Commenting on “Dominoes”, he has compared the rules of the game to the social rules that bind the men playing it: “I’ve seen it happen many times – over a game of stickball or asking a girl to dance. These men are not depraved or crazy. They’re trapped in the culture. It’s very systematic. You mention my mother and we have to go to blows. Just the way the double-six domino has to lead to the Dead Man’s Box.”
That quote pretty much sums up the story. It’s told in six parts, counting down from the Double Six to the blank domino, and revolves around a game being played by four men. One of the men is a barber, a lady’s man and a poor domino player. Nobody likes him. He doesn’t like the other three either. He doesn’t like dominoes much, because he knows he’s a poor player, and gets annoyed by his lack of skill.
So they play a few rounds, the barber messes up, refuses to admit it, and then gets in a fight with the dominant player. They fight like animals, the barber stabbing Paco in the side twelve times, Paco crushing the barber’s throat. Nobody stops the fight until it’s too late. Paco dies, the barber ends up in hospital, under arrest for murder.
I don’t know. It’s well written, the language is terse, muscular, and it gives me a view into what Agueros is talking about in the quote above. But there’s not much more to it, that I can see. Macho men forced by their culture to fight like madmen over inconsequential slights.
Honestly, I’ve tried to come up with more to write about this one. But there doesn’t seem to be more. This is just a story about some guys playing dominoes who get mad at each other and then fight to the death. It’s emblematic of the culture, but… maybe my head’s not into analysis today. Maybe I’m looking for too much?