A Burden, For What? by Michel Encinosa Fú

by    /  September 9, 2013  / No comments

Translated by Alison Macomber

Daniela killed herself. She burned her brain; this is what I’m referring to.

In the bathroom of the theatre, they said. When the power went out. She broke open an outlet, grabbed the cables, and peeled them back with nail clippers. After, she stabbed her skull with scissors twice, then put the cables through. Into her brain. They say that this doesn’t hurt, and neither does a quick bite to the brain. Then she sat on the toilet, they said. And when they turned the electricity on again, the voltage and the amps came and went as they desired. You should’ve seen it, they said. You could see into her skull through the holes in her head, can you believe it? And her underwear was wet. And all of her makeup was still intact. Daniela wasn’t one of those fairy faggots that cried, they said. But she’s the one that pissed herself, they said.

None of them were there, but they keep talking about it. And I believe them. I thank them, and I walk down the sidewalk in the shade because the red-blue police carnival is already driving me crazy. It’s a beautiful day. A little bit of sun, little clouds, an incredible transparency.

“Hey, they told me that a crazy chick killed herself in there.” Gloria jumps toward me, with her eternal smell of trash. “Were you there? How was it? Hey, what the fuck are you laughing at?”

“It’s a beautiful day,” I said dodging her hand trying to grab my arm.

“That happened because someone wanted it to and he pressed a few buttons in his office.”

It’s true. It’s horrible. It’s like remembering that my stomach is full because a calf was butchered a few days ago. No. It’s worse than that. It’s like being the butcher who dismembered the calf. Gloria insists: “How was it? Was it because she was having an affair? Or did they tell her she had AIDS? Tell me you faggot.”

“It’s not important to you,” I said. “Stick your tongue up your ass.”

She spits on my feet and heads toward the mountain of trash that spills over the buildings’ trash bins. I stare for a few seconds while she begins to sniff, to rummage, to salvage. I’m tired of looking at it. Every day the same corners, the same trash bins. This is Gloria of the neighborhood. She who eats what you shit. She who wears anybody’s clothes. She who collects cigarette butts at the bar. She who enjoys this city as a free supermarket. You know, Jesus, so young…

  1. Michel Encinosa Fú
  2. Fiction writer. Editor.
  3. He holds a BS degree in English Language and Literature. He has published Sol negro (Extramuros, 2001), Niños de neón (Letras Cubanas, 2001), Veredas (Extramuros, 2006), Dioses de neón (Letras Cubanas, 2006), Dopamina, sans amour (Abril, 2008), Enemigo sin voz (Abril, 2008), El Cadillac rojo y la gran mentira (Loynaz, 2009), Casi la verdad (Matanzas, 2009), Todos tenemos un mal día (Loynaz, 2009) and Vivir y morir sin ángeles (Unión, 2009). He has been included in more than twenty anthologies in Cuba as well as in Italy, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, México and the United States.
  4. Read more…

Broken spandex over her butt. Tan skin with no cellulite. Skinny and harsh body. Spiked and ashy hair. So young. I turn my back and I continue toward Barcelona St. I walk around the Capitol. I continue going down toward Brazil St., until I catch a glimpse of the bay in the distance. I walk, contemplating my shadow which walks ahead of me, until there’s no shadow to think about. At some moment, I don’t know when, the whole sky was cloudy. I tend to be slow at noticing these kinds of things.

People always told me, “Don’t go around breaking girls’ hearts. And certainly not the hearts of young girls. The younger, the worse.” Ten years ago, Daniela was seven years old and I was seventeen. Ten years ago, we were both hungry. Like siblings, we slept in the same bed in our poor building lot; it was her fault that I was late to discover nocturnal masturbation, serene and solitary. But I never reproached her. I never reproached her for anything. Not for her slaps or for her tantrums from her nightmares. Instead, I said to her:

“Imagine that, Dani, my dove. Can you imagine? Harley Davidson. You know what a Harley Davidson is? A bike like the one uncle Patricio has. But bigger, like a sofa. And you and I on her, on the road, can you imagine? On a freeway like in the movies, you know, Kansas, Arizona, Omaha, Salt Lake City, sun, big sky, straight, always straight, into the cloudy horizon, into the horizon where lightning always falls, you know, can you imagine, my dove? You see the bolts cut the air, but the motor of the Harley won’t let you hear the thunder, and then you go ahead and it never rains, because the clouds are running from us, and there is almost no weed, and all is quiet, the motor of the Harley, and you laughing, and I accelerating and accelerating, can you imagine?”

“Yes,” she answered, “and we’ll do that one day?”

“Just as I said it, my dove, one day, one day we’ll do all of that.”

Yuri sometimes came. He listened to us for a while and then left. Yuri was a very boring older brother, because he was never hungry. He left the university to sell marijuana and PC components. Yuri was the one who pushed mom to send me to the weekday boarding school. “We’re very cramped here,” he said. “My clients come here, they see all of these people, and then they get nervous.”

After, somehow Yuri found a husband for mom so she could leave too. “And don’t you worry about me taking care of Dani. She’ll be better fed and attended to with me than she was with you two.”

Mom left under pressure. I can’t blame her. I left feeling pressured. Daniela never forgave me. Seven years. Daniela was seven years old