We Were Conquistadors

100 word stories. Post all you like, maybe we'll dip in and use yours?
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Flintknapper
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We Were Conquistadors

Post by Flintknapper » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:03 pm

Captain Carabajal had found me loading a ball into my musket. He stopped me.

“Load shot instead.” Captain instructed. “A single ball kills one. Shrapnel injures many. “

I did as he said and took aim at the crowd. My hands shook and my pulse raced as I pulled the trigger. Then a thunderous boom and the screams of agony filled my head.

From somewhere in the fog of war, Carabajal ordered the advance. I pulled forth my sword and charged. Hacking through flesh and bone, I provided absolution.

Was it for their sins or my own? I know not.

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Thomas Daulton
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Thomas Daulton » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:44 am

I like this one! Evocative. Does a good job of defining a character. And the Aztec stuff is always a favorite topic of mine... ( http://www.drabblecast.org/forums/viewt ... =10&t=2694 )
"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost." --J.R.R. TOLKIEN

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Flintknapper
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Flintknapper » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:17 pm

Thanks Thomas. I mostly try to write fiction about sixteenth and seventeenth century New Mexico, either from a Native American or Spanish point of view. If you interested, I got a ton more down the drabble list and in the short story forum. I am going to post Giusewa, a story I originally wrote for a pseudopod flash fiction contest.

Also your pop up ad drabble made me laugh.

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Thomas Daulton
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Thomas Daulton » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:41 pm

Thanks Flintknapper! Yes, I've been perusing the forums after a long absence and I see that this type of thing is your bailiwick. I've read a half-dozen of yours and this is the one I like best so far (second favorite might be Deer Dance). Funny enough, although I live in California, my mom lives in Santa Fe, so a week ago I was watching a Zia dance ceremony as I was out there visiting her. I'm certainly a gringo but I've hung out with Navajo and Chichimeca at times for my work (it's a complicated story). So I appreciate your stories in this general vein. Looking forward to some more.
"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost." --J.R.R. TOLKIEN

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Thomas Daulton
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Thomas Daulton » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:45 pm

As for "A single ball kills one," I heard a quote attributed to Tenskwatawa in a song, "A tomahawk holds a hundred deaths, a musket holds but one".
"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost." --J.R.R. TOLKIEN

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Thomas Daulton
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Thomas Daulton » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:56 pm

...aaaaand at the top of the Drabble list, I just posted my own Drabble with a Southwest cowboy/Native American theme...

I swear, I've been sitting on those two Drabbles, thinking I should write them up, for at least three months before I checked into the forum and started reading your stuff!

:)

Still got at least one more in me, not Western themed, but I think I'll only post one a day at most.
"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost." --J.R.R. TOLKIEN

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Flintknapper
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Flintknapper » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:21 pm

I bet you probably saw Zia's feast day dance, it was held on August 15 to honor Our Lady of Assumption.

As for Santa Fe, I know the town well. I worked as an archaeologist in the town for over a decade before being promoted to manager at Jemez Historic Site. I even was awarded the City of Santa Fe 2012 Heritage Preservation Award from Mayor Coss. I supervised excavations of Ogapogeh underneath the current convention center and was the lead researcher on all the recent development around the State Capitol Building. It was all good times.

In any event, thanks for the feedback. Good to know that you find my southwest narratives fascinating.

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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Varda » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:26 pm

Excellent Drabble, Flintknapper. One of your best. Plays off of that whole problem of compliance: when, in a time of war, are you culpable for your actions because you were ordered to do things?

I also like the ambiguity of "hacking through flesh and bone". It's a horrific image, and upon a second read, I saw that it might imply that he turned on his commander after the order was given. Very interesting. Lots of layers in this one.
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Flintknapper
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Flintknapper » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:16 pm

Thanks Varda.

I am glad you like a little vagary. It reminds me of another piece I wrote featuring Captain Carabajal. In Giusewa the priest mentions killing demons and throwing them back into the pit. I submitted it for the Pseudopod contest (and just recently posted it in the short story forums). I remember somebody commenting, I do not think they were demons at all. That was true. I had not written about demons but rather humanity's need to suppress the other and fear that which is different from themselves. In that case, they were Indians wearing kachina masks, but to the priest writing the account, they were demons. Things be crushed before the light of god.

While in this tale, I totally envisioned writing that he was wading into a mass of dying pueblo Indians, I like the ambiguity. Also the inhumanity of colonialism, ethnocentrism, racism, and slavery really fascinate me. I think in some ways it is hard for us to come terms with these concepts and our past (sometimes present) actions.

