Five O’Clock Sharp in the Bullring
Miguel Ángel Aguilar
Translated by Lorin Stein
to the issue 8 page
It was according to Greenwich Time exactly five o'clock in the afternoon, the same hour as in García Lorca's "Lament for the death of Ignacio Sánchez Mejías". (At the Plaza Monumental the clock was set for seven because of daylight savings time.) At the correct moment, the president, the supreme authority in the plaza, let his white handkerchief float down over the railing of his box, at which signal the clarinets and timbales began to play, the gate opened, and the three matadors began the paseíllo, followed by the subalterns, picadors, monosabios, areneros and the team of mules. They crossed the center of the ring to the foot of the president’s stand, saluting and demonstrating that they were all in fine condition. The packed plaza was quiet. At that moment the crowd rose, and, as a single entity, broke into a torrential, passionate ovation that seemed to go on forever. Stepping into the ring, José Tomás responded with grace, beckoning to his fellow matadors in the ring so that they could share in the applause. The mounted alguacillos cleared the plaza, the bullpen opened, and out came the first bull of the evening, fought by Finito de Córdoba. Then it was José Tomás' turn and the delirium began.