There is a crisis at Babalú. The Founding Editor and the Managing Editor are in conference at El Intransijente [sic]. Besides the usual statemate about who will pick up the check, something else weighs heavily on their minds. Charlie Bravo has reported on Killcastro that Fidel underwent an emergency operation last night for an undisclosed ailment and that his doctors had debated whether to put him in an induced coma, which usually indicates swelling of the brain. Charlie received this privileged information from Killcastro's contacts on the ground in Cuba.
Our readers will recall that earlier this year Val Prieto disclosed Killcastro's real identity on his own blog setting off a chain of events that culminated in a cracked skull for one of Killcastro's relatives in Cuba and a stint in jail for another. Now Val is in a quandary. The very informants whose lives he compromised, at great peril to themselves due to Val's outing of Killcastro, have reported that Fidel Castro is in extremis.
This news greatly distressed Val, not because he doesn't long for it to be true, but because he can't stand the idea that he's not going to be the first to report the long-awaited news after so many dry runs. Getting there "firstest with the mostest" is an obsession with Val and the prospect that he might just be "lastest with the leastest" is more than he can stand. Last time Val paired off with PerezHilton, Henry's classmate from Belén2, to sound the false alarm that had to be shot down by the White House on a Friday afternoon, no less. In August.
Well, it's Friday again. Friday the 13th, in fact. (The number "13" and its double have always been regarded by Fidel himself as the loadstars of his life). And Val is again contemplating whether to announce orbe ex urbe Fidel's death. The stakes are high. He has cried wolf one too many times. It would also be tawdry in the extreme to steal Killcastro's thunder when Val's past actions have hardly been those of a friend. Still, this may be the scoop that he's savored all these years and it may just be getting away from him. Val wants to strike whether the iron is hot or cold. Henry is trying his best to restrain him, but for how much longer?
"One day we're gonna be right [about Castro's death]. " -- Henry Louis Gómez
Yes, everybody dies.
But what matters is not that Castro is mortal. That is not in dispute.
What matters is being certain that he is dead before reporting it as a fact.