Minifix

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– Run!
– What’s that noise?
– It’s the chopper, órale! Run!
– Hide by those bushes.
– I can’t, their too low, and there isn’t much to hide in.
– Chale homes! You got the cast light on you…
– What? I can’t hear you? What did you say? It’s too bright!
– Damn, here comes the migra now… fuck! just lie low…

The barren soil didn’t have much of anything on it. It’s famous for its arid terrain and the refusal of the US government to allow any building to be built there. For years the only thing in sight from this side of the border was what seemed to be a car lot. As the years went by my imagination concocted more serious and credible theories, drug smugglers came in handy to depict that parking space, maybe even crooked INS agents dealing in smuggled and stolen cars, who knows.

Between the thin wire netting, no-man’s land, were littered sniff-glue bags, filled with dried yellow glue  popular back in the 80’s an d90’s. Broken bottles and rags strewn about covered with hundreds of cigarette butts lay strewn. The soil is dry, and the wire that separates the countries was full of holes; the marines set up other measures now. Tortilla curtain was the response from indignant neighbours. I was born less than a kilometer from this other country, Tijuana.
State your citizenship. – American

Our eyes met, usually they looked at you from the very depths of their eyes to see whether you lied. Sniff, sniff seemed more like it. Bean sweat, not hamburger or saurkraut nor cole slaw, anything smelling near like maize was suspicious. “American Citizen”. The badge on his shirt spelled his name, I noticed there was an absent accent in the o of his last name. I laid my eyes on it, to see if he was raza, my lips uttered some words: ‘American Citizen’. The hand waved me away not seeing another citizen such as he, but rather more like a nuisance, laws must be abided, an undesired though with ‘rights’. I slid across, like always, my xicano look helped me over. ‘Go ahead’, the migra said, ‘pásale,’ I heard. I took a leak by the nearby toilets, like every time, my confident act; the luggage detector passed countless of bagage. I veered off and left my mark in those prison like toilets, metal urinators and metal toilet seats. They seemed like nice bathrooms, clean. I took a drink of water, something you can’t do in México’s government buildings. The hospitality greets you even when they’re assholes. I never looked back. I smiled, the red San Diego Trolley pulled in. It’s a wonderful view, like coming home. I walked forward but voices could still be heard from where I was: state your citizenship; what was the purpose of your visit to Mexico?; Are these papers for real? I went in to Mickey D’s as the voices drowned in the background

I always wondered why was it that the INS allowed, for what my suspicious eyes detected as criminals, to thrive so near the border, la línea, right next to them. I spotted them right away, you knew those people weren’t up to no good, there they were, pulling in people right smack in the middle of their faces to board buses towards Los Angeles or selling fake papers with the right connection. I mean I even sold papers there my self! I’m sure that doesn’t happen anymore, but that’s how it was, right next to them, those light green colored vehicles couldn’t figure out what those thicked mustached people were talking about or doing standing there all day and yet dress so nicely, so Mexican. Stereotypes and what people want see, that’s what made it possible, preconceived notions of what other races are like. Off course the INS was a federal institution but come on! Couldn’t they at least observe a little what was going on right there? So I grew suspicious with time, you know, the lonely citizen that watches its surroundings but is powerless to do anything about it? That’s me, not that I would rat on my own brethren mind you.

I never payed to travel on the Trolley back then. It used to be that one would declare itself illegal rather than pay those hefty fines and best yet, back then the gringos bought one’s name no questions asked, so many files on illegal immigrants in the archives of the old INS bear names like Pedro Infante, Vicente Fernandez, José Alfredo Jímenez, Chapulin Colorado, Lola Beltrán, Juana Inez de la Cruz or Paquita del Barrio, you never knew what the raza might come up with to avoid giving in one’s real name. So I travelled for free, whilst I wondered whether I should stop and visit my Aunt who lived on 8th and National or whether one should by a refeer in Chula Vista, mostly though one would rather go to San Diego’s porn shops. Though Tijuana is a sin city it had very little or not at all porn shops in the 80’s, off course why visit those shops when you can be part of a real live sex scene? It made sense for some, though for the likes of me, sex went beyond the flesh and fornication of the open prostitution markets of Tijuana’s Coahuila sector. I wanted to see naked güeras and best of all, those fancy underwear that look so delicious and tempting, lingerie. Now that was worth a run for the border.

Increasingly, my heroes tend to be people who seem to enjoy life or people who manage to eek out a living out of their ordinariness.

I heard this on the telephone. On occasions my telephone nabs a conversation or two out of the blue. I usually hang up the receiver and try to get a normal tone to go about my business. God knows the very first year I tried to do away with the nuisance but the local phone company doesn’t prioritize lesser lines like mine. Five years later I am still waiting for my complaint to be filed. Sort of makes one feel left behind by the internet age. Eitherway, I can say on my behalf that I at least switched to tone dial before skype came to be imagined yet somehow this switch to tone has yet to impress me as the reader can very well attest for itself.

