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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Sirocco

Walter Vrindten, '39

The Magpie, January 1937, v. 21, n. 1., p. 62.

Along the Spanish coast is the Sirocco, a wind which blows from the Mediterranean to Malaga. This town has been the site of many a bloody battle, between General Franco's rebels, instigators of the revolution to create a royal Fascist state in Spain, and the established Socialist Government. Even now her fields, once green and fertile, lie gorged and gory with the dead, the product of a recent rebel victory. It is thus that the Sirocco finds the land and strikes! Damply oppressive, this stifling wind converts the soldiers of both armies into tense unnerved monsters. In both camps its presence is regarded as an evil omen.

On this day, a tramp steamer had entered a certain lagoon near Malaga and now lay at anchor blowing off steam. Rust streaked and dirty, the "Diego" did not betray the fact that in her hold lay a contraband cargo loaded at Sebastopol and carried down the Black Sea and Hellespont, through the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas and finally past the rebel blockade in the dead of night. On the shore, the Socialists, who had undermined the city and garrison of Malaga controlled by the Fascists, were making preparations to unload the Diego's cargo and blow this city sky high.

Although Pedro, the bos'n, had been with Captain Santos many years, Santos had never known that his bos'n was a native of Malaga and a staunch supporter of the Fascist cause. If he had, he would never have entrusted the unloading of the cargo to him. Realizing that Malaga was doomed if this cargo of munitions were landed, Pedro casually lit a cigar and walked near the open hatch intending to toss this into the kegs of gun powder.

His hand never reached his mouth for a sudden conglomeration of flaring lights, followed by an ear splitting explosion and hellish heat caused the Diago to split in two.

Although he and the rest of the crew never knew what had caused this horror, the Sirocco, wind of evil, knew that its terrific heat had made the sailor in charge of the crane collapse. As he did, his foot slipped from the brake pedal of the donkey engine and caused the case of percussion bombs to drop. Yes, the Sirocco knew and in playing its little prank had saved the city of Malaga from destruction.




The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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