One stiff, a mummy and a funeral

Early Tuesday morning, in front of a small abandoned building on the road to the town of Jalpa, a kilometer in from the junction with the highway between San Miguel and Querétaro, and four kilometers from our ranch, two bodies were found, one hogtied and neatly bundled in a blanket, mummy-like, and the other more hastily covered with a piece of cardboard. The one in the mummy get-up was alive but badly bloodied, the other guy dead.

One slightly macabre detail is that the survivor reported that he and the deceased, one Juan Alejandro, aka as “El Furris,”  had attended a funeral in Dolores Hidalgo the day before. The report in El Correo was brief, carried no byline, and only scant details.

“El Furris” and his barely alive fellow mourner had been dumped off the previous afternoon, around  6 p.m., by men in a gray car and a brown RAM pickup, according to the news report, which didn’t  attribute any sources. The identity or motives of those involved in this grisly bit of business also were not mentioned.

“El Furris” was here, whoever he was.

Don’t expect any more details or follow-ups because I’m sure none are forthcoming.

In 2018, there were more than 3,000 murders in the state of Guanajuato, with Celaya, a hour from here and a favorite destination for San Miguel expats headed for Walmart or Home Depot, being one of the bloodiest hotspots.

(No, folks, Illinois, whose  population is more than twice as large as Guanajuato’s, and which includes my trigger-happy hometown of Chicago, doesn’t have anywhere near as many  murders.)

In the midst of such wave of killings, one or two bodies dumped by the side of the road don’t provoke any more public alarm or investigative news buzz than a truckload of avocados flipping over and leaving a trail of guacamole.

The most common supposition is that the drug cartels are fighting to infiltrate or control the lucrative black market in gasoline diverted from tapped pipelines or hijacked tanker trucks in Guanajuato and a few other states. But who knows?

The new president of Mexico has vowed to confront this racket, and the rampant corruption in the government-owned oil company. I support his efforts, though if the recent increase in violence is a pushback against his crackdown, this might be a case of better letting a brown bear snooze rather than poking it with a stick.
A Mexican friend who lives in Jalpa, about 10 kilometers from us, drove past the two bodies while driving his daughter to school Tuesday morning—the police had already arrived—but he didn’t even mention it to me when we met later in the day until I brought it up, and then he just shrugged his shoulders. Meh.

Many expats, though not all (I heard the news from my friend Billie who was concerned about my safety) adopt either an attitude of denial or “don’t ask, don’t tell,” when confronted with any unsettling news, such as rising insecurity and other blemishes that might tarnish San Miguel’s perfect colonial image. We just keep telling each other what a paradise this is, what lovely sunsets and perfect climate we have—all true—and then order drinks.

Meet my new guru.

I don’t blame such folks and, in fact, I’m slowly adopting the same stance. After all, there’s nothing we can do about murders, burglars or the failed Mexican criminal system, except hope the mayhem doesn’t catch up with us on the way to Costco to get a jumbo package of toilet paper.

Meanwhile, to anyone who asks how things are going here, I’m just going to invoke Lawrence Welk’s immortal words—”Wunnerful, wunnerful!”—and talk about something else.

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