"The punk's shirt was in full focus now: the hideous visage of Che Guevara -- assasin, sadist, bumbler, fool, and whimpering, sniveling, blubbering coward, yet revered by millions of imbeciles."
The punk was doomed. The savage, deafening scream jerked him upright from the neighbor's lawn chair and he gaped in horror. His eyes looked like cueballs. His mouth quivered as he dropped his guitar in panic. Then he jerked it up again, got a two-handed grip on the neck, and prepared to swing it like an ax – perhaps his only defense against the lunatic who'd just hurdled the backyard fence and was closing in with fearsome speed, screaming and snarling as he ran. "You rotten Commie PUNK!!" I raved. " That's your Commie ass!"
I cleared the neighbor's garden in one bound, stumbled slightly over the hose and sprinkler and zeroed back in. Another twenty yards and I'll have him. "DAD!!" My daughter screamed from beside him. "NO!...are you CRAZY?!" She flapped her arms frantically..."MOM! – MOM! Do something! Hurry! – HURRY!!"
"No DAD!" my sons, also at the neighbors today, joined the chorus. "No! He's alright! He's our friend!"
Their screams meant nothing. Nor did those of my wife and guests, who yelled and babbled somewhere to my rear.
We had a gang over for the usual Sunday Bar-B-Cue of Shark-K-Bobs and Amberjack. The Bud was cold and foamy. The white wine, chilled and crisp. Both were depleting rapidly. The gals were pink-cheeked and giggly from the effects. The guys were uniformly upbeat, much rib-poking and eyebrow Grouchoing while anticipating the inevitable consequence later on.
But I was too far gone into my frenzy to join their ribald banter. I was positively rabid with rage, consumed with vengeance and blood-lust. It was glorious. Like back in high-school football, during homecoming, when I was closing on Buzzy Mc Kee, the star tight-end from Our Lady of Prompt Succor who trailed us by a field goal. With two seconds left on the clock Buzz was sprinting towards a perfectly aimed hail-mary bomb from his star quarterback.
Buzz was a huge brute. He'd just gripped the ball to his chest when I slammed him. I'll never forget the startled "Uuuugh!" at the contact. The awful smack of bone and hard plastic colliding with the force of two charging buffalo.
But that's all I remember. I got a mild concussion but stopped him on the third yard line as the clock ran out. Ahhh...the memories.....
I had the angle on Buzz back then. And I had the angle on this punk now. He was a strapping young buck and probably had 25 years and 50 pounds on me. But I was undaunted. What would my relatives and compatriots think if I wimped out? They'd stood their ground against swarms of Stalin tanks and Commie hordes who outnumbered them twenty-to-one at the glorious Battle of Playa Giron! This was the LEAST I could do in their honor!
My legs were pumping like pistons on a fully-revved engine. Pure rage is serious fuel.
The punk's shirt was in full focus now: the hideous visage of Che Guevara – assasin, sadist, bumbler, fool, and whimpering, sniveling, blubbering coward, yet revered by millions of imbeciles.
I'd already warned this punk once, just last week when I walked into my son's room as they strummed wimpy tunes on electric guitars. I jerked one from the punk's grasp, grabbed a pick and ripped into the slashing rythim of "Jumpin Jack Flash"
"It's a gas-gas-gas! – this!" I bellowed. "Now THIS is rock & roll!" Yes my friends, the Stones put Lucifer directing the Russian Revolution (killed the Czar and his ministers, Anastasia screamed in vain – Sympathy For The Devil). They're on the ball...speaking of which, my wife and her friends were sitting around the coffee table recently moaning and whining about our kids' music, Marilyn Manson's satanic messages and so forth – while tapping their feet and humming along to: Sympathy For the Devil, by our generations' all time favorites – a group who billed themselves as Their Satanic Majesties!
I walked out of the kitchen clad in my apron chuckling at their idiotic reasoning while waving my spatula for added effect – and was browbeaten savagely. "Oh Humberto!" They frowned " Go back in the Kitchen will ya!...And when's the Venison Marsala gonna be ready?! We're hungry!..And bring us some more wine will ya."
But back to the punk. After slashing away at the strings I looked down and saw the front of his shirt.
Remember Mikey Corleone's face right before he blows away Mc Cluskey in the restaurant? His eyes going crazy and all?" He was a picture of serenity next to me. "What's THIS?" I snarled. My eyeballs twirled crazily. My face twitched and the bile rose.
"What's what?" The baffled kid shrugged.
"What's on your shirt!" I snarled inches from his face. I was breathing heavily now. My face reddened...Remember Patton? Remember when he saw the poor kid in the hospital in Sicily with battle fatigue?
That soldier got of easy compared to my visitor. "You take that goddam shirt! ....Why I oughta shoot you right here!" I screamed as my offspring restrained me by the arms and neck.
"Sorry! – Sorry, Mr Humberto!" The poor kid gasped while looking down at his shirt. "I'm really sorry! Serious. But I didn't know who this guy was or nutin?' I just thought the shirt looked kinda cool."
"COOL?!" Why I oughta shoot ya right...!"
