El Ciclón and the Mask
rom the wrestling magazines, Luca became aware of the enigmatic Ciclón McCool, a veteran luchador who was famous for being the first wrestler in Mexico to wear a mask (and at the time of our story, dear reader, still one of only a few luchadores to do so!).
In the ring, El Ciclón wore a bright gold and blue mask and matching cape, tights and boots. Outside of the ring, he was quite elusive, and never took part in the celebrity fanfare that many luchadores were known for. In fact, it was quite a mystery who the raccoon even was.
El Ciclón had first come to Luca’s attention when she heard a rumor that he had wrestled Guanajuato’s mummies back into their museum when a magic spell had brought them back to life.
Of all the luchadores she had seen in the magazines and heard about on the radio, El Ciclón was Luca’s favorite. In her imagination, she would also don a mask and set out for adventure against bad guys and monsters, just like he did in the legends.
By the time she turned ten, Luca was sparring with her schoolmates after class all days of the week. Her skills were known school-wide, for she could easily beat much older and stronger kids. Most of her schoolmates agreed that she was the best wrestler in the school. Many called her “La Chiquita Picosa” (the spicy little one) because, due to her petite size, she was an unassuming opponent—you thought you could win, until you lost.
The school kids weren’t the only ones into lucha. Although Guanajuato didn’t have the big arenas that León and the Distrito Federal had, the local enthusiasm for lucha libre was no less emphatic. There was a small semi-professional league in town, run by the owner of the local sports shop, Martín Angélico. On Friday evenings, fights were held at the gymnasium next to the shop. Whenever they could excuse themselves from Friday supper early, Luca and Félix would sneak in through the back of the Deportes Angélico gym and watch these fights.
These excursions always left Luca with an excess of energy, and for days after she would scheme about how she could join the ranks of the local team.
One lazy Sunday, Luca was over at Félix’s house—deeply absorbed in a stack of wrestling magazines and listening to the luchas on the radio—when they heard the announcer’s voice change tone. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very special guest today. You know him as ‘El Señor de la Tormenta’: Mister Ciclón McCool will be on the show, giving a rare glimpse into his past.” Luca and Félix’s ears perked up. It was extremely unusual for the luchador raccoon to grant a radio station an interview. The foxes scrambled to turn up the volume.
“Welcome to our show!” the radio show host shouted with excitement.
“My pleasure,” answered El Ciclón, his voice much quieter.
“So, Mr. Ciclón, we all know you to be the very first luchador in Mexico to wear a mask,” said the host. Luca and Félix nodded in agreement, as they had read about this in their magazines. “But why did you decide to make this bold move?”
“Well,” El Ciclón said with a modest chuckle. “The truth is that it was not out of boldness that I came to wear a mask. I needed to hide my identity.”
Luca and Félix were on the edge of their seats in anticipation… were they about to find out who the raccoon behind the mask was?
El Ciclón explained: “Once, many years ago, when I was still a young luchador and not yet known in the big leagues, and before I was known as Ciclón McCool, an hechicero known as ‘El Macabro’ cast a magic spell on the mummies in the museum of Guanajuato, bringing them to life.”
“Oh!” exclaimed the radio host. “The rumors about the mummies are true, then! And it was you who saved the day?!”
“Yes,” said El Ciclón. “But the powerful wizard who cast the spell, angry that I had thwarted his plans, threatened to turn me into a mummy in revenge!” Luca and Félix gasped.
“I knew the rumors were true!” Luca blurted out. Félix shushed her so they could keep listening.
El Ciclón continued: “The only way for me to remain a luchador was to go incognito. So I asked the man who made my wrestling shoes, Mr. Martín Angélico, if he could fashion a mask for me.”
Luca turned to Félix, her jaw dropping open. Could it be the very same Martín Angélico from Deportes Angélico?
“Incredible, señor!” exclaimed the host. “But aren’t you putting your life in danger with this revelation? El Macabro will be able to find you now!”
“Ah, but that’s the thing,” replied El Ciclón. “It is only now I can reveal this, because my identity can remain a secret as my nemesis has finally passed on.”
“El Macabro is dead?!” asked the host. “At your hand? Or was it another hechicero? The man was feared in all of Mexico!”
“No, no…” El Ciclón chuckled. “He died of old age. We’re getting on in years, you see. Even powerful wizards and famous luchadores must meet La Muerte eventually.” The radio host joined in a hearty laugh at the candor of the veteran luchador.
Luca’s mind raced with what she had just heard over the radio. She couldn’t wait to corner Mr. Angélico—if he had fitted El Ciclón for a mask, he had to know his true identity!
“We should ask Mr. Angélico if he’s the one who made the mask next Friday!” she said to Félix excitedly, grabbing him by the shoulders and jumping up and down.
“No way!” said Félix. “He’ll find out we’ve been sneaking in.”
“Oh, you’re right,” said Luca.
But Félix could tell by the expression on her face and the way she was biting her lip that she was plotting a way to approach Mr. Angélico. And, as Félix well knew, if Luca was determined to find out more about El Ciclón, there would be no talking her out of it.