It wouldn’t take me long to figure out whose tête-à-tête fortune had me eavesdrop. But if a benefit has been derived out of the crossline is that too much interference can be a cause of mental distress the likes that befit that new adage, one needs X like one needs a hole in the head. This small town doesn’t afford the luxury of anonymity. Specially when one knows that said luxury usually tends to arrive in due time, one mustn’t rush, the goods are delivered sooner rather than later.

Am all for privacy, believe me. Yet the forefathers of the right to privacy all lived in big cities. I swear, I am party to all sorts of public displays that would certainly leave a city lover flushed red.

Anyhows, I bring the subject up because I was somehow tempted to continue hearing the conversation but by the time I reacted to my own thoughts my habit of hanging up the phone had beaten me to first base and when I lifted up the earphone and was ready to satisfy curiosity, I got a tone.

Yet the string of the conversation that I nabbed pulsated vibrantly across my ear drums like a tic toc fills the silence at times. It filled a void that lacked words and overhearing the unwelcomed string of thought sort of put things to place. Normally I don’t rush to write down these catharsis, in fact, it took me several years before I could muster the gull to do so now.

We all remember that afternoon. The clouds hung at an uncomfortable low and the heat made the humidity stick. It was then the town council in all its wisdom had decided to pass a non-bilingual bill, despite the majority of the town’s opposition to it.

What hurt more was councilman Richard Rodriguez vote. He, raised amongst the locals, turned his back against his own folk.

– “Why, just last night he come over to take a’drink wit me, that bastad!” lauded Tauwny.

Tauwny was an immigrant from French Guyana and appealed most fervently of all for the dual capacity bilinguals have only to fall into deaf ears. The future couldn’t look bleaker for him. He had two sons and every February the third made a curios display of patriotism by taking out a flag no one but him knew where it came from. The vote had barely passed by a slight majority, and as the crowd gathered in front of the municipal building, the politicians where getting ready to read a statement to announce the town’s continuance of a monolingual policy for all.

Albert Villahermosa had been ambivalent throughout the debacle. His forefathers had moved from the city of Torreón in the state of Coahuila to what is now known as the San Joaquin Valley in California but then just another town in Alta California, not long before the American invasion of 1848 led then by Commodore Stockton. His great grandmother, or bisabuela as he would know her, would tell him “not to many freckled faced boys roamed the streets yet back then.” He was a fluent mexican spanish speaker but barely had need to use it except at family gatherings where he would endure a host of questions regarding his “Mexican-ness”.

He looked on the mass of people, wondering just what was he doing there amongst the throngs of angry people demanding that the city council reverse its vote. English after all, he thought in the back of his head, was what united everyone. It was the bridge that made this multicultural town what it was.

He headed homewards. That night, Angela, his wife of three years, had made a special dinner, mole, a chocolate spice sauce dish that Albert loved and as he readied himself to sit comfortably in the dinner table he heard on the radio that a protest had turned into a scuffle and Tauwny had been arrested for punching Councilman Rodriguez in the face. He could distinctly hear Tauwny’s voice in the background, yelling “traitor, traitor!”, as he was being dragged on while the radio reporter continued to report live from City Hall. Angela could be heard saying a few pity words for Tauwny but not much that moved Albert into a civic mood to go and demand Tauwny’s release, although the issue of bilingualism had slowly crept into his mind as the night passed on.

The next morning proved decisive for the whole town, during the course of the night many residents had gone out and held a vigil for Tauwny. They nearly broke the windows of Councilman Rodriguez car, had it not been for Sheriff Gonzalez timely intervention, although many would later wonder maliciously where had he been at the time of the punch that gave Councilman Rodriguez a black eye. A few had ventured to suggest that it was because he too had been on the pro-bilingual wagon but others spoke out plainly that it was because it had more to do with his insurance business where Rodriguez had recently taken out a policy insuring the 1956 Desoto he owned.

On the way to work, Albert met with disgruntled and sleepless neighbors who wondered where had he been all night while the town’s very essence was at stake. He shook his head in bewilderment at the utterance of those fancy words unable to answer quite right until he met his cousins walking by.

– Hey! Wuz up cuz? Were where’ya last night? Thought you be ‘round but I never caught sight of you …
– I went straight home from work, I was tired.
– Yeah, well, tomorrow were gonna be at it again till they change that fucking law, are you comin’?
– Don’t know, well see.

He never really understood his cousins; they didn’t even speak spanish although they belonged to the 1848 Committee. A group that demanded that the lands he grew up in be given back to México. As he walked by his neighborhood, he pondered what it was to be bilingual. Though he didn’t come to a clear conclusion as to its significance or its bearing to his town or himself. Worse yet, he was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the whole idea of this discussion coming up so high as the to waste precious council time and taxpayers money on such a, what he considered to be, trivial business.