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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Scattercat » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:31 pm

The title on this one sent me haring off, looking for other pop culture references and trying to find the "joke" that I appeared to be missing. Perhaps just "Conquistadors"?

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Thomas Daulton
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Thomas Daulton » Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:43 pm

Re: Pop culture reference in the title, the decay of the once- [from the average European's point of view] holy and noble mission to colonize and baptize the New World, down into the realities of senseless war, corruption and greed, may perhaps be the European flip-side of the sullying of Native culture seen in the book/film "Once Were Warriors"- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Were_ ... %28film%29. I haven't read/seen the movie but I've heard a bit about it.
"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost." --J.R.R. TOLKIEN

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Flintknapper
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Flintknapper » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:56 pm

Scattercat wrote:The title on this one sent me haring off, looking for other pop culture references and trying to find the "joke" that I appeared to be missing. Perhaps just "Conquistadors"?

::scratches head::

umm... well.. Mel Gibson and Captain Carabajal are both racists... lol.

No relation. It is what came to me when I wrote it. "We were Conquistadors" is a play off we were soldiers, but I didn't even think of the movie. I was thinking of it as a justification for one's actions. Often when you hear people talking about war and their own actions, it will start with a phrase such as we were soldiers... This is given almost as a justification for taking lives and performing atrocities that in any other context would not go without punishment. However, those sins do not wash away. Some can never look past them.

Now given though that you point out the movie, Absolution may have been a better title for this drabble. Thanks for the feedback.

If it ever gets printed anywhere, I will change the title.

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strawman
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by strawman » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:07 pm

If you change the old religious impulse to think of it as simple cultural imperialism, I see many parallels to the modern US conceits of political correctness we try to impose on the rest of the world. Self righteousness is just as destruction on the right or the left. And it's always easier to think others can be forced to change than to change your own ways.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

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Flintknapper
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Flintknapper » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:07 pm

Absolutely strawman.

I do not think it is a far jump from the colonial enterprises of the 16th and 17th centuries to the western capitalism of today. Hell they are not separate entities. One gave way to the other.

I think the bigger conundrum is trying to wrap our heads around the renaissance. In school children are taught that it was a time of great learning and rebirth. A time when Europe crawled out of the dark ages and into an age of enlightenment. However the age of discovery occurs during this period. In our rush for discovery, we ushered in a time darker than any other. Europe didn't invent slavery but it turned it into a global enterprise. We destroyed innumerable cultures. Disease ran rampant. In Jemez Province (where I work) we can look at numbers provided by the Spanish and within the course of a century the population of the Jemez people went from about 15,000 to 300 (98% reduction). It was an apocalypse brought on by western expansion. I was trying to get that across with the drabble Native American Post-Apocalypse a while ago.

It wasn't just the Americas either. It was everywhere. It even ushered in the destruction of Native European cultures that ultimately were subsumed within national or regional cultural identities.

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strawman
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by strawman » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:41 pm

A while back, I posted a comment suggesting that the same impulses may account for the extinction of Neanderthals. They must also have had a culture.
As I see it, when we refer to 'our culture', it is a blend of competing cultures struggling within a larger whole, which still asserts its own superiority and seeks to prevail across the universe, like The Borg.
How is our culture different in that respect from the Europeans of the Enlightenment, or the Mongols of Genghis Khan?
Essentially, from our genes on up, the judgments of all human beings seem to be hard-wired for subjective self-interest rather than the doing to others what we would have them do to us.
This is why Genesis appeals to me as fundamental truth. The great fall of man is his hubristic desire to decide for himself what is good and what is evil. And so Cain kills Abel. And so the life of the one who accepted suffering and death in order to teach "Love one another as I have loved you" would be turned into religions in which Cain kills Abel again and again, with swords and bullets, and with drones.

Still, we decide for ourselves, and justify ourselves, without seeming to measure our own personal accountability for humanity.

Chesterton, when asked what was the chief problem with the world, said, "I am".
I am fallen, and I can't get up. I am wrong, and I can't get it right. I am at war with a culture that seeks to turn that "I" into a "he" and a "they".

I am at war with myself.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Flintknapper
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Flintknapper » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:09 pm

Hey Strawman, that is a damn fine poem you wrote. I had missed that one when you posted it earlier.

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strawman
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by strawman » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:57 pm

Thanks!
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Scattercat
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by Scattercat » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:39 am

It's worth noting that altruism is also hard-wired into our genes. We're monkeys, but we're social monkeys.

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strawman
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Re: We Were Conquistadors

Post by strawman » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:31 pm

Yes, thanks for that needed observation.
Clearly, we're being messed with.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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