THEY WERE GOOD GIRLS
She looked up at him
As he drooled onto her face
Oh God why
This is ridiculous
As she continued
To feel him inside her
She wondered it was too late to ask him
“Would you get the hell out of me”
“Girls, please come home from Hell, open the doors of the Inferno and let yourself out. You have the key. It is of your own making.”
She knew because she built one hell of a good one for her.
The passive nature of women. No more.
The early sad love life of one of the sisters before her revolver knew better.
The sisters were good girls. They were born with silver spoons in their mouths. They had no wants. The girls did not lack in life. Their mother and father, who lived in separate parts on the hacienda, sent the girls to be the best convent school in the state of Chihuahua. The mother's only desire was that one of her daughter's would be caught up with the spirit of The Blessed Redeemer and become a nun. Maybe, the Lord be merciful, one of her daughters would become the spiritual sister to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Expecting both daughters to become nuns would be beyond her wildest dreams. The mother had wished she became a nun rather than her older sister, Camille. As a nun she would have been protected from a man's naked lusts. She cringed when her husband came inside her. He smelt of booze, cigars, sweat and dead semen. And his mistress’s perfume.
The girls went stridently to school like soldiers marching off to war. They knew the catechism by heart. Sister Martha was their model and guide to a spiritual life. The sisters were told God had a special plan for them. They believed it in their heart of hearts. What the sister did not know, between two of them that would be the nun and which would be the sex slave of a marriage. The sisters were given no other choices of a future.
When the young sisters looked about the world each prayed they would be the one chosen by God for the convent. Because when they looked about what they saw . . .
The 15 year old daughter
Got herself pregnant
In hope of escaping her father's beatings
The 37 year old wife committed suicide
In hope of escaping her husband's beatings
The 16 year old son
Whipping up his father's anger
In hope of receiving his father’s beatings
(hoping to send his father to jail) The son enraged his father to the point he throw his son through a window. The father did not go to jail. The son was sent to an orphanage. In 2 years the 16 year old son would be sentenced to prison for murder He raped and killed a Tarahumara girl. He thought no one would notice
The father died an old man alone
The son lost his sense of humor & died in prison
The 15 year old daughter was beaten by her husband
Until pronounced dead
In the summer of 1907, the father took his daughters by carriage to Ciudad Chihuahua for a Saturday afternoon. The sisters shopped with their nanny while their father visited Dama Katrina, his mistress. Chihuahua seemed noisy and rude to their ears. It smelled and everything seemed dirty. But it was not the chaotic sights that captured the youthful eyes of the sisters. It was not the fine dresses the nanny showed them in the shops. It was not the beautiful young women with their parasols and gentlemen friends strolling the parks and plazas. None of these sights were of interest to the sisters.
It was something else that captured their eye and sympathy. It was the boys and girls their own age without shoes, clothes barely holding together draped over their thin bodies, that captured their round eyes. On the faces of los olvidados, once and a while, a look of childhood would flash across a faces, but mostly the poor children begging for money or food had no traces of childhood. The children would scatter as a shopkeeper chased them away with a broom, or a lady and her gentleman would kick them aside like detritus.
Heaven has evicted the forgotten
And Hell had no vacancy
The unwashed children had no choice
But to return where they were not wanted on the voyage
It was not so bad
Dr. Daemon had ways to amuse away their days
Until Hell made room for them
On the way home the sisters asked their father about the barefooted children, but he dismissed, with a wave of his hand, the poor children as shiftless, lazy and lacking in Christian character.
"These children lack personal ambition."
As the sisters were preparing for bed they asked the nanny the same question. Her answer, the sisters expecting the same as reply as their father, hit them like an open hand across the face.
“The land was rich and could support its people, but there are men who think the land belongs to them because they have pure blood,” the nanny pounded her chest, “a pure blood linking them to their ancestors, to the Mexican Empire and the Kingdom of Spain.”
When they returned to school the words of the nuns sounded hollow. The holy sisters spoke every pious word anointed by the Church, but the sisters did not hear the words of Jesus in the teachings of the nuns. "Blessed are the poor." The nuns, too, like their father, blamed the poor for their own misery. The poor always wanted more. Refused to accept the destiny set out for them in God’s mysterious plan. God placed every man in his place and it was man's religious duty to accept God's plan. If the poor tried to rise above their station they were defying God's plan. Nor did they pray to our Savior with submission. The poor looked with scorn upon their masters, and the church. The poor were already wrapped in the unholy trappings of Satan. The words of the nuns sounded ugly to the ears of the sisters. In their childhood hearts they knew Sister Martha was wrong. It would be up to the children of the world to do something, something that was the true Logos. No amount of washing could expunge the disease of the nuns' teaching.
