For All Nails #269: Cole
By President Chester A. Arthur
- Xawaii Gazette
- August 1, 1976
World-renowned journalist, best-selling author, and Oahu native Edward Minero today announced the publication of what is sure to be one of the most controversial books in recent memory: Cole, purporting to be the 'true story' of his interviews with former President Martin Cole (1853-1934). Minero is widely acknowledged to be the ghost writer of Cole's 1935 posthumous "autobiography": Martin Cole: The Hero of the Republic, written when the 23-year old Minero was a sports reporter for this newspaper. In a brief statement, Minero said only that: "The world of 1933 was not ready for the true enderezado of Martin Cole, but with Mexico's government free again I feel it is time to tell the story of those who have saved the Republic before, and those who have nearly destroyed it."
Minero's publishers have agreed to allow the Gazette to publish excerpts from the book; what follows is selected from the book's first chapter.
"I looked closer to make sure he was really dead. Assembling thousands of mourners and dignitaries from across Mexico and the world might seem like a great deal of effort simply to frighten one young reporter, but I had learned in my two years with Martin Cole to put nothing, nothing past him. Those black eyes, gleaming with chiflado muerta, were closed, the liver-spotted hands no longer brandished Cole's beloved "Nieta", the butt stained dark with what he always insisted was the blood of a "Jew Frenchman" he beat to death in a Tampico alley in 1890, that thin, malevolent voice, cracked with age and drink, was silent.
Yes, Martin Cole was dead. A lifetime of tequila, tobacco, and marihuana had finally stopped his black heart. So what was I to write? I had the interviews, oh yes, the glories he insisted I write about him: tales of Martin Cole, the democrat and saviour of the Republic, who defeated Benito Hermión and restored democracy to Mexico, the family man and papá to three strong sons. And then I had the other Martin Cole: the drunkard, the bully, the raving Judeophobe, the friend of Benito Hermión who betrayed that unhappy Emperor on a whim for Kramer dolares and his great hacienda on Kauai, the adulterer who broke his son's jaw at the age of 15 and threw his wife down a flight of stairs in a rage.
I was young then, and needed dinero muy pronto. So I rationalized that with war beckoning again, with Kramer in all the news, Mexico needed heroes. I sold the book, took my cash, and hid my notes carefully. I married two years later, to a woman Martin Cole would have called a "slant-eyed puta", and then came family, war, more books about things happening now: not a book about a man dead for years talking about events forty years gone by, a cipher at best and a Kramer stooge at worst.
It was not until I myself was an old man, with my wife dead and my children grown, that I realized the truth about Martin Cole. He was a bigoted, foul-mouthed, back-stabbing, corrupt, violent bastard who would have destroyed Mexico had he stayed President with the blood of innocents on his own hands; often quite literally. He is also, without any doubt in my mind, the man who saved the United States of Mexico from becoming the property of Kramer Associates. Martin Cole was perhaps the greatest villian I have ever known, and I have interviewed Vicente Mercator: and while he lived perhaps the greatest Mexican hero save General Emiliano Calles. (How it would pain him to hear himself paired with either of those two men!)
This is Martin Cole's story, and the story of how I came to know this man in the space of two years, four months, and eleven days from March of 1932 to July 1934. This is also a story about good, and evil, and how very close they both can be."
Cole's only surviving family member, his youngest son Armand, recently retired from a position teaching physical instruction at the Nathanael Greene Military Academy in Yucatan, declined to make a formal statement, only that he regretted attempts to exploit the memory of his late father, often recognized by modern medical historians as an early sufferer of Alvarez Syndrome.
Proceed to FAN #270: O Joy O Rapture Unforeseen.
Proceed to 4 August 1976: Uncommon Women.
Proceed to Edward Minero: Mansion (Part 1).
Return to For All Nails.