Big Al continued to work throughout his lifetime.
He decorated Churches and built edifices. Everywhere around Ouro Preto and in the neighbouring towns and villages his work can be found. Perhaps his most famous work is the Twelve Prophets which are located in front of the Church in Conganhas.
In Ouro Preto, his home town, the majority of his work can be found. Ouro preto (black gold) and the name of the town whose fortune was derived from the mineral, provided the funding to finance the many churches Al was commissioned to build.
The Igreja do Carmo holds perhaps the single greatest Oratorie collection in the New World, if not the World. We gazed upon this magnificent spectacle in all of its splendor and uniqueness. Never before had I experienced such a collection. Never before had I understood the value and use of Oratorios. I had encountered them throughtout Mexico, Latin and South America...beside roads, in mines, on mountains. I had gazed upon their presence without understanding their place in this world. Now I knew.
......................................... ................................. ......................
Today was the first day of the rest of my life.
I walked into the operating room in the Brasilian Hospital wearing only a blue hospital gown. Only the day before, I had entered the realm of the Portugese hairless sect as my parts had been shaved in preparation for the day´s events.
A stainless steel operating table separated me from the doctor. He was flanked by two nurses. A tray of instruments lay on one side of the table...scalpel, forceps, scissors and a variety of other tools.
I walked up to the table and looked silently into the doctor´s eyes. He nodded. I reached under my gown and placed Harry on the table. Harry recoiled in horror at the cold, septic feel of the table. I reached back under my gown and placed him on the table once again.
The doctor leaned forward. "There is a lot of swelling" he volunteered, as he prodded Harry.
"That is his normal size", I returned.
"We must proceed. It is for the best." With that he reached over and picked up the scalpel. He glanced back at me for an instant, then looked intently at the task before him. A thin line of blood traced the path of the scalpel. Forceps pried the folds of skin apart. I felt something probe inside the opening and then Harry was placed on the table.
I stared upon him with sadness. We all looked silently at his lifeless form. Then the nurse stepped forward, snatched him up and placed him on a tray. In a single fluid motion she turned around and retreated to the door.
I tried to speak but the words wouldn´t come. She exited the door and disappeared down the hall. I tried desperately to say something...to shout after her but nothing came out. I motioned frantically.
"It will be OK," the doctor said, finally. "You have two. You can still enjoy a normal sex life."
"It is not the same. I grew up with Harry. We travelled together. We lost our virginity together. We were one."
"You will be just fine" was all he said. "Call me if you need help", were his last words as he exited the room.
The nurse helped me to the dressing room. I undid my gown and let it drop to the floor. The image in the mirror frightened me. I looked lop-sided. I had lost the symmetry of my form.
I dressed slowly and stepped out into the street. The sounds of the city rushed up to greet me. People were walking, laughing and playing. They were having fun. Suddenly I felt very alone. I felt different. I retreated to my room.
I awoke with a start. I sat bolt upright in bed. Sweat coursed my brow. I threw back the covers and looked upon my form. Harry was still there snuggled up against his other brother Hairy. The Control Center lay coiled across them planning his next move.
I was whole. It had all been a bad dream. The doctor with the glass eye. The topless nurse with the stiletto nipples (well not all of it was bad). The operation. Today would be a good day. I dressed and rushed out into the street....
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