The sisters initially rebelled by asking questions. Each question reddened the angry faces of the nuns. The nuns disciplined the girls but all to no success. The sisters were insolent and unruly. The sisters were punished, strapped, were refused the sacraments and spent many hours in forced silence.
Their parents were sent letters informing them of their daughters' bad turn. Their mother and father spoke to the girls. They threatened them. They knew how hot their father’s temper was but they had vowed not to be moved by it.
"I am the master of this house. You will do what you are told while you are living under this roof," barked the father.
His arm was cocked. It came down on the shoulder of Francesca. Maria Guadalupe tried to deflect the blow but her mother pulled her aside.
their father ruled the house with an iron first
an iron foot as well
if the truth be known
their father ruled the house with an iron fist
with an iron fist
a iron foot as well
if the truth be known
he took his daily abasement out at home
abasement at home
Why not take it out at home
where the man was the brute of his castle
where the man was the brute of his castle
Rebellion was worth the price. An iron fist, an iron foot, if the truth be known, could not beat the fervor.
Eventually, the sisters were expelled from the school.
Their parents hired tutors, but whenever the sisters could sneak away, they would make their way to neighboring los aldeas. And they were always walked barefoot.
The sisters ceased eating sweets. Their food became simpler. They wore clothes of plainer of cloth. They shunned their youthful dresses adorned with bows and lace. Their mother was mortified.
“What will people think?”
Nearly two decades later a priest working among the poor of the barrio told the sisters of a young girl in France, born to a bourgeois family, also walked to school in barefoot in solidarity with the poor children of Paris.
They became curious about insects, flowers, architecture and poetry. They became curious about boys. They experimented.
Things deteriorated so badly between them and their parents by 1910 the sisters were threatened by disownment. The sisters answered by disowning their parents. The sister had found a new family.
The father raised his arm to strike his daughters. Their mother saw Death in his fists and, as fearful as she was for their souls, grabbed her husband's arm. He shook his wife loose, hit her on the side of her face with his fist. The mother fell to the floor. Weeping. The Father stormed off, presumably to see Dama Katrina.
Francesca and Maria Guadalupe were unmoved.
He beat his wife before they were married. She did not marry for love. Her husband certainly did not marry for love. The bank was their wedding ring.
Their father judged a man not by his character, but by the thickness of his wallet. Money became his mantra. He heard a priest to the natives say,
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven."
He thought to himself,
“If the Church is going to speak that nonsense I will become an goddamn atheist”.
His parish priest told him the priests of lower intelligence are sent to work with the natives. He told the father he had nothing to worry about.
When he entered into a marriage it was love at first bank account
Yet when his wife heard the rumors the bank account of the husband was sleeping with the her best friend’s bank account she denied the love affair of bank accounts. She turned a blind eye. His and his wife’s bank accounts were so inextricably linked. It had become difficult to tear asunder.
The sisters, in their childhood, never knew what a happy marriage was. They assumed everyone's family was like their family. Did not Tolstoy alert the world.
“God protect me from marriage,” they prayed every night to a God they were not certain existed.
No, their father and mother did not have a happy marriage.
Nicest thing one said to the other in 24 years,
"I hope you didn't stub your toe too hard."
He was the King of Love.
And She was the Queen of Spite.
No Robert & Elizabeth Browning for them.
It was not a happy marriage.
The marriage was the merger of two ganaderia dynasties.
In 1911 after a hail of violet words and violent fists, the sisters would raise their arms and strike their father. Nobody to hold their arms back. Stunned, their father cowered like a cornered mouse.
For two years the teenage sisters headed a small gang of banditos. The sisters styled their
band of outlaws after Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. Whether the legend was true or not about
Butch Cassidy did not matter. What mattered was the legend, that Butch Cassidy shared his
loot with the disenfranchised of Wyoming and Utah. That was what inspired the sisters. The
sisters would share their loot with los campesinos, the impoverished miners and the forgotten
of Chihuahua. The sisters also drew inspiration from Little Britches and Cattle Annie. Later,
when the Mexican Revolution broke out, the sisters were invited to join up with the forces of
Pancho Villa. They felt uncomfortable about Pancho Villa. He, like Carranza was a major
landowner. The sisters' idea of what the revolution was about seemed so much different than
Pancho Villa's. They found him rude and unsavory, brutal. Stories of his brutality distressed
the sisters. He had no qualms putting a bullet into the head of a prisoner or one of his own
men. He seemed to do it out of sport rather than conviction.