He pondered about the language he first heard at home, the one that nurtured him and the one language that soothed him so much whenever he came home from school. His mother tongue as it were. It was the language of the house, the one mama and papa spoke. The one he discovered the world with, the one that first made him cry and the one that first made him laugh but also the one language that left him so many scars. He remembered all too well how his teachers would chastise him whenever homely vowels blurted out of his mouth but that were foreign to the teacher: “greasy language” the teacher would decry. At one point he adamantly refused to speak that wretched language. A choice that only brought him acrimonious chastisement closer to home and in the streets, the children would call him “beaner” and make him feel a stranger in the only land he ever knew.

– “Spanish has been nothing but trouble for me and I don’t want that for my children, that’s for sure”, he thought.

At work there weren’t to many bilinguals so the topic never really came up and the day proceeded as normal until the waterman came by.

– Hey Albert, how is it going? Heard what happened last night?
– Yeah, pitiful ain’t it?
– What?! You mean you stand by those crooked gringos ese?
– Well, not really, well…, I don’t really know you see …
– Well would you look at’cha! You’re the only mexican here and yet you wonder, how cozy homes! Meanwhile, us little guys who’ve been here before these gringos ever came to run our lives and are now telling us how to speak have to fight for our very existence.

Albert just stared; it never occurred to him that he was being run over by people who until this time had been his co-workers, neighbours, friends and associates. Albert didn’t have any more strength to continue the conversation and walked away from the water fountain leaving the waterman shaking his head. That the whole issue had come to his work was more than he could tolerate and made it a point to get the issue out of his head for the rest of the day.

Then, it dawned upon him. The division of the town was the division he had so long felt within himself. Never really belonging here or there, always having to choose sides. Yet essentially, whatever it was that made him who he was, a straddler, a walker of in-betweeness, a hyphen between the anglo and the mexican and the rest of the world, it was also happening out there in the streets. He walked back to his office shaken by the realization. All along, since he was a child, translating for his mother, speaking for his father whenever they went to shop or do some business with the rest of the community he had to be the middleman between two worlds in his town. Now he understood what it was the throngs that so baffled him were all about. He thought pensively for the rest of the day and decided to take a stance.

On his way home, the issue of bilingualism had died down, the city council had backed down from its stance and Tauwny was free. The town went about its business in a regular fashion and Angela awaited to tell him of the funny language his son uttered, a mixture of English and Spanish, they called it spanglish. Albert now stood feeling better about his new identity. His new self to the point of considering running against counculman Rodriguez only to later recant, “one step at a time” he thought, looking outside the window of his house as life returned to its normalcy to his beloved city.

Ok, am’onna be real frank with’ya pancho. I ain’t got balls at all. Yeap, am a dinky mouse, a chicken shit and if am telling you this now, however that might surprise you, am trembling all the way down to the bladder, which is about to explode and make me pee in my pantalones ese; let it be said, as I speak these unlikely and unwilling words that I ain’t got jack shit on you compita and no huevos at all ese, nada, zilch, to even begin to think where to start to tell you off. So yeah, that.

-Once said that, he turned around and began zipping his tecate beer again. The night kept falling, the darkened shadows becoming evermore pitch black, like a bat’s wings fluttering above the sky, radar and all, all the way to his home. His only thoughts were “if only this were Scandinavia, yeah, midnight sun and all, yeap, that be nice ese, jijole, really nice homes.” Although truth be told, he only said homes to himself once things got acomplished and done, which in his case, wasn’t that often, so tonight, as he drew the pinkish-yellow, blue indigo flowered curtains in his room, to lay his head were he wished she was awaiting him, “just like good ol’ times”, he remembered fondly those northern lights dancing above in the dark skies of his cherished Norway.

He was the kind of guy that never came up with any witty remarks, and for the most part, he thought of replies way too late. Like days or hours after the incidents that had left him thinking passed away, much as the morning dew drops he so much enjoyed watching evaporize as the sun made its morning rutine and then trying to retell how they looked. His friends hadn’t the slightest notion what he talked about. Nor could he either make people laugh, yeap, this country, this new land was at times to much to bear. He longed for Aztlan, where he could make people laugh and hear his people’s voice, but that too was far away, love pulling in different directions. She in Norway and his soul somewhere in Aztlan, He, he is here. After 20 years in exile being a globetrotter has lost much of its appeal though he wasn’t too sure about visiting places anymore since what mattered the most was the ride, he loved the motion of travelling. It had something to do with this crazy notion that his mother travelled a lot as well when she was pregnant with him, and that, he reasoned it was why he felt a sense of security from a to b.

He just couldn’t explain his lack of courage.

We did not give a fuck.

