JAN. 26. CHAP. II. SCROLL DOWN.
JAN. 27. CHAP. III. SCROLL FURTHER DOWN
JAN. 28. CHAP. IV SCROLL STILL FURTHER DOWN
JAN. 30. CHAP. V. REALLY SCROLL DOWN NOW.
THE WORLD'S GREATEST COMEDY TEAM: FIDEL & CHE (A True Story)
There are times when History makes mistakes. It is often colored by Governments, and lies are disguised as truths. Truths may become lies. I'm writing this down so that the World can know the truth.
Back in the late 50s they got Politics and Show Business all mixed up. (But then, they're still getting it all screwed up, especially since part of Hollywood doesn't know whether it is in Politics or Show Business even today.) But I'm getting ahead of my story. In the era I'm talking about there were these two guys in Havana, one named Fidel and the other named Che. Just their names along tell you that it was a perfect act. But, even if it had been reversed and called Che and Fidel, what-ever, it sounded good. The main thing is that they were each tryng to break into show business when they first met and they decided to join forces and make it into an Act.
At the time they were living in Havana, and occupying two seedy little rooms adjoining one another, a real flea-bag of a place above a bar with a broken-tiled floor, the usual type you found in one of those alleys lined with houses full of prostitutes near the waterfront. Their rooms were three flights up, stinkin' from a long history of drunks' vomit in the rooms and piss in the hallways. Che, at the time, was patterning his act after Stan Hardy, but he couldn't afford a real hat and so he swiped a beret from a drunken artist living on the second floor. He strutted around looking in the mirror (broken, like the tile floor downstairs), and tried mincing steps, big steps, gigantic steps, tripping steps, but nothing seemed to work right. He even tried a soft-shoe routine, but he couldn't seem to get the steps right and he kept dropping the cane when he attempted to twirl it around.
In the next room Fidel was growing a beard, but the fleas had gotten in it and were driving him nuts. He kept combing it, trying to get the eggs off the hairs on his chin, but then he'd find more.
After they discovered one another and finding that each wanted a career in Show Business, they decided to put their act together, but they needed something to make them stand out from other acts. Fidel got the idea of the uniforms when he recalled a Military Surplus Store he used to frequent when he went to college in the U.S. He thought that that'd be a kick, a big man and a little pipsqueak in soldier's fatiques or even camoflage suits, yep, that was it! Che laughed and suggested adding a big cigar, like Milton Berle, and then he strutted back and forth in front of that cracked mirror, blowing great clouds of smoke into the air. Well, that covered up the smell of vomit anyway.
He gave a cigar to Fidel and Castro, noticing how it covered the stench in the air in the room, kept one lit all day long after that. Now when Che pissed in the hall again, because he hated to walk down three floors to the toilet, he wouldn't smell it. Che was just a little piss-ant from Argentina, Fidel thought, but since he needed him in the act, he ignored his poor manners. Che had come from one of those dirt houses down on the Argentine Pampas. so Fidel tolerated the situation as best he could.
They practiced their routine for hours every day for a few weeks, and then went downstairs one afternoon, pushed some tables and chairs aside, and practiced their act in front of the drunks, the whores, some seamen from the ships in the harbor, a few venturesome tourists, and the lottery ticket sellers coming in off the street. Everyone thought that the act was a good one, well, at least those who were half-tanked up did. Che strutted around, cracking jokes, puffing smoke like the stacks of a Honduran banana boat, while Fidel crushed fleas between his thumbnails in between his lines. Che had the best lines, Fidel was sort of his foil, big, dim-witted, and using a high-pitched voice. Che strutted and had them all laughing at Fidel. Truth be told, that's exactly why Fidel hated Che, and vowed to get even with him, why he eventually sent him to Argentina and informed the government there about it, and eventually giving them the fatal tip-off about how to capture him.
They even had a sign made up, FIDEL & CHE, and hung it on the wall. It's still there, and it's venerated even today, as any Holy Shrine would be.
They were doing pretty good and thinking that maybe one day they'd get an agent and try to make it to Broadway in New York, and now even those who weren't too drunk were beginning to get their humor. Things were going pretty good for them and the owner of the bar was paying them a salary. It was still a third floor salary, and they could not afford to move down to the Palm Springs section of the hotel on the second floor, or the rooms behind the bar, but it was a living.
Robert Redford, taking a Hippie-tour of the Carribbean, stopped by and caught the act. He even bought them a couple of beers and told them that they looked like real revolutionaries to him. Fidel strummed the guitar and sang a few songs for him, and Costner never forgot that. Fidel never forgot either, because Kevin did not leave a tip.
