With spastic flailing in the dark, I sought out the cause of my consternation: the quacking of a duck, the alarm I had set to remind me that I had work to do. Whose harebrained idea was it for me to get up for devotions at, as my dearly-departed veteran father would have called it, oh-dark thirty? Oh, right, it was mine.
Only one time hitting the snooze and I was still ready by the time the gates were opened in Pamplona, allowing today’s six condemned bulls free to run their gauntlet of about half a mile to the ring where they will meet their death. Not the noble death of sacrifice, mind you; sacrificed animals should be willing, and the end should not be swaddled in fear and brought by the torment of a torero’s sword. Rather, these animals who chase thousands on the short course will have a death similar to that of gladiators.
That isn’t to say that sometimes the bulls don’t take the advantage. It is a target-rich environment, after all. As I performed the Vigil for the Bulls last night, six runners were gored by the condemned. According to the official guide, runners are advised that should they fall down, they should stay down. Unfortunately, no survival guide as yet exists for the bulls.