"No! Please!" The kid pleaded. "Robbie and Monica told me who he was and all – that he was a cowardly murderer and all, but that was when I was already here!"
Cowardly murderer INDEED! Che Guevara, the man who signed the death warrants for Cuba's Katyn massacre – only Cuba's was much bloodier, 20,000 men out of a population of 6.3 million. But don't look for this in the New York Times, my friends. Not a chance. This redoutable publication performed it's comradely role in the Polish Katyn massacre; it did no less for the Cuban.
A little history: the Soviets invaded Poland a month after the Nazis – oops! excuse me! I mean the Soviets "occupied" Poland. That's how FDR's propaganda organs all refer to it. Germans "invade" or "attack" you see. Soviets, "occupy" or "liberate", you see. Let's be clear on that.
Anyway after entering Poland the NKVD first order of business was to round up the Polish Army's officer corps. Then they trucked them to the Katyn Forest, bound them, gagged them and shot all 5000 of them in the nape of the neck. Standard Commie procedure here. Those officers would have undoubtedly led Poland's contras.
The Germans uncovered the mass graves in 1943 after occupying – oops! – I mean, after invading the area, excuse me. But (understandably, really) nobody believed them – except the Polish Government in Exile, then headquartered in London. To these Poles, many who fought the Bolsheviks in 1919, the massacre had all the earmarks of a Soviet operation. So they requested a Red Cross investigation.
Churchill and FDR replied with a quick: NYET!
At the Nuremberg trials the Poles wanted the matter taken up again. And again, the leaders of the "Soldiers of Democracy" the holy crusaders for the "Four Freedoms" and the "Atlantic Charter" replied: NYET!
The New York Times with Pulitzer prize-winning Walter Duranty prominent on it's staff, parroted the Stalinist line down to the last comma. The Germans were to blame for the massacre, and anyone who questioned this was a "fascist." And they persisted in this farce till well after the war.
Yes folks, dear Uncle Joe issued the script, the NYT recited it verbatim. And it did the same for Che twenty years later. Stalin's American echo chamber became Fidel's. No surprise here.
But like I said, Cuba's massacre was worse. From the minute he entered Havana Che's Stalinist goons started rounding up "counterevolutionaries", mostly Cuban army officers. They were labeled "Batistiano war criminals" en masse and the firing squads got busy.
"Viva Cuba Libre!" they yelled defiantly at their Red executioners. "Viva Christo Rey" ..yelled others. And "FUEGO!" yelled still others, refusing the blindfold and insisting on giving the "Fire!" order themselves.
What men! my friends. Cuba's finest! The ones who got out in time picked up arms and went right back at the Bay of Pigs. "No Dunkirk Here!" Barked their valiant commander Erneido Oliva ( a black Cuban Ms Waters and Mr Rangel) into his radio when Kennedy offered to evacuate them from the doomed beachhead – doomed by his own treachery, that is.
Yet these gallant men were labeled "War criminals" by Che, Castro – and naturally – the New York Times. But what "war" were they "criminals" in, most Cubans asked?
Oh sure, the New York Times had an unwitting comedian on it's staff named Herbert Mathews who reported from the middle of "massive battles" in the Cuban countryside with "thousands of casulaties."
Well, the (non-Castroite) elements of the the U.S embassy in Cuba conducted an independent investigation in 1960 and found that casuaties in these 2 years of "war" totalled 182 – on both sides! Hell man! New Orleans has an anuual murder rate almost double that!
Yet Che's firing squads riddled thousands of "War criminals" in a few months time. No matter. Trying to reason with the NYTimes is like trying to reason with my wife's friends. To the New York Times, as to Che and Fidel, anyone who protested the mass murder was a "Batistinao war criminal himself" – just like anyone who questioned the NYT's version of the Katyn Massacre was a "fascist."
Che knew what he was doing. He was a Stalinist to the core. He'd been a communist operative in Guatemala when the Red Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown by the Guatemalan army. And all you pinko professors please stifle the crap about Arbenz being a "leftist" or "nationalist' or "democratic socialist," okay? After the coup in 1956 Arbenz fled to Czechoslovakia, not Sweden.
Anyway, Che wasn't about to let it happen again in Cuba. So he decapitated the Cuban Military with his firing squads the minute he took power. Che was hell on smiting his enemies alright, but only when these enemies were bound and gagged. In actual battles he was consistently routed, stomped and humiliated.
"Don't shoot!" yelled the gallant Che when they cornered him in Bolivia. "I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!'
Compare that to the brave defiant yells of his thousands of victims. Their gallantry was lost on this sniveling coward, on this pathetic impostor, on this humorless pedant, on this blood-drenched bully, on this hopeless misogynist, on this rabid gun- nut – who became an icon to the MTV generation! Go figure!
And now I was closing on the punk with the Che T-shirt, my fists clenched and jaw set as my friends and family screamed from all sides.....But now he, along with my sons and daughter, were actually pointing at his shirt?....What the?...Looks like?....
Oooops! Yep – it's actually Jimmy Hendrix on his shirt! I'd been meaning to get my eyes checked. Well, like Rossanne Rosanadan used to say: "Never mind."
About the Author: Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in History from Tulane University. He's the author of the Fidel; Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant.