"The Sacred Mattress"

"The fortress-mansion has high walls built of ashblack-brown volcanic stone, the same stone cut into large bricks for the heavy, fortified-hacienda-style architecture inside, which included a massive watchtower with arched windows, topped by a crenellated mirador. To provide access during the fortress's construction, El Indio had to carve out a new side street, which he named Dulce Olivia after the actress Olivia de Havilland, whom he had some kind of thing for. Three seemingly separate residences—did secret corridors or sliding bookcases connect them?—faced the main courtyard, which had a dry fountain in the middle. A broad stone staircase led back into the rest of the mansion, always permeated by the chill of cold stone, and filled with staircases and corridors and rooms and galleries and halls that had once held huge parties attended by Marilyn Monroe and other stars but that no longer seemed to serve any purpose. The whole place had the abandoned air of the ruined presidential palace where Gabriel García Márquez's ancient monstrous dictator lives out his last days in Autumn of the Patriarch, stray cows chewing on the velvet curtains. The mansion-fort was a mess. There was always dog shit in those long empty corridors, at least that's how I remember it. Our room was just off that main staircase. Formerly a guest room,” Adela told us when she showed us in. On its walls were colorful murals of wasp-waisted, long-legged nude woman bullfighters with luscious, pointy breasts, painted by a friend of El Indio, Alberto Vargas, who was famous for his illustrations of pinup “Vargas girls”

"Vargas became an American citizen in 1939, the same year that he received an invitation from Esquire magazine to visit with publisher David Smart in Chicago to discuss the possibility of working together"
featured in Esquire magazine, back before Playboy introduced its centerfold. Our horsehair-stuffed mattress was ancient, dingy, really disgusting-looking, but when I said that I would buy a new one, Adela declared that I certainly could not. “You don't know the great men who've left their semen in that mattress,” she said. She then pointed to the big French windows and told us how as a girl she used to hide on the wide stone ledge outside and spy on her father’s famous friends and their lovers. She had seen many immortals fucking on what was now my and Tina’s bed. Anthony Quinn, André Breton, John Huston, Peckinpah, Agustín Lara—she rattled off a list of celebrities and artists, Mexican and foreign, who’d spent nights in that bed. That afternoon, Tina and I walked to the shopping center on the other side of Avenida Miguel Angel de Quevedo and bought a stiff plastic covering, the sort used for child bed-wetters, in which to enclose the sacred mattress."
plastic mattress

from Francisco Goldman, The Interior Circuit