They Looked The Other Way

This is set just after the 1923 robbery of the Bank of Spain in Gijón, Asturias by Buenaventura Durruti and Los Solidarios.

Gijon Calle Del Institutio 25

Gijón, September 1, 10:30 PM.

Bastián, Cloyo, and Alfonso sat around a table in El Ciego eating old boroña.

“I saw them all,” Cloyo said. “Everyone in Gijón knows me. I sit by the Bank and I ask for alms. A car stopped right next to me. I saw five men get out with pistols. I watched them go inside. Then I heard shots, the men came out and they drove away. The police came and talked to me.”

“I saw you today, Cloyo,” said Bastián. “I saw them too. The weather was nice and I was teaching my class on the terrace. The police know I live by the Bank and asked me if I saw anything. The children were facing me. Their backs were toward the bank. But I saw it all. I even recognized one of the men.”

Alfonso nodded. “I was driving to the barracks and saw them behind me. They were shooting into the air trying to make people move out of the way. I had four men in my truck. We had our rifles, but I pulled over and let them pass.”

“You could have stopped them,” said Bastián.

“We could have stopped them. We survived the Guerra del Rif. That is why I let them pass. I will kill no more for the State. And you could have identified them. What did you tell the police when they spoke to you, Bastián?”

“I told them I was busy teaching and that I saw nothing. I remember Ferrer. And I will not have any role in creating more prisoners.”

“What about you, Cloyo?” asked Alfonso, “You saw them best. And we know the police distrust you, a beggar. They must have pressed you hard.”

“I, too, distrust the police. And the police did press me hard,” affirmed Cloyo. “They took me in and they hit me. This is why I did all that I could to frustrate them. The car was black, but I told them it was white. The car went west, but I told them it went east.”

“We let them escape,” said Alfonso.

“No, we helped them escape,” replied Cloyo. “What do you think they will do with the money?”

“And who did you see?” asked Alfonso.

Bastián volunteered, “I don’t know what they will do with the money. But I recognized the man from a paper in Oviedo. It said that his name was Durruti and that he is the most vile of gangsters. Nonetheless, let us wish him the best.”



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