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8715: Based on a true story (fwd)

From: STEVE <polanve@optonline.net>

By Steve White

Based on a true story

It was a cool evening sometime in the late 20th century, somewhere in the
mountains of Haiti's southern peninsula.  A group of local men were meeting
in a small cottage along a footpath that wound it way through the valley
between one small village and another.  It was the time of the year when the
darkness comes fairly early, and they were discussing events of the
neighborhood by candlelight.  Suddenly one of the men interrupts the
conversation, "Hey, who's walking by outside with a flashlight?" Another
responds "That's not Jean, his batteries are dead."  The men decide to
investigate.  Outside, three armed men, one carrying a flashlight, notice
they are being followed and break into a run.  One of them is somewhat
familiar with the area, but he does not know the changes in the path since
the last rains.  They arrive at the crossing of a small creek and find their
path cut off by a deep mudpit.  Realizing that they are trapped and
outnumbered, they throw their weapons in the stream.  The group of men
following, now somewhat increased in number, approach with pounding hearts.
They know this encounter could mean death for any one of them, but they are
resolute that outsiders shall not bring the terror they call "zenglendo"
into their little community nestled high in this mountain valley.  In this
rural setting, the web of relationships stretches out for miles around.  One
can walk about all day, past hundreds of little cottages, and not see anyone
who doesn't know your name.  Your name, your children's names, your
godchildren, who was at the market last Thursday, what they were selling,
the last time you were sick, whose horse is lame, whose sow has piglets, how
high the grass is in the meadow, whose flashlight has batteries.  There is
no room here for strangers with guns.  There is no time for explanations or
appeals.  The machetes fall, blood stains the mud.  Someone sets out on the
long ride to the police station.  The next afternoon police retrieve the
guns from the creek, and carry away the bodies to the cheers of onlookers.
That evening the men gather again to hold their candlelight meeting.