The cop stood outside the patrol car for a sec or two, hand in gun ready to shoot at us the moment we made a false move. We were brown and we had a 1954 red chevy truck with chrome tires in a toll road built just a few months ago before the new years eve 2034. I saw his glasses reflect the lights of the chevy in his black what looked like Mark Vinci of Italy design eyewear. I remained cool, rolled down the window and waited with my hands clearly visible on the chain steering wheel. What the stupid white cop did not realize was the stealth motor I had placed on my chevy. It didn’t even sound on. The moment he approached to ask his dum racial apartheid questions I pressed the accelator so hard he didn’t even get to see the color of my eyebrows and all I saw last was how his hand reached his holster. We were too far for any shots to be heard by then.

The thing was simple, I was in a jam and needed dough fast and now, so I hooked up with a few acquaintances while I climbed the social ladder. Theyre easy going, simple folk who didn’t care to much for the infectious lifestyles that Holywood cried out for, yeap, these folks, like my folk, cared just for one and one thing only, their own. I on the other hand have always wanted to trascend borders and always wanted to go beyond that which my gente gave me. So I said yes, I would, no big deal. The only obstacle was to come across the border. A thing I had been doing all my life. It was a reward which was to give enough to take care of my current problems.

When the winds hit you right, he said, it gives a thirst, thats when they face the sun with their eyewear on and when they get distracted cause they drink their water, your window of opportunity opens up. I was instructed to pass thirty ounces of it and was not even informed what those thirty ounces stood for, all I knew was that it was precious and many people were eager to see it across the border.

I really don’t know when it all started but I heard enough stories to know it was not all that long ago. The walls were ten stories high, 30 kilometers wide and made a part of the landscape were I was born. To me, like the sea, they had always been part of the environment I called home, except I was gifted. The government, spearheaded by what then were known as hawks institutionalized de facto a state of emergency on the nation. Today they are just called Patriot Citizens. A little structure that got its idea out of a former red committe outfit which gathered information on everyone the minute they stepped into this earth. You were born into it, like being a Catholic, you know? It basically erased out of history more than 200 years of good sound democracy but hey! Who cared? It was history to me, things schoolbooks I read said. So long as Hollywood produced good comedy democratic stuff like voting was a geek think an act ridiculized by wealthy middleclass snobs and cool dilettantes. More guards were busy there then at any post across the divisive line that separated the two nations. I always passed no hitch, get my drift? So anyways, those stories made more sense now, I was nervous and needed a cause behind me. I heard my grandmas voice tell me of those gone yore days, how the gringo suddenly erected the wall. How thousands of Mexicans were shuttled across the border in an ethnic cleansing sweep that would make the Isrealis and Serbian leaders of the 20th century green with envy. They had God on their side, but my uncle always quipped, we have Gods mother on our side.

I had to device a way to cross the border on my own terms and without being detected. He said clearly: you get busted for this, you end up away from here in flesh and spirit forever, theyll clean your brain out nice and clean and Human Right groups will not have a thing on them since they will leave your body unscathed, get me?

The night fell, and after the the high speed escape I was tired from the speed I drove the Chevy, totally drained. I came home, Mexico, to my futon, hit the light swith and as I faced down the pillow the door bell rang. What the? I opened up the door after checking who it was, Sheila came in. She wanted to talk, but my ears and eyes zoomed into her cleavage. Her breasts always talked to me better than her mouth, or was it the other way around? My fantasies always confused me. This time though, I reacted, the nervousness kept me more sober than ever. Come in I said as she walked straight in and her body left a trail of an intoxicating fragance as I walked behind her, Poison I thought, my fave.

* It’s nearly one in the morning watcha want?
* Bill kicked me out of the apartment, he has a new broad with him now so am ancient history. I need a ride across the border, can you fix that?
* Can’t honey, gotta split early there but gotta do it alone, so can help you, sorry babe.
* I’ll pay you good, you know those bastards at the crossing don’t allow pedestrains anymore on the the weekends and Monday is so far away from now.
* Come on baby, I’ll do anything you want me too.

Ok, so this is a nice set up I thought, the girl I always wanted is offering herself to me of all nights tonight.

* Tell you what, you sleep over there and in the morning we split 7am sharp, get my drift? I take you across, hand me over the dough now and we call it even right? You got your papers in order right? I don’t wanna get stuck in Homeland Security Detention because of you.
* Off course I do nincompoop, come here, lemme give you a kiss in the mouth.
* No thank you babe, it’ll do seeing you naked babe but no touching.

The night went smoothly. The ultra marine dress slipped out of her body and out bounced her breast like two firm well done cups of jell-o in the semi dark room and handed me over her panties. I sniffed them out of their delicate fragance as I stroked harder and harder inside my pants. She looked at me beginning to masturbate and she began to caress her breasts as she side glanced towards me. The more I saw her do it to herself, the more I got into it. I got lost in my thoughts seeing her legs spread out, I felt heat and sweat beginning to build up in my body. Her hand slid down to her pubic hair, she clearly wanted me to see her every pour open. She laid down in the floor. Her ass jumped up and down hitting the woodfloor with a tump tump the closer she came to an orgasm. I came all over my pubic hair the moment she turned around doggiestyle. Her pussy showed a very swollen opening, damn, I just had the best orgasm in days I thought and crashed in the futon with my hand feeeling the warmth of my liquids.

