Doing Elián's Bidding

Looking for a little piece of the little feller's legacy before he heads back into Castro's clutches? Just check in with eBay.

Sherry claims to have five or six shirts left, excluding the one he sold on eBay last week for $20.50. He may sell a few more, and he may not. Clearly a man who understands the laws of supply and demand.

For the true aficionado, there was a jar of dirt collected at the Gonzalez home up for bid last week. The bidding began and ended at $20. Quizzed extensively via e-mail about the veracity of this item, the seller had this to say: "The dirt is real. I live in Little Havana approx. 2 miles from his home. After the commotion died down, I went over to the front of the home and collected the dirt. Sure you can come and inspect it. I will give you a tour of the home if you like."

The letter was signed "Ernie." But Ernie never consented to an inspection, and the tour did not happen. A seller unwilling to go that extra mile to back up claims about a piece of Eliánabilia is to be treated with suspicion. Caveat emptor, should another jar of Elián's dirt pop up on eBay in the coming days.

There are many other items for sale or already auctioned that will capture the interest of the true Eliánabiliaist: his Rubik's Cube, a shirt from an Elián rally in the streets of Havana, a silver coin depicting Janet Reno as Rambo, a replica of the statue of Christ that Elián kept in his bedroom, a hilarious dollar bill with Elián's face pasted in place of George Washington's, et cetera.

For the platinum-card investor, however, one item stands above the rest: a 40-inch-by-40-inch oil-on-canvas painting by artist Jacques A. Dorcely titled Controversy at Guantanamo when up for bid alongside other Eliánabilia or The Negro Spirit Don't Cry otherwise. The painting depicts the face of a young Haitian boy suspended in an ethereal cloud above a small wooden boat being battered by raging seas. The word Haiti is painted on the side of the boat. Nearby an eagle clutches a Cuban flag in its beak. Dorcely says of his painting, "I must confide in you that I had to borrow the yearn for freedom and happiness and hope in Elián to realize something I thought to be palpable, acceptable, and perhaps universal. I once thought in the process to have penetrated [Elián's] soul."

Bidding on the painting started at $28,900. By late last week, there was no taker.

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