Rather than joining forces with Pancho Villa the sisters
enlarged their band of outlaws into a guerrilla army.
Octavio, an outlaw of modest reputation, joined their group in early 1912.
The young admirer asked Octavio what did he spend the money he robbed on. Octavio said he spent it on this or that, and gave some of it way to people who were in more need of it than him, so they could live another day.
The young admirer said,
"That sounds like socialism."
Octavio thought for a second and then said,
"Well, I guess I am, after all."
The two sisters and their small band of outlaws rode all over the north of Mexico, sometimes dividing their guerrilla army in two to conduct lightning raids, keeping the army of Huerta off balance. The sisters bit like mosquitoes and scorpions.
The sisters cut a pretty picture in their colorful China poblana skirts, embroidered peasant blouses, Ault Williamson boots, USMC Field Hats, holstered Smith & Weston Ladysmiths and bandoliers. They turned many a man’s head with their grace of poise and manner. They were attractive women but an interior beauty radiated further out.
The sisters looked far more sexier in dime novels written by American pulp writers. We were even prettier than Calamity Jane in her dime novels, the sisters vainly announced.
Maria Guadalupe said many times,
“And we were damn sexy.”
The men had carnal ambitions for the sisters. But the sisters would have "no more" of it, unless on their terms.
The vixen fox knows what she wants
She was never at a loss
She would never put too much love into a reynard
“I don’t need your damn love”
He cried his heart out
A vixen never spoke to him like that
All he could hear were her sledgehammer words
He thought he knew vixens like the back of his paw
But who really knows the back of his paw
Jose Luis liked Francisca best buck-naked (when she allowed him to glimpse). Alessandro had only eyes for Maria Guadalupe.
And the sisters were cracker shots. They could hit the
arsehole of an armadillo at a hundred metres. The sisters
stole horses, robbed banks and trains, and sold alcohol to
For two whole years Huerta and Carranza's army were running in circles trying to capture the sisters. The sisters’ guerrilla army moved in and out of the sun and night like flashes of lightning. Their thunder cracked.
In 1913, Francisca was captured, but she managed to escape when Comandante Martinez rested the horses after a hard day's ride. The soldiers guarding her were lost in a game of chance, Francisca slipped away in the dark of night. Francisca stole the Comandante's horse. Francisca could ride faster than the devil in need of a shit. Francisca was able to meet up her sister in Ciudad Juárez.
Also in 1913 the sister were persuaded the join up with Pancho Villa. It was an uneasy alliance. The sisters knew it was at best a temporary alliance. Pancho Villa was a cabeza de mierda. For almost the next two years the history of the sisters faded into the smoke of war. The world’s collective imagination became victim to Pancho Villa’s self-promotion. All that is known for sure is that they stayed loyal to the revolution. The sister fought along side Pancho Villa and rode with him when his army, along with Zapata forces from the south, entered Mexico City.
The alliance with Pancho Villa ended at the Second Battle of Agua Prieta. Here the story of the sisters re-emerged. Pancho Villa led a raid on the childhood home of the sisters. Pancho’s men dragged their mother out of the casa by her hair and their father by the seat of his pants. Pancho ordered the execution of their parents. Francesca fired a bullet into the taupe ground at Pancho’s feet. Pancho quickly swiveled, drew his revolver and aimed it at Francesca. Maria Guadalupe fired her gun, knocking Pancho’s revolver out of his hand. Pancho Villa laughed like a bear.
The sisters’ parents were so thankful. They crawled on their hands and knees to their children. The mother touched the hem of Francesca’s skirt. Francesca spat on her mother and Maria Guadalupe kicked her father in the chest.
That night the sisters left Pancho Villa and joined Zapata in his guerrilla war against Carranza. Zapata’s ideas of agrarian reform were closer to the ideals of the sisters. The sisters left Zapata just prior to his death. The sisters never talked much about their experiences with Zapata. Maybe it was because they knew their idea of the revolution was dying. Their spirit maybe died with it. Maybe it was the betrayal of the government against the revolution. Maybe Kropotkin was right. But because the sisters did not speak of the dying light of the revolution all remains a mystery.
But in 1919, after Zapata’s assassination, the sister once again garnered headlines. The sister returned to outlawry. And they continued to share their gains with the los campesinos, the miners and the local indigenous people of the State of Chihuahua. The sisters became as famous as their predecessors north of the Rio Grande. Their names were spoken in the company of the Wild Bunch, the Younger-James and the Doolin-Dalton gangs. They did everything the Doolin-Dalton gang did but kill lawmen. Lawmen were working-class as much as the miners.
