One of my most overworked manuscripts. I began this story years ago, only to shelve it about halfway through. It’s fiction but based on a true story. And the person it revolves around has passed. It’s a difficult topic to tackle, social cleansing, an epidemic in 1990s Brazil. More than that, I found the private and spiritual persuasions a battle. But I made a promise I’d finish the story, which was an acquaintance’s sort of testimony. I’d like to say I got after it with gusto and completed it with record time and zeal. Instead, I tucked the manuscript away and hoped it would go away. I’m not proud of that, but perhaps it wasn’t time until now. Not long ago, the subject of my book came to me in a dream and asked, “Aren’t you going to keep your promise?” Broke my heart. I replied, “Yes, of course. I will finish your story.” And so I did. And so here it is. I wrote this as I do each of my books, with one person in mind. This is a demonstration of one man’s dark path to redemption.
A problematic social issue, a unit called to respond.
A man struggles to right his wrong.
“If I had said ‘no,’ instead of ‘yes’ when they asked me to do this thing, then maybe I would have turned out a hero instead of what I’ve become.
We were trained, hired with the promise of a good wage, to take care of a problem, to get things under control. As a man, I needed to succeed for myself, for my family living in a cycle of poverty in the sertão, the backlands. The earnings proved excellent, and far outweighed the promises made by the controlling peasant guerrillas. But the other part of it… If I knew then what I know now…
I can’t live with myself…
I can’t live.
If I could take it back. Everything I’ve done--
Ach, who could do such things? And if one could, then who would forgive such things?”