João Diogo Zagalo (short story and music)
Catarina Coelho (illustration)
Catarina Coelho, Tinta Sumi e guache em papel (33 x 26 cm), 2020
After many years and countless but fruitless attempts, The Lone Ranger finally succeeded in arresting his old nemesis, the redoubtable Tiny Tom, on February the 5th, following an epic and intense hand-to-hand duel.
Since that day Tiny Tom has been detained in Santa Eulália Penitentiary. On November the 10th, while at the game reserve and having just finished skinning a gazelle (the gazelle had always lived free and happy at the reserve and was killed with the utmost dignity, in a fair fight), The Lone Ranger received a letter from Tiny Tom:
“Dear Lone Ranger: I trust you are in good health. I am writing you this letter sitting on my old, flea-ridden feather mattress. My cell (cell 03, First Floor, Wing A) is 3,35 m long X 3,80 m wide X 3 m high and I share it with two other inmates.
I have no privacy – the toilet, just a loo and a sink, is part of the cell, lacking any partition. I am forced to remain here in this small cubicle, comprising nothing more than 3 bunks, 1 chair, and 1 closet, with my two companions in misfortune. Every day I hear my cellmates protest (personal problems, cries, existential angst).
Bedbugs invade the walls and windows of my cell. The barred window is the daily haunt of cooing pigeons and sparrows.
The food is horrible – in the morning, stale bread rolls spread with a little butter. Lunch and dinner – soup without oil, raw or undercooked chicken, subpar fruit. Hard tap water filled with chemicals is the only drink I am given.
Recreational and cultural activities are almost nonexistent: I am enrolled in the program for the Promotion of Moral and Ethical Development. My name figures in the roster of football players. I am part of the Youthful Challenges support group. I receive spiritual and religious counselling – Catholic Church.
I feel sad and despondent”.
Pensive, the Lone Ranger put the letter aside. And then he said to Tonto:
“Let’s go, we can’t let this be”.
On November the 11th, The Lone Ranger (riding his horse “Silver”) and Tonto (riding his horse “Scout”) break into Santa Eulália Penitentiary. The Lone Ranger dictates a petition to Tonto, addressed to the Sentence Enforcement Court.
“We hereby proceed to rescue the inmate Tiny Tom as we are against the inhuman treatment inflicted on this citizen. The area in which the inmate wastes away, gaoled, stands in violation of articles 3 and 8 of the Correctional Facility Statute. It is tantamount to stress, depression, and human torture…”
As the stops dictating the letter to Tonto for a few seconds, and with is rifle in his left hand, The Lone Ranger blows a prison guard’s brains out (with no suffering for the victim). For his part, Tonto also stops writing the letter for a brief moment while firmly, dexterously and painlessly scalping an inmate in the yard.
Singing in Mass, one of the activities included in the program for the Promotion of Moral and Ethical Development, Tiny Tom is oblivious to all the surrounding turmoil.
“What a sunny day!”, exclaims The Lone Ranger.
“Is ‘sunny’ spelled with an ‘o’ or a ‘u’?, asks Tonto, as he resumes writing the letter with his left hand, all the while scalping with his right one, showing great skill, a few more people.
[Translated by Vasco Teles de Menezes]