The men who joined the sisters' little gang of outlaws had to prove themselves. The sisters were insatiable.
In August 1922, Marie Guadalupe was arrested, but Francesca managed to escape while the squad of state police, guarding them, were eating lunch at Cantina Maria del Rosario in Cuauhtemoc. Maria Guadalupe was in the custody of Comandante Jesús Pérez when she escaped. Jesús was distracted by an attractive sporting girl. Maria Guadalupe snuck out the back door. She knew Sergeant Raúl Sánchez was out back on the crapper. She grabbed Raúl’s horse for her get away. She thought by tearing off her clothes she could reduce wind resistance and ride faster. To be honest, she liked the feel of wind hugging her flesh.
Maria Guadalupe was able to meet up with Francisca in Delicias. Jesús spotted her entering Roma Norte and recaptured her sneaking out the back window of Roma Norte. She tore the knee out of a pair of trousers she had stolen. Francisca was down at the dry good store looking over bolts of fabric that had just arrived that day from Durango. She thought a new dress might change her disposition, if she knew how to sew. Francesca was feeling low. The life of a bandit was beginning to wear on her. She had been thinking of ways to tell Maria Guadalupe she was quitting. She could easily move north to Texas and be quickly forgotten.
To her surprise
Guilt consumed her
Stabbed her like Lady Macbeth’s lightning
Her demon held out to her
A bottle of Tennessee whiskey
And a gun
The gun seemed harsh
A cruel oarsman across the Styx
The bottle seemed kinder
Like dying in the arms of a lover
She climbed onto her horse
(Actually Raúl Sánchez’s horse)
To ride out to Cañón del Ermitaño
After the first swallow
Even with a warrant hanging over her head
Bank robbing wasn't so bad
No bank robbing isn’t so good
She looked down the neck of the bottle
Hello, my old friend, come home to mama
It was in the dry goods store Raúl caught Francesca, but, like her sister, she was a handful and wasn't so easy to catch. She fired her Winchester at Raúl, but purposefully missed. The bullet bore through the wooden floor. She knew a hangman's necklace was not her style. She ran out the back door of the store and started to race away on Raul’s stolen horse. Jesús shot Raúl’s horse from under her. Raúl prized his horse more than his wife and children, and God. Raúl and Jesús did not speak to each other for some time. Francesca hit the ground almost face first when the horse collapsed to the earth, but she managed to only scrape her palms. She broke the fall with her hands. She was overprotective of her face like some people are about their eyes or genitals. When Jesús grabbed her, to lift her to her feet, she attacked him, bringing her fists as hard down on him. She wasn't very tall, so she thought she mostly hit his shoulders. Jesús fell to the ground and was out cold. Raúl dug the barrel of his police revolver into Francesca’s back and arrested Francesca. She thought,
“I won’t have to tell Maria anything.”
It was like the weight of the world lifted off her shoulders.
Francesca was sentenced to one year and sent to Juarez, but because of poor health, she was soon paroled. Maria Guadalupe never saw Francesca again, but found out some twenty years later she died in Houston. She heard Francesca found the protestant God, converting to Baptism, becoming an active member of her Church in San Antonio. She married first a deaf sheep rancher who died a year after their marriage. Later she married a painting contractor, Beau Wills. They both served on the finance committee of the Emanuel Baptist Church.
Maria Guadalupe's worst nightmare for Francesca or herself was to end up like her Francesca. Francesca could've had all the men she wanted and did, but she was always looking for true love in her perverted way. She could have found more adventures. The sisters, in their heyday, knew love was spelled one way:
Maria Guadalupe in time was captured. She was arrested, charged and tried under the name of Carmen Silvoso. David Silvoso, her husband, was a made up name for a made up man. The judge took a grandfatherly pity on Maria Guadalupe. He thought her to be a woman led astray by men of poor character. The judge handed Maria Guadalupe a probation of one year. As for husbands, in the end, she had more husbands than a garter snake has suitors.
Her first legitimate husband -
Frank thought she was the most wonderful woman he'd ever known
When they got married Frank’s friends took bets
Estimating how long their marriage would last
The longest estimate was six months
The marriage lasted two years to the day
But when Lucretia Borgia called her in her sleep
“I'm outta here”
Frank said she was always trouble
Francesca liked men too much. She wanted to try all of them. She pretty much did. If the boys could poke as much as they wanted, why couldn't she get poked. She spent the next forty-eight years being poked.
She died in Spokane, Washington, in 1958. She owned a small printing house. In Spokane she met a childhood hero, William T. Parker, a.k.a. Butch Cassidy.