A Dutchman abroad — About a dying bull in Plaza del Torros , Spain

Valencia, Las Fallas, Spring ‘13

He staggers, stripes of blood are all over his tough pelt. Red drops sparkle in an early Spring sunlight and drop down from the many spears in his back.

Slowly, with his face close to the ground, he steps to the side of the arena. Long strokes of air escape from his giant nostrils. Everybody knows it’s over.

He finally knows.

Close to the wooden board, he stands still for the last time of his life. Is it a safe place to lie down? His final shelter. They all walked to the side, looking for a quiet and safe place to die. They all did.

A low sun brightens up half of the arena. A dark shadow splits the arena in half.

It’s silent. Like at a funeral. The old locals, with newspapers wrapped as hats around their heads, they don’t say a word now. No Olé’s now. No exited whispers like when the bull his weight was announced. It’s silent.

In the middle of this giant city. In this circle. Where there’s no escape from seeing death, no escape from seeing life. It’s silent.

And then, like a button is switched, the giant beast collapses to the ground. Dead. Red drops color the sand.

The Matador is on the other side of the circle. Patiently he waits. His sword, full of blood, is raised towards the sky.

Blindfolded horses stand on the side and nervously scrape their feet through the tightly raked sand. Not only bulls have to suffer here.

Minutes ago, everyone saw how the Matador saved his own life when diving behind one of the wooden walls at the side of the arena. His red rag was trampled while the giant beast hit the wooden wall with all its power.

So close. The upper timber snapped like a matchstick and was launched into the public. People cheered. Humans, happy to see fate be postponed. He almost won.

The Matador bows. People cheer louder and louder now.

Next to the bull, the Matador kneels down in the sand. With a firm gesture he chases his razor-sharp knife through the bull his ear. His trophy.

Ear in one hand, hat in the other hand, he gets back on his feed. People rise from their chairs. A thunderous applause follows.

But not from everyone. A dark shadow splits the arena in half.

A story by Martijn Droger

Thank you for being my audience.