A crowd is shouting and throwing numerous objects into a bullfighting ring. The bull gets so tired that it collapses, and one of the cuadrilla kills him with the puntillo. Then the crowd flows over the barriers, two men pick him up, and another cuts off his pigtail. The narrator then uses the first person and says that he later saw the little kid who ran away with the pigtail at a cafÃ©. He speaks with the boy, who tells him it has happened before. Then the narrator says that he is not a very good bullfighter.
"Out of Season"
A man named Peduzzi earns four lire from gardening and then takes the money to get drunk. He meets a young gentleman and speaks with him in a mysterious manner. The gentleman says he will return in a short time. He stays at the cantina to wait, and they trust him for three more drinks. He apparently has a job for the afternoon which he is very confident about. It is a perfect day for trout fishing, and we assume that Peduzzi plans to take the young gentleman on a fishing expedition.
The young gentleman returns, and they decide that his wife should follow behind them with the fishing rods. On the way, however, Peduzzi wants her to move up so they can all walk together down the street of Cortina. He calls tenderly back to her, but she only responds after her husband shouts. As they walk through the main street everyone stares at them, and Peduzzi greets them all elaborately.
They stop outside a store that sells liquor, and Peduzzi claims they need some Marsala. We learn that the wife does not understand anything he says, and she correctly guesses that he is drunk. Peduzzi asks for lire, but when the young gentleman gives it to him they realize the store is closed.
They walk down the street to the Concordia. The young gentleman and his wife enter while Peduzzi stays outside. The young gentleman asks for the three Marsalas, explaining that one is for a vecchio. He goes outside to give it to Peduzzi but cannot find him. When he returns he decides to buy a quarter-litre of Marsala. The entire situation amuses the girl behind the counter.
When the girl is gone looking for a bottle for the Marsala, the young gentleman apologizes to his wife since she feels rotten. The two are obviously in a disagreement about something.
They finally leave, and Peduzzi offers to cary the rods. He explains that no one will bother them in Cortina, since he used to be a soldier and knows important people. It is illegal to fish, but he urges them not to worry.
As they travel towards the river, Peduzzi points out a girl who he claims is his daughter, but the wife thinks he is pointing out his doctor. He talks constantly as they walk, speaking in two different dialects. The couple does not understand anything he says, and they argue about this expedition and the possibility of going to jail because of it. The wife wants to go, and her husband urges her to do so. She finally leaves, to the dismay of Peduzzi.
The two men finally settle down to fish. The young gentleman fears they might be caught by an official any minute. Peduzzi says that they must have piombo for lead, but the young gentleman did not bring piombo, so he decides they will fish tomorrow. Peduzzi is worried by this turn of events, and he wants to know what time in the morning they will go fishing.
Soon the sun comes out, and they drink the Marsala together. Peduzzi rejoices in the wonderful day. He loves days like this one, and he looks forward to tomorrow. They head back to town after finishing their drink, and on the way Peduzzi requests money in return for getting all the necessary supplies for the next day's fishing. The young gentleman gives him money, and Peduzzi exults in the quality of his life. With enthusiasm he plans on meeting the young gentleman the next day, but the gentleman warns that he may not show up.
The vignette treats violence again as part of a sport. Death is celebrated as victory, and the vignette suggests that this practice occurs at all times and in many areas of life. As the kid who runs away with the cuadrillo's pigtail says, "after all it has happened before like that."
"Out of Season" tells the story of a former soldier who acts a guide for a foreign married couple and agrees to bring them on a fishing trip. Peduzzi does not have much money, and he wants to move up from earning money from gardening. But he is a drunk, and he primarily relies on the kindness of the foreign gentleman, who repeatedly gives him money for no real reason.
As they make their way to the river to fish, Peduzzi comforts them about their expedition. Even though fishing is illegal, they should not worry, because as a former soldier, many people like him. In reality, though, he has very low standing in the town, and people do not seem to like him. The fishing trip gives him control and power, even if it is just a brief power over a foreign couple. He also makes money from such expeditions. Most of all, it is an escape from his ordinary station in life, offering him the chance to follow a different path.
The couple clearly is in the midst of an argument as they make their way to the river. The woman is not very happy with the arrangement, and she challenges her husband to turn back. He leaps at this opportunity and tells her to return, which she does. It is another unhappy event in a another marriage. Finally at the river, Peduzzi and the gentleman relax in the sun and enjoy the liquor the gentleman has bought for all three of them. It affords the gentleman an escape from the strain of his marriage.
Peduzzi and the couple are from completely different worlds, and the language barrier reinforces this fact. He talks constantly, but they do not understand anything he says. This situation parallels the fact that most people in his own community tend to ignore him. Going on this illegal fishing trip gives him a chance for attention--being self-important--even if for a short time. While he glories in the situation, loudly greeting everyone in the town, the couple continually look over their shoulders and expect a host of officials following right behind them. The contrast in the situation between the couple and this former soldier highlight indirectly the impact that the war has had on his life.