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Rodolfo Maroto wiped his brow with one glittering sleeve, Barcelona sun mercilessly hammering down upon him and the carnage before his eyes. The dust lining the floor of the ring swirled around his head like a swarm of near-microscopic insects, but just a few metres ahead real flies bobbed and weaved above the twisted bodies of both of the matador's faithful picadors.

El Diablo--Barcelona's largest, most ferocious bull--had effectively torn the two young men to shreds, and the crimson that once coursed through them swam with and caked the orange powder that carpeted the arena's floor. Sword in his right hand and flowing muleta in his left, Spain's finest matador faced the sweat-laquered black monster with anger pulsing inside of him. Maroto had entered the ring fifteen minutes ago in a show of dazzling pageantry, shimmering in the afternoon light like a sun god. Now he was panting, tense quarry opposite a sweat-lacquered, heavy-breathing--and fiercely intelligent--monster. The rumors of El Diablo being born from the loins of a demon felt less like the prattlings of superstitious peones and more like base reality to Rodolfo Maroto.

The slathering animal mob in the stands reacted to El Diablo's massacre of the picadors with exultant, almost orgasmic screaming and cheers, and they awaited the next move from their hometown hero. Maroto steeled himself, striding purposefully past his fallen friends. He still had one sure thing--Ramon.

Other competitors laughed at Maroto's pink and brown muleta, and at the young matador's tendency to talk to the cape as though it could hear him. He'd even named it Ramon. But it guided him in triumph through literally dozens of matches, and he never entered the arena without it. No bull could resist the smooth flow and gentle rustle of Ramon, and Maroto swore that the cape could speak to bulls as surely as one man could talk to another. With El Diablo, Ramon--and Rodolfo Maroto--would face the ultimate test.

Maroto now stood just a few metres away from the coal-black, snorting beast. The matador's almond eyes narrowed, and he drew Ramon out with one flourish of his left wrist. "Tell El Diablo what an ugly brute he is, and what awaits him in Hell," Rodolfo whispered to his muleta.

His hand danced back and forth, and the vivid pink of the cape lining began to emit strange noises with each pass. "Come take me, Stupido," Ramon muttered to the bull. "Satan will like the taste of you when you fall." One loud gust of air thundered forth from the bull's nostrils, and the beast charged.

The crowd roared like one large collective animal, and Rodolfo elegantly shifted his body to the right. El Diablo passed through Ramon's billowing mass. "Sweaty pig!" Ramon hissed as the bull missed Maroto's ribcage by mere centimetres. The matador spun 'round, parrying the dark beast's left horn with his own glittering sword.

The matador flicked his wrist again, gyrating Ramon with the speed of a hummingbird's wing, and Ramon hurled more insults at El Diablo, cursing the monster's parents and appearance. Time and again the bull tore forward at Ramon, missing the cape and its matador at every turn. Each pass finished with another roar of the crowd. Each pass fueled the fire of Rodolfo's hatred towards the beast that had killed his friends just minutes before.

The matador's almond eyes narrowed as he pulled Ramon close to his lips, whispering only one word into the cape like a conspirator: "Now."

Rodolfo hurled Ramon to his left, and the garment cut loose with a volley of insults that turned the ears of livestock from Pamplona to Barcelona blue. The infuriated bull emitted a throaty bellow and rocketed at the muleta with lightning speed. Ramon descended over El Diablo's head, and Maroto thrust his sword deeply into the monster's throat. With a loud groan and one violent shudder, El Diablo the Mighty fell, and the entire audience vaulted up from their seats with one exultant cheer.

Rodolfo Maroto pulled his weapon from his now-dead adversary and reached down to unwrap his cherished muleta from the beast's skull. Maroto tugged at the cloth, and it fell limply from El Diablo's carcass. The matador saw that the bull's left horn had pierced Ramon's surface and decisively ripped the cape nearly in half. A gasp escaped from his lips.

The crowd's applause and cheering died down as Maroto pulled Ramon to his face. "Goodbye, dear friend, and thank you." He sighed.

The bull is more attractive than the Matador. Art imitates life!!!!!

How wonderful! I dreamt of a friend, dressed in a toreador outfit, complete with purple pants, last night.

And today, I stumbled across the threshold of your blog.

Hurray for people watching!

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