By the time I woke the clock struck 6:45am and Sheila was no where in sight. She had scrammed, took my Lowrider magazines from the 1990s and left my place all messed up, I was knocked out with gas. No time to think, my head hurted tad though. I dressed up and ran to my truck to meet up with the Dropper. I still hadn’t figured out a way to get those 30 ounces across.

[…]

I came around to the cul-de-sac where the dropper was, a simple looking farm picker it seemed, but then again his revolver was quite visible. I got out of the car and started to walk towards him. The air was fresh and the morning dew could be seen in the grass, the Dropper had huaraches on.

-What up ese?
-Buenos Dias, here’s you stuff.
-What’s this shit?
-Be careful, you don’t wanna be caught with that, you’ll liable to end up in problems. Don’t open it, no matter what, just take it across and there you’ll meet Chilangito, he’ll take it from there.
-How am going to pass it? – That’s for you to figure out, the product is expected, so hurry up ese.

It wasn’t bigger than a zip it bag, and it weighted exactly 30 ounces. I didn’t even know what it was and I was expected to cross it over. I put it inside the headlights, so long as I din’t turn’em on there wasn’t going to be a problem, although it did seem a little bumpy. I’m hardly ever stopped, so I headed towards the border. It was jammed packed. Cars were cutting each other. I was tempted to do the same, but I didn’t want to raise any suspitions. This time I had something to hide so I played the good citizen.

The imposing walls freaked me out, although I have always seen’em their brown exterior seemed a little more rusty than before. Pinches güeros would say my grandmother everytime we passed through them, as if we were to take back all the states they robbed us. She was keen in reminding me that all the time, in a very loud voice too, precisely as I would turn my docs to the migra..

We, the Xikano raza, have become inheritors of Adam, Jefferson, Franklin and Washington’s democratic principles.

They understood we would understand as soon as their heirs lost all sight of all the goals of the American Dream due to their stupid blinding patriotism. Off course, I know they were all dead before we were even born, but they laid out plans for such an event and thank God! We, Xicanos, can talk to the dead, we of mexican pure extract sort, with an added pinch of salt, can see the dead too.

So yeah, they were here, and el notario came to confirm, “We the people of the United States,” said the notario, “hereby declare that all Xicanos are now inheritors of the Ideology behind the greatness we crafted for America”.

Dang, I said, as I sat there with wide eyes looking at the crumbling age old piece of paper, it ain’t even recycled said I, shit homes, along with the dead looking funnily at me as I spoke, that’s a whole shit load of work, those gueros left us, I thought in my dreamy head.

Ni madres, said I rather out loud, this is every decent American that calls himself or herself American, American’s home, why dontcha leave it to All the Americans who still believe in the American dream and not to folk bent on war?

Franklin, the mild mannered kite flier, electricity entrepreneur, still under the shock of my language, and taking notes to send it to Noah Webster, said, what? I suppose it does make sense to give it to the American people.

Ni madres! said I again, as Franklin scurrilously tried to jot down the very words I spoke and looked at Jeffereson to see if they were still in America, “the last time you said that, the gueros thought you meant the white folk ese, so I suggest that you leave to Americas current founders who happen to be of any race and are Americans by virtue of being born here or Americans by virtue of having ties to the land and or live here whether illegally or legally but respectful of the laws of the country and caring for this great nation.”

Here here said George, ax in hand and mistress on hand, I agree, it shall be left to the people who are constructing our modern nation.

Chale, good thing I objected said I in the privacy of my thoughts, it would’ve meant a whole shit of load of work, …pinches gringos, all work and no fun ….

The afternoon gave out a strange light for that particular hour of the day. It was August and around this time the harvest was due for picking yet the day was infuriatingly red. The clouds carried a strange blue hue and the winds had a distinct smell of protuding carcasses. The nearby factories exuded more than their usual output of smoke. Jane observed all of this while walking towards her house, a scant mile from the factories and as she looked on pensevily at the strange combination of natural and unnatural phenomena she suddenly could not breathe with ease, a slight cough cleared her throat but only temporarily, the fumes in the air became stronger and stronger as her eyes faintly made out some twirling blue lights and dust clouds behind them. She continued walking not making notice of her health and just an earshot away some siren sounds were heard. Her steps carried her homewards, and the small shack were she made her home was impregnated with a stench so familiar to her that it made no difference to her nostrils anymore.

