Chapter 8 – Hernando

Today, we wish to take a break from our memoir to remember and honor our fallen friend and comrade, Hernando Descante del Morrow, who most may recall simply as Harry. It has been 10 years since Harry fell, in the service of his compadres, his country, and His Honor, that is, His Honor Judge Julio de la Sic Semper Magnanimous, or Judge Julio, for short. Ah, yes, El Juego Julio! But his is a remembrance for another day. Today, we honor Harry.

It was a fine day, the day Harry fell, at least up to that point. Afterwards, it wasn’t such a fine day. Not only was the land beset with the usual plagues, tornadoes, locusts and floods, it was beset with sorrow and, dare we say, grief, as word of Harry’s demise spread across it. Many rumors and much fake news about Harry and the events that precipitated his fall were propagated from all corners such that the truth was even harder to find than Harry’s body. Bandolero, however, found it (the truth, not the body), with toil and persistence after turning over and searching beneath rock upon rock, or rock after rock. In either case, it was an exhausting and far from diminutive undertaking on Bandolero’s part, something that none other than the most faithful of friends would have undertaken. But, he did, because he is Bandolero, and such is Bandolero’s way. What he ultimately found was, at first, unbelievable but, in the final analysis, true beyond belief. An earthquake had opened a hole of terrifying proportions into which Harry had been sucked in a gigantic gulp of nature. One can only try, if so inclined, to imagine the terror that must have gripped Harry as he clung to the edge of the gaping hole in those final seconds before he lost his grip. Yes, into it he did fall, as assuredly as if pushed by a surging crowd out of control in that sort of crushing terror that can only be wrought by the sudden and unexpected arrival of horribly disfigured and ugly alien beings from another world beyond comprehension whose mission is the eradication of all life on the planet. Yes, try to imagine the unimaginable horror that enveloped poor Harry at that moment, alone and without hope of rescue or salvation, for Harry knew in that instant that he had done things during his lifetime from which there could be no salvation. On the other hand, it is possible that, finding himself gripped in the iron hand of self-realization, Harry had succumbed to ennui and despair and simply fell in. Either way, Harry was going to hell.

Teetering on the edge of that gaping abyss, El Bandolero spied a singular rock that seemed to be calling to him. This was, indeed, fortunate, for in reaching out toward it he regained his balance and was saved from the same fate that swallowed Harry. Upon grasping the stone, Bandolero found upon one side of it the words that Harry had, in those final moments of tortured self-awareness and insight, inscribed: “Santo Diablo, tómame porque estoy listo. /s/ Hernando Descante del Morrow, su servante.” As the tears began to flow down El Bandolero’s cheeks, he discovered the inscription on the other side of the rock: “Santo Dios, tómame porque estoy listo. /s/ Hernando Descante del Morrow, su servante.” “Well,” thought El Bandolero, “Harry always did try to cover his bases but, either way, he’s gone now.”

Those who happen to be wandering along the same path that was taken that fateful day by Hernando Descante del Morrow can, if they are alert, spot the memorial placed there by Bandolero, the memorial inscribed by Harry himself as his last living act, other than screaming his lungs out as he plummeted to the bowels of the earth.