She took the damp rag in her rough hands and lifted the tiny soldier. The tip of his rifle had a chip of missing paint. She set him down next to his comrades, 38 in all. Antiques, said the old man.
“It was inevitable,” she sighed to the lone gladiator. But after 32 years of cleaning and sanitizing their lives, she was less willing. Also less afraid. Except when the wife stumbled about in a fog of gin. Then the accusations would begin. Videla was never your friend! He was! He used you.
She picked up the miniature cannon and wiped it clean. It had taken her 10 years to believe her boy was gone. How many nights the women in the plaza had screamed at her in her sleep, but her father screamed louder. They’ll come for you too! So she never went. But last week, when he missed breakfast, she wandered into his room and found his sweet face contorted in death. Now there was no one.
Pleased with how she had rearranged the little army, she folded her rag and called the general to inspect his troops. (Such a silly game.) Eh, Senor, what do you think? But she did not wait for an answer. Instead, her long brown arm swung out with a fury she barely knew, sending the tiny men and their weapons somersaulting through the air, smashing into windows, objets d’art, and, overall, upsetting the peace.
“I am going to the plaza now,” she said.
Betty Kropf is an editor and writer who lives in Denver, Colorado. She was born in Louisiana and, from 1980-1986, resided in Lima, Peru, during the time of the Dirty War. She believes in the power of art to change the world.