She turned on the light, a bulb attached to a live wire from a nearby electrical post, like everyone else, she stole her electricity too which was meant for the factories. She undressed herself, having worked all day at the recycling center, she frecuently came home more dirty than she would want to and started the gas stove she had for a kitchen. Having boiled her water she took a shower the only way she could, placing the water in a plastic bucket the factories usually dumped nearby, she doused herself with a casserole and quickly shampood herself, her long black hair ran to her shoulders and as the water ran down her hair, she felt alive and clean again. The tattoo from her local barrio became particularly aglow with colors as the vanilla colored skin that constituted her body gave way to the colors of her Virgin Mary tattoo on her back, I sat there, watching her very wide shoulders become wet with the water as it let steam rise as soon as the water ran down her vertebra.

-How’d it go today honey?

No answer, the water kept running, splashing on the only piece of concrete of the house, down a funnel that made its way to the other side of the plywood wall and let out its contents on the dirt, were previous waters had made a course, as the small stream of water made its way down the hill were greenish like algue formed its way along colorful oily bubbles the never seemed to pop. I stared at her breasts, awashed with steaming vapors, hard, nipples aroused, walking towards me, to grab a towel, her long brown legs were shinig the bulbs light, and every step brought her closer to me.

-Dry my back, she said to me as she threw the towel on my face.

I did, as I passed the towel to dry off the remaining water drops on her back. I got excited as I wiped the back of her body, and she knew I was turned on. Forget it was what I heard as my hand passed her wet buttocks. She was afraid. She had just lost her baby, prematurely and without a brain. Such things happen in this city, and the experience had left her numb, I could understand but to the local government these factories meant revenues and the people only a nuisance, so when she delivered her baby, it was only one more statistical number piling up until international pressure built up, only then would the municipal burocracy heed the environmentalist warnings, but until then, the factories kept spewing its toxic waste and we couldn’t do much about it.

There is a certain texture about a day that begins with slight greyish opaque clouds and nippy air, you notice how silence gradually turns colder as you becomes aware of the day’s atmosphere. It is one of the few calm and tranquil aspects of the landscapes I am made to experience here in this lonely village, up in the Highlands of Sweden. As I awake to the everyday, not a few number of those mornings turn out to be just like that, there is a quietness that engulfs one and the noiseless streets and still trees suddenly become silent partners in a framed still life.

It is these mornings that make me realize how common and everyday my life is, amidst the blue skies behind the thick clouds drifting away to unknown welkins leaving only its humidity in the immovable air. Once in a while this quietude is torn asunder by the passing of a car on its way to somewhere, leaving behind a disconcerted and deeply in thought mexican man who awakens from a deafening and pacifying atmosphere.

I turn my gaze to the window where the pine trees are forming rows upon rows of trees in an up and down triangle spike like form and a wide open space for cultivation is visible, a few stacks of rolled hay in white plastic dot the field, the green seems wet as it is a deep dark verdure giving one the impression that there is an element of water at hand in its looks.

I slowly walk towards the front porch and I feel the wind caressing me with its crispy fresh hand as the chime sounds its metal clinging to evoke a chinese, japanese, oriental paradaise some distance away and I feel how the temperature is far from mild, closer to fresh yet chilly enough coming from indoors. This very texture brings to mind a sort of seclusion, a fragile apparent solitude that surrounds my senses and which can be broken any second; life is such, still and raucous and me inbetween.

It wasn’t anymore the suns rays which shone goo like light on cracked up faces that became the center of attention of his obsessed eyes that’s for sure; no, the purplish neon lights in his apartment did the daily life chores that amusement provided and consequently bothered him for their obvious necessity in life to move on. His list of intrinsic complaints aobut life read like a monk’s desire to seclusion in Nirvana.

He begrudged meal times, hunger pangs being a distraction from the rest of his pursuits; whenever his penis would turn hard the agony was to much to bear at times and he loathed all the ensuing activity required to get back on track; sleep, baggy eyes, and a weak body yearning to lay down sent futile signals to his brain for a pause in activities, and he fought effortlessly to keep awake to no avail, nuisance he thought of it.

His superhuman soul search considered such carnal demands obstacles in his life long quest to continue on and on, awake, on an intellectual pursuit of the mind.

Industrial deco design goods cluttered the four spartan walls on his 5th ave apartment in the 800 populated village of his. A swash shadow that liken Gotham darkness covered the tranquil going small town of his whenever he peeked through the blinds of his drawn curtains.

Martin Estrada Canberry was born on an August evening in the star spangled skies of the Florida everglades.

