“My name is Ernesto Gallego and you appear to be lost.”
The pronunciation was flawless. He thickened the ll like a true andaluz. It was the nose that didn’t match.
“No, Señor, you appear to be lost. Chasing too many molinos today?”
The smell of industrial rot dripped off the waiter as he directed Ernesto Gallego to a table in la plaza. A Rioja as warm as the Sevilla sun awaited Señor Gallego, and he could only shake his head no.
“Gracias, pero no.”
There were other customers, other wines: all ignored. The waiter grew curious. Furious. He, after all, had the sangre of royal Castilla flowing through him.
“¿Espárragos con jamón serrano? ¿Chorizo a la plancha? ¿Paella valenciana?”
Each time, Señor Ernesto Gallego sadly shook his head no.
“Madre de Dios,” whispered the waiter in shame.
Ernie Goldstein walked out of Sevilla, kept walking all the way to the tip of Gibraltar. One foot slipped on a rock, kicked dust into the void. It was the monkey, the puppet of Winston Churchill, who saved Señor Goldstein. It was the turning to see it, the godlessness they both shared in that moment.
There was no tempranillo for the old Jew and the mono that day. But there, staring out into the sea, they could hear the cries of the Moors, the cackles of Ysabel. And there they sat, just in time for shabbat prayers, watching the sun set and sábado begin.
“¿Te gustaría un poco de vino kosher, querido mono?”
andaluz: a person from Andalucía
molinos: windmills (See: Don Quixote)
Rioja: a Spanish wine
“Gracias, pero no.”: Thank you, but no.
the sangre of royal Castilla: the blood of of royal Castille (see: Queen Isabel I. of Castille)
“¿Espárragos con jamón serrano? ¿Chorizo a la plancha? ¿Paella valenciana?”: all Spanish foods that have pork (chorizo and/or jamón)
tempranillo: a Spanish grape grown for red wines
Ysabel: (ibid.) Queen Isabel I. of Castille
shabbat: Hebrew for “sabbath”
“¿Te gustaría un poco de vino kosher, querido mono?”: Would you like a bit of kosher wine, dear monkey?