Plaza Mayor presided over by Roman Catholic Church clergy and witnessed by King Charles II and his new bride, Marie Louise d’ Orleans. On the right side, heretics wearing yellow dunce hats are paraded down makeshift bleachers in front of the sold out crowd. They face judgment for death by strangulation or burning.

As darkness falls, we taxi to Plaza Mayor. We drink pitchers of rioja at a bar lined with photos of superstar bullfighters in their dazzling Suits of Light. We wander the plaza, shopping for postcards, gold earrings and Ricardo-the-Bull tee shirts. Gypsies in frayed costumes beg for Euros; a rose seller; a man in a bleating sheep outfit; a tiny Carmen. A handsome juggler throws a torch at the sky and for just a second it catches on the brightest star.

tapas bar . . .
a waiter named Jesus
pours wine