He used to smoke pot like a motherfucker, all the time and loved metal, that boy had cassette after cassette of metal from all kinds of bands from all over the world. He was a head banger if that term still exist. Somehow he used to maintain his cool which used to bring bouts of jealousy from my part, I wanted to be like him, off course, I wasn’t. He had everything: money, no work, just fun and play. He was good at math and came from Bolivia, he was a Chinese of sorts and spoke Spanish, if you took a good look you couldn’t figure him out for Bolivian, gringos from Redwood City wouldn’t make him out for a Latin American, no way in hell they figured that out, fucking gringos they can’t see the world in more than black and white, for all their color naming they are actually color blind when it comes to Latin Americans, for that matter I’m too, but once you see’em hanging out with the Hispanic crowd then you know he’s gotta speak Spanish, besides, there’s this vibe all Hispanics feel when one of theirs is around, so it didn’t fail to turn up in my radar once I spotted him. So I used to go his house ‘cause of this Spaniard from Basque country that bought himself American citizenship with false papers once an amnesty for illegal immigrants kicked in 1988. He claimed to have worked in the fields, picking tomatoes or what not, stuff gringos don’t usually do. The now defunct INS bought it, it only costed him 500 bucks, he had bought the letters from a crooked farming business that made tons selling letters ascertaining that said person worked there then and then, motherfucking Spaniard, never seen a field in his life, that’s all, two years later he was a full blooded American Citizen, anyways, I knew him that way, he was a roommate of the Spaniard. There are only two things I remember about him, he used to brag that he didn’t know where or how his parents earned their money and perhaps the most revealing part he left me, he said once to me: how can you explain the color orange to a blind person, describe it then!

I was impressed …

– No. final, that’s it, I won’t accept any other outcome.
– Am afraid things have changed.
– You were told exactly how the outcome was to be accomplished.
– Certain unexpected events arose during the execution of the command.
– Were there any non-friendlies around?
– Those that were were properly dealt with.
– Good.

The office of the 78th floor on 4th street was ample, the carpets white and as Victor rose from his leather chair behind his mahogany desk, he lit a Cuban cigar. His face became bright with the flames of the cigarette lighter and casted whirling shadows as he lifted his eyes to meet those of his worker. His workers were used to this ceremonious walk and remained still as Victor proceeded to walk around his employee. From behind his employee’s back, he let out cigar smoke, puffing very loud and clear, much like a tiger would growl encirculating his prey before the kill.

Meanwhile, at the paper company where paper for stocks are made a Q & A was taking place …

– When the stars shone ..that’s when.
– Any particular motive as to why just then?
– Look Ed, the guy is a fraud, there is nothing more to it.
– Here, take my handkerchief., you seem to be developing a sweat in your forehead.
– Jaja, very funny.
– Exactly when did you see them like that together?
– I’m distraught, can’t you see?
– I see what you mean, but I, in as much as I sympathize with your emotions, the company requires of me to record all activity that took place prior to the incident.
– “incident”? is that what they’re calling it?
– I really don’t have time, if you want to I can send some other people to …
– Fine!, I caught them in there with their clothes nearly off, my girlfriend laughing and the guy sweating like a hog, there, happy!?
– Just procedure Mark, some valuable paper was destroyed in the ensuing passion and now they have to pay for it ….

The aisle was carpeted with a carpet named Yielding Effects and the color was, according to an old catalog my mom had left behind, Oriental Jade. The walls bore paintings from the family’s efforts to inculcate their children artistic talent that only now stand there as testimony to their good intentions and their immense faith they had on their children. Family photos also hung here and there of relatives now gone to better pastures. In the middle of the aisle stood an eighteenth century mahogany longcase Grandfather clock with a rocking ship in the dial and a quarter-chiming movement that used to bring shrieking screams from my mother every time we rushed by the aisle to get to the table during dinner time. It was her pride and joy and only remnant of a past she never tired to remind us of. It now stands there marking the hours as it always has done, ticking away the light of the sun and welcoming the shadows of the night, collecting dust by the minute every day.

To a larger degree, this very aisle has been witness to many an historical and turning point in the affairs of our family and also a silent onlooker to many a fight between mon and dad and we siblings. The trip to Cantabria reached a final decision right here, by the copy painting of Monet’s Waterlilies, Green Reflection, Left Part. Over there, by Toulouse-Lautrec’s The Toilette poster, bought during a small sojourn mother took in Paris, my sister fainted because, as we lesser beings unaware of the mysteries of womanhood later found out, she’d been then 7 weeks pregnant already.

Maybe the reason for this flurry of activity in an aisle was due to our bathroom being there. Many screams to hurry up were shouted on top of our throats to the door and yet here I stand now, in front of it, alone at last, and somehow It doesn’t feel the same….

Just then a voice from the distance interrupted his thinking – ” Are you coming George?”

– Wait a sec hon … I’ll be right there. George walked into the bathroom and took a piss, zipped up fast and then headed for the car.

– Boy! Why do you always have to take so long every time we stop at your mom’s old house? I mean every time we stop here you always seem to take an eternity for just taking a piss ..

