Thursday, 20 November 2008
The Liquorice Man
Everyone in San Pedro remembers the strange events of November 20, 1998. How could they not? That was the day the Liquorice Man came to stay.
He came in broad daylight; the morning, seeping from the pavement like thick black oil. Commuters spotted his birth and pointed and shrieked, like maybe they could claim this gusher and become rich.
Soon though, the liquid pooled and formed in ways that physics ordinarily would not allow. Then the people were startled and moved back; stepped away from the black phenomenon.
As the pool grew bigger, so the liquid seemed to suck up the blacks and greys of the tarmac and the pavement. The liquid swirled and flowed along atop itself, forming tubes of whirling slick that began to extend in arms, up, away from the pavement.
People where now visibly and audibly frightened. What started off as a magical natural phenomenon had soon turned into a biblical nightmare. With cries of ‘El Diablo’ filling the air, terrified shoppers and businessmen ran in all directions from the scene. And, as if in response to their screams, the strange arms began to thrash about, pulling down cables and smashing signposts and lampposts.
And, just as before with the pavement and the road, when the thing came into contact with these random objects of the street – the ephemera of daily life that it was haplessly trashing – it took hold of the different colours, of signs and posters and lampposts and screens, and added them to itself. Soon this Liquorice Man had grown into a strange kaleidoscopic swirl of colour, rotating and hurtling across its growing form with abandon.
Inevitably, though perhaps strange that it took over five minutes of mayhem before it occurred, the Liquorice Man smacked his whirling arm into a person. A woman, it was, named Maria Angelina Reyes. She passed away that day, her body sucked up into the vacuum arm of the thing and never seen again.
But the addition of Maria’s form to that of the Liquorice Man’s caused a strange thing to happen to him. His swirling arms began to slow their rotation, his colours separated, he began to crawl and curl less. People watching said that it took around three minutes but eventually, at seven minutes past nine o’clock, the strange entity that became known as Liquorice Man was completely frozen, there on the street that had spat him forth.
In the days and weeks that followed, many attempts were made to destroy the remains of this unholy creature and rid the street of its stain. But, no matter which tools were tried upon its arms, nor which priests were called to its exorcism, the creature’s corpse stood firm.
And so, it was the mayor of the town, Poncio Guadalupe, who proclaimed that the Liquorice Man should stay there on the street for all time, as a reminder to the people of San Pedro of the strange works of the Lord, and how it was a human spirit which defeated this awful being.
People – tourists – who walk by now see only a marvellous multi-coloured artwork; and they stop to take a picture there. But if you ever go, to the small town of San Pedro, stop there in silence and awe and remember that this thing is a creature, escaped from the dark places of this world and that it took the life of a young woman named Maria to bring it to peace.