Well, Fidel and Che were thinking about regular army when they got the uniform outfit, but Costner had now implanted a seed! Would the act be any better if they tried being revolutionaries? (That's the mistake that got Fidel into trouble and prison as well, but that comes later).
Chapter II. Jan. 26, 2004
Everything was going pretty well. He bought a chamber-pot for Che, which helped keep the hallway between their rooms cleaner , but Che almost got arrested when he emptied it from the third floor window one night. The whores were giving them a discount. The tourists were buying them a beer now and then, and even a rum and coke here and there, and the owner had even sent a woman up to wash the windows of their rooms and change the sheets, neither which had been done for 14 months.
Well, as I said, things were going pretty well for the Act, and they'd probably have made a film or two in Hollywood by now, what with the camoflage suits and all, perhaps even with Jane Fonda, but then all of a sudden they took a turn for the worse.
Word had spread all over Cuba about these two great comics, the one looking a little pimpish in his beret and the other one with the scraggly beard, and life seemed good. Good, that is until one night El General, Juan Batista came in to hear them. One of the Captains in the military had reported that these two comics were cracking jokes about him, and Batista and a few of his Mafia friends from New York strolled in on them. Both Che and Fidel, half tanked by that tine of the evening, went ahead with their regular act and used a few of their revolutionary jokes. That's when things turned sour.
Batista got this Wally Beery type of scowl on his face, and having had six straight shots of rum, he even stood up wavering like Wally playing the part of a drunken sailer, waving his hand and glass in the air. It brought down the house! Everyone roared, even the guys in the $600 suits sitting at his table.
In those days, no one laughed at the great Juan, and pretty soon guys in real uniforms were all over the place, in spite of the cracked tile floors. The whores ran screaming out the door and Che bailed out with them. Fidel babbled incoherently to the Captain, but they stuffed him in a station wagon and ran him down to the Army Barracks. They sentenced him to ten years as a revolutionary and put him in a special barracks. He had lucked out, because Batista had been so drunk that he didn't really remember what Fidel and Che had done. He was therefore inclined to be lenient. The Chicago Wise Guys with him only spoke Italian, so they missed it. All they knew was that Che and Fidel were funny looking with those big cigars, especially the skinny little one, Che.
The Trial wasn't very long; three witnesses to say that Fidel and Che had made jokes about the Hon. Presidente, Juan Batista, and ruling out any defense, the Judge sentenced him to ten years. Six soldiers in two jeeps took him away, but the prison was in a Military Barracks and he was given a large cell that once housed an important dignitary. Compared to his room in that flea-bag hotel, it was luxurious.
The food was also good, and now he began thinking that he enjoyed being a revolutionary a lot more than being a comedian. Damn, but this was the life. He even had his cigars every day as well, courtesy of the Colonel in charge of the prison, with whom he played chess two or three times a week. His sister brought him books and life was good. It was like living on Riviera, he thought, but he wasn't quite sure what living there was like. They even allowed him to have a little nookie now and then. Three of the prostitutes at the hotel drew straws each afternoon to see who would take his siesta with him.
He had almost forgotten about that little Argentinian piss-ant, Che, when he received a message through one of the girls. A small group of anti-Batista politicos had mistaken him for a revolutionary too and one night had taken him to a big house not far from the hotel for a clandestine meeting. Since he wore a Beret, they thought he might be a former member of the Green Berets and they needed someone with military knowledge and leadership abilities to help them topple Batista's government.
The men he met that evening were some of the wealthy landowners, and they were burning with a zeal like he'd not seen before, a zeal to get rid of Juan Batista and elect a new President. They had money and they were seeking recruits. Che pushed his beret further forward on his head to try to look more sinister, and asked how much cash they had to pay for a man with leadership abilities. Thousands of American dollars they said, and that's when a little pissant from Argentina decided to become a revolutionary in Cuba.
JAN. 30, 2004
Fidel was having a great time in Batista's jail, and he thought that for a Dictator the man did not know how to act. He' didn't have the balls to be a great Dictator, just a mediocre one controlled by the N.Y. Mafia, that's all.
He was reading Mein Kampf again as well as other books about Hitler and he thought that there was a guy who really knew how a Dictator should act. If he was ever a Dictator, he thought, he'd pattern himself after Hitler.
The more he thought about it, the more he thought he'd like to take over in Batista's place. He knew how to act, and he knew how to be a terrible (terrific) Dictator.