– Just drive hon, just drive …

There was only that one chance. The crowds were thick enough to create a diversion and grab it. The moneybag lay idle in the counter, so it would be enough for a fire alarm to cause a small panic, stretch the arm, grab the dough and make a run for the door. The only obstacle would be the guard at the door, a buffy looking security agent who seemed in love with his job. He had the handcuffs in plain view, as well as a can of pepper spray and a mean looking baton, which he caressed with his left hand like a cat owner would his pet. Just then a scanty clad dame popped in distracting the guy who comported himself like a gentleman by pointing her to somewhere and then walking with her a bit. Gary saw his chance and walked towards the book section and stopped near the emergency fire alarm, pulled it and started to walk in a steady pace towards the counter so as not to raise suspicions. At the sound of the alarm everyone became disconcerted and moved quickly to get the heck out of there. Gary grabbed the dough just when the clerk was trying to figure out what was happening and made a dash for the door. He ran as fast as he could and swung the doors wide open with all his might.

Ernest didn’t feel like opening that can of beer, he had enough of the drudge monotony that was beginning to fill his daily evenings. So he picked up his keys, put his jacket on, checked that the radio was off and left his flat. Down the elevator, he came across a neighbor he was pissed at so he just gave him looks that killed, and then proceeded as they wlked out to cheerfully and out loud say hi to the first passerby he met just to piss off the neighbor even more. 9pm and he took a whiff at the city, it smelled like buttered popcorn does at the movies except that it was drizzling. So he kept walking, destination unknown, thinking maybe that it was time to pay a visit to his old girlfriend. A few blocks down the road he found a quarter, still wet he picked it up and started to flip it up in the air as passersby whisked along. Should he walk there and see her or should he take a cab? Should he just drop by or should he announce his visit? He kept a fast pace as he took off the hand from his palm to see how the quarter landed and see what fate had sealed for him.

Olga was in the mood for some shopping. She donned a miniskirt, and a shirt that fit like a glove that marked her voluptuous body at every curve. The stiletto high heel shoes put the extra touch in a very nice outfit. Looking outside the window she noticed some small rain drops in her pane. She grabbed an umbrella just in case her hairdo came into danger. Looking one last time in the mirror, she checked her deep red lipstick color in her lips, pursed them inwards and made a loud pop! sound from her mouth. She walked the stairs down to the street, it was busy and the city noise became a second background as a known passerby to her stopped her and a loudmouth crowd passed them by. They exchanged some salutatory greetings and after that she went her way swinging the unneeded umbrella in a circular motion as her hips moved to a salsa song in her head. A few blocks well into the city and ad caught her eye, 35% off on all Calvin Klein products. She went in.

The weather was gray and the city noises were a mishmash of screams, crying and yelling with that of cars passing by and a police car with its siren still on. The ambulances had the siren lights on, resembling a disco death of sorts. To the left of the sidewalk, were curious onlookers stared, were bundles of money and shiny coins scattered across. They stood in wait, like vultures, for a distraction from the only police car to have arrived at the scene of the accident. Some handcuffs lay strewn on the street, and a security guard sat by the sidewalk with a bruised head and what seemed to be blood running from his nose, dripping down to the wet asphalt mixing with the gasoline and oil stained flow of water near a gutter. Medics were attending to three people and one was already being carried inside the ambulance in what seemed to be an unconscious state, it seemed he had suffered a deep concussion to his head. Another man was lying down in the wet street complaining that the back of his legs hurt ‘like a motherfucker’ and that he might also have a fracture to his kneecaps. The other body, a female, had some red lipstick smeared in her face and a miniskirt displaying fine long looking legs and some broken high heel shoes. She was being pumped air and an injection being administered to her in her left arm glared all the lights that the city could reflect on its metal needle at that moment.

A small whisper coming from the crowd fought its way through the noise and the lights, ‘Hey! What happened here?’

The trees had been planted by some immigrants at the time Alaska belonged to Mother Russia. They were not native to this soil but adapted themselves very well, spreading far and wide across the valley and even proclaimed a natural reserve not so long ago. It now attracts tourists from afar as Siberia and a few dachas are built around its edges although government regulations have prohibited more be built.

Boris looked on this piece of land as if it were his. His ancestors were raised here and their ashes spread across the forest as was their last wish in this world. These mornings Boris woke up particularly early since a long awaited event was to take place at around these dates. Everyone waited for the right temperatures and weather conditions waking up expectantly in search of this long awaited act of nature. During a certain point in time during the early days of march the morning dew gave a delicate scent that locals were very well aware of and kept it a secret so that no brochure ever mentioned it. It was a time when the Atlantic dropped its water inland and the mild winds shook the top of the trees and the early spring warmth pressed the sticky pine oils from its bark. The drizzle made the soil dispel a natural smell that combined with the pine scents, a natural, rich in nature, odor enveloped the whole village for a period of two to three hours depending on the strenght of the sun.

It was during this season that one morning Boris caught eye of a woman. She sat in a position that resembled the Yoga position of Lotus, dressed in a white garb, and on his property. She seemed peaceful and her hair hung loose. Unsure wether to go there and start a conversation, Boris continued looking on until the lady got up. Aware that she was being observed, she turned her head towards Boris and waved from afar a salutatory greeting. Boris waved back but continued where he was as the lady went about her way.

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