The Great Rojas Pinilla and
Harry the Blind Dentist from Mitu #2

by Jesse Tangen-Mills

The Great Rojas Pinilla

Colombia’s 23rd president didn’t have a coup: he walked in the front door and Laureano Gomez walked out the back. Gomez knew that Rojas Pinilla could grow up to 50 feet tall, in high altitudes, no less. While he was president Pinilla would come home to eat dinner in his undershirt and share the day’s anecdotes, while his wife sat across from him asking irrelevant questions like if the food was warm enough. He talked about crushing rebels, constructing overpasses, designing airports, paving roads. Of progress there couldnít be enough. His wife scrubbed out the blood on his tattered pants without a peep, mended his shoes time and time again, even avoided mentioning the dried concrete under his finger nails, or the occasional bird feather stuck to his hair, before changing into her pajamas and lying at his side. When she slept she dreamt of Rojas walking over her family’s house. He dreamt of her dreaming him and felt even larger. How could he not give women the right to vote?

Harry the Blind Dentist from Mitu #2

Harry’s best friend is an economist from the Pastrana administration. The economist rides a bike everywhere. Everyone knows who he is, although that’s not uncommon; everyone knows who everyone is in Mitu. They get together on Sundays and play Diplomacy, a game the economist bought in the United States. This game uses no dice, which Harry’s best friend likes because he says thatís how life is; instead one must use the ability to broker and break deals in order to avoid propelling the World (their world) into the Great War. Harry wins, no thanks to his radar. He simply has a knack for negotiating. Harry doesn’t know the game takes place in their world, he thinks it’s his. That’s why he doesn’t understand all that shooting at night.


Jesse Tangen-Mills is a freelance writer living in Bogota, Colombia.