by richard ellis
*Editors note: The basic events of the following story are true. The writer took liberties as an imagined third party viewer to the factual events to give fictitious details describing how he perceived the events might have taken place. No disrespect is intended. Just a creative writer being inspired by the world’s own reality hells.
Breaking up is hard to do, especially in Mexico. She cheated on him, I heard, although I know neither her name nor his. She cheated on him, as I said, and as is custom with such things, he broke off with her.
“No more of that cheating puta!” he may have cursed in his own language. His own language which is not my language. I don’t understand his language. His culture: I don’t understand that either. There’s craziness in Mexico. There’s craziness in America too, but in Mexico it’s showier, more ostentatious. Police corruption rides on the surface. They’ll steal your gloves for no reason. Bribes are dogmatic, there’s rules. So he may have cursed her as he made up his mind to throw her out of his life. It’s harder for a Mexican man to forgive a cheating woman; machismo is shot through their culture like webbing in cheap plastics. Machismo plays its own games. Machismo takes no shit. A land of broken and battered races eating cheap wormy pork tacos on the hot sand, wondering what happened to the pyramid builders and the honest rule of brutish gods; why should they want to take anymore shit? They may have been briefly fooled once by god like white men on horseback, but they’re not so prone to fall for fairy tales anymore. Fairy tales like borders and laws. Because they have cousins in America: aunts, uncles, moms, dads and nieces too.
The cheating bitch, weeping, given the brush, knowing herself wrong. She never thought her betrayal of the relationship would be discovered. But it hurt because it was, and maybe the other guy hated her too. After all, she is a cheap twist. In her painful misery, her heartache, she cries to her brothers about how she was so mistreated, mishandled. I wouldn’t know. How would I know?
Maybe she embellishes the facts there on the second floor of an old adobe apartment complex, blackened by exhaust and blasted smooth by hot sand laden winds. The story unfolds and she adds (or perhaps doesn’t have to add) details about the beatings and the time he took a butane lighter to her nipples and she had to call the federales on him once but they raped her instead of helping. The brothers and their friends are furious. The hatred grows. They’ve been beaten by the federales too. They know what it’s like, but there’s nothing you can do to authority, but there is something you can do to bastard ex-boyfriends who have dumped your sister. They start plotting, scheming, hatching ideas over liters of 2-dollar tequila. Maybe not tequila, maybe they hate their culture and instead swill quarts of angry gin. Four Mexican boys frustrated into mad dumb rage. Gin or tequila inflaming their impassioned sense for revenge. It’s those familial ties, they’re stupid strong in Mexico.
Fueled by liquor, driven by wrong mindedness and a false concept of pride, the four run out to the streets. They get in the pick up truck, two in the cab, two in the back. Where does that asshole live?
They know where he lives.
The brothers dropped their sister off at his place many times. Oh yes, they know right where that bastard lives and they know just what they’re going to do with the rope coiled up in the flatbed, lifeless unable to make a tactical venomous strike on its own, and the gun, pure potential energy in the glove box. The sand from the deserts is in the air, stinging the reddened drunken eyes. The boys in the back shield their eyes with curved hands, snorting sand particles out from their broad old Mayan noses as they bang along the cracked scorched tar road.
Somehow, the anger and idiocy never abates and they reach where the damn bastard, son of a cunt, calls home. Oh, now that fucker is going to get it. They run right up to the house where the fucker lives. Too bad for him, he is home, in the house he shares with his mother and grandmother. All the other relatives are on the other side of that long guarded border that stands for so much and means so little. At home, watching the news on a static tube. Telemundo reporting a big drug bust. They show the dead bodies. They tell of two governments working together for one cause. He sees the dead bodies on TV, sips his coke, bites a Dorito in half, and the next thing he knows the door is busted in, the landlord’s cheap dead bolt bending and splintering up the particle board enforced adobe walls like an ugly black beetle pushing up dirt as it struggles to free itself from the dark earth through a crack in the sidewalk. He chokes on his Dorito and scrambles to his feet. Three of them have blasted inside, and they have him. Telemundo bursts into snow when the set hits the floor. He gets thrown out the front door and into the pink paint flaked rail dividing apartment from street. Blood cruises out from a shallow cut on the forehead. What’s going on? He knows these guys.
