Carlos lifts his hands for the security guard and enters the market. He searches for boys without hope, without opportunity.
Today Carlos finds Michael, a boy with sleepy eyes and a nervous twitch.
Carlos offers him a smoke.
“Thanks, “Michael says.
Carlos looks at the soccer ball stenciled on Michael’s T-shirt. “You like soccer?” he says.
“Yea,” Michael says.
“How would you like to make some money?” he says. “Be a prince of Mexico City?”
“What do I need to do?” Michael says.
“Practice. If your good enough I can see about making you pro. Pay’s ten dollars an hour and all you got to do is kick a ball around for a few hours. That sound good to you?”
“When do I start?” Michael says.
“Now,” Carlos says, “if you want.”
Carlos opens the van door for Michael. There are ten other boys inside. Michael climbs in.
They drive out to the desert. The boys are hustled out of the van. In front of them are four men, blindfolded and on their knees. Behind them are six men carrying automatic weapons. Michael smells piss and shit.
Carlos walks over to Michael and hands him an ax. “You know what to do,” he says. “This is a test. Pass and you will be part of the family. You will be part of the cartel. The city will be yours.”
Category Archives: Matthew A. Hamilton
The cracks in my hands told me
i pour a bowl of Rice Krispies
i flip on the bathroom light
I flush them down
The resting place of Sohaemus
within the stillness of weathered stone
the steps of nine walk toward the dark light.
here, all reality is swallowed by the past
people have been walking here since the beginning of time
I sit here, think about life and death
He coughs. He has headaches. He vomits blood. He faints. Doctor Smith tells him he has inoperable cancer. He gets a second opinion. Dr. Wilson says there is a chance. He begins chemo. Color coded pills fill the medicine cabinet. Blue and green in the morning. Pink and white in the evening. He sits in a comfortable leather chair. He watches his blood mix with a gold liquid. He is tired, but feels better. He takes a shower. The hot water massages his skin. He rubs his scalp. His hair begins to fall out. Razor in hand, he looks in the mirror. He cries. He doesn’t want to continue with the chemo, the pills. “I’m going to die anyway,” he says to himself. “And when I do, what then? All this money. My wife and children, their future. I just can’t do this anymore.”
Bob walks in the Doctor’s Hospital of Manila, goes to the information desk.
“I’m looking for Dr. Cortez,” he says.
“Second floor,” the young girls says. “Make a right at the elevator, then take your first right. Room 205.”
“Thank you,” Bob said.
There is a pile of people waiting next to 205. Bob walks in.
“May I help you?” the receptionist says.
“I’m from Peace Corps,” Bob says. “They called you.”
The receptionist hands him a sheet of paper. “Yes, sir, please fill this out and we’ll get you in as soon as we can.”
“Looks like lots of people out there, though,” Bob said. “How long’s the wait?”
“We can get you in as soon as the doctor arrives, sir.”
“Are you sure?” Bob asked.
“Yes, sir. We have a good relationship with Peace Corps.”
“Thank you,” Bob said.
Thirty minutes pass, then an hour. The nurse comes out. “Sir,” she says, “I’m sorry, but the doctor will be late. Do you want to come back tomorrow at twelve?”
“Sorry,” Bob says, “but I have another appointment at twelve, but I can make it early morning tomorrow, say eight?”
“Sorry sir, the clinic opens at eleven. But if you don’t mind waiting now, it will be another hour.”
After another thirty minutes, the nurse returns. “I’m sorry, sir, but the doctor is ill. Can you come back tomorrow?”
“I guess I’ll have to,” Bob says.