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"The Castro Fiasco"

It was the Cuban Missile Crisis, we were very young, 
and I had a weird talent: using stage makeup. 
It seemed like a good idea at the time, 
and it was the night before Halloween. 
Those are all good reasons to go nuts and terrorize an entire city. 

The costume shop guy said this Halloween would be loaded with Castro's, 
in fact he was completely sold out of Castro masks and trick cigars. 
I had already bought army fatigues and cap, black boots, 
and a realistic toy M-1 rifle. 
Lack of a mask was not going to stop me. 

My early theater training went not for naught (not for naught?). 
Having sought out a store (I sought not for naught) selling stage makeup, 
I bought nose putty, black crepe hair, spirirt gum, and tan pancake. 
An hour later I looked EXACTLY like Castro! 
I knew it was good when Misty didn't laugh. 
She just said, "You are Castro!" 
Meanwhile, she had become a cowgirl. 

That was the point where I went nuts. 
I thought I was Fidel! 
I chewed my foot-and-a-half-long cigar, 
and swaggered like a man in command. 
This was just supposed to be a trial run, 
but it was too good to waste. 
We hit the Miami streets, 
not knowing what havoc was to be wrought (We wrought not for naught.) 
It was the night before Halloween, 
and the world wasn't ready for a couple of premature screwballs. 

We burst through the door of a prominent night spot, 
and the show stopped! 
The entertainers got the joke and called me on-stage for an interview. 
I told them, with a thick accent, 
that I just came over to get my welfare check. 

That was so much fun that we started making the rounds, 
winding up in North Miami Beach at 4 AM, 
bugging anybody we could find. 
I got out and hitchhiked, 
and cars turned around and went the other way. 
I lurked outside diners until somebody spotted me, 
then I'd disappear and let them try to tell the rest of the crowd. 
At one diner, four cops were sitting in a booth when I stood in front of the window. 
The rest of the customers saw me first and were laughing. 
When the police saw me they went for their guns, 
and everybody laughed harder. I melted into the shadows. 

At 5 AM, exhausted, laughed out, and hungry, 
we went into an all night restaurant, 
and waited for a waitress who never came. 
We finally gave up and walked out. 
We were met by a mob of police in uniform and plain clothes. 
Patrol cars were all over the place. 
I stuck my cigar in my mouth, straightened my "rifle", 
and we walked straight to our car. 
They watched us, uncertain what to do. 

A detective tapped on my window and I rolled it down. 

"I feel a little foolish," he said, 
"but we've had twenty-three calls tonight 
from citizens who swear they saw Fidel Castro. 
Do you mind if I pull your beard?" 

"It might come off," I said in American. 
We told him we were warming up for Halloween. 

The Miami Herald headlines the next day read: 
I did TV interviews in full makeup. 
They also interviewed the detective, who said we were nuts. 

Maybe we were, but we weren't nuts for naught.

Copyright  May 2, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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