“You want to dump our sister cocksucker?” they curse.
Again, the cursing is not in my language so even if I was there I couldn’t be sure of what they’re actually saying. They throw him in the dirt. They throw him in the street, and then he sees the fourth boy and what he has done. There’s that rope, unfurled, one end tied to the bumper. They tie the other end to his arms and head. Ah, he knows the plan, and he starts begging, but he might as well be speaking my language for how well the others heed what he cries.
I don’t think they’re going to stop.
Two boys jump up into the cab and two others ride in the back. They whip into gear and down the street, around corners, swinging out wide, dragging the ex-boyfriend over sun-baked tar. He screams in horror as his clothes tear through and the friction of exposed flesh against rough heavily pebbled black top burns and rubs skin raw and through muscle and in other places it scrapes the bone and chips pieces of bloodied white skeleton free. He tries to hold his head up, dirt and exhaust kicking in his face. The two boys in the cab chuck rocks and empty beer bottles at the sorry sight they haul behind them.
I wonder how the onlookers must feel? I wonder if the girl would feel vindicated by the sight for being swept to the gutter like stinking dog shit by this bleeding, abnormally bent and twisted Romeo?
The driver slams on the brakes. Now, they have come full circle, back in front of the ex-boyfriend’s place. The front door is still kicked open, but the television has already been run off with like his girlfriend who ran off with that other guy for a night. God, how that made him mad, but he couldn’t really remember that right now. Right now, he remembered how much he loved her and how much he still loves her. He doesn’t understand the feelings because he wants to hate her for hurting him. Shock has fully set in. Nothing else explains the beautiful numbness he feels even as his foul, ugly blood runs off to the gutter from his wounds as other wounds, packed with sand, begin to clot. He screams the lost girl’s name, the young woman’s name who he loves.
The driver reaches across and pulls all that potential energy out of the glove box. He exits the car and another boy pulls the ex out from underneath the pick-up where he slid from the sudden stop.
He’s about to get another sudden stop.
Looking up from the ground, he can barely see the brother standing over him through the shock and dirt. The brother looks like his sister, like that woman he loves, like that woman who broke his poor boy’s heart in two. It is her standing over him. It’s her, come to kiss the wounds and heal and love and forgive and all will be well. Overcome by happiness and warmth he calls her name, and wishes he had time to brush his teeth. She always hated Dorito-breath, always.
Damn, how hearing this sad dumb maggot speak his sister’s name angers him, and in a flash of ginned up wrath the gun shoots and bores a whole straight into the ass fuck’s brain. It bores and bores through until it explodes in a wash of reds, purples and grays onto the street beneath.
Quick! Cut the rope! Get in the truck! What have we done!? The truck screeches down the street, leaving the dead in its wake.
Hearing the commotion and seeing the truck galloping out of sight, a body in the street, and most horribly, her door smashed in, his mother, one of many Mexicans with sisters in America, runs to the body, fearing the worse. It is too much, and overcome with grief, she retrieves a common kitchen knife and turns it on her self. She is skilled, proficient and punctures her left ventricle. Later, still, and coming from I don’t know where, her mother, the ex-boyfriend’s mother’s mother, his grandmother, the mother of the sister in America, she finds this awful piling of bodies and, as her daughter before her, dies with a self-inflicted knife in her heart on the filthy Mexican street. Right there on top of her daughter and her grandson. The sister in America will be inconsolable, but hopefully, for her daughter’s sake, she’ll make it through on more strength than most people ever need.
In Mexico, later, the sirens of the federales wailed and the dog’s howled along. The federales grabbed whatever money was in the pockets of the dead, and one of them took the bag of groceries the mother threw down. Not even the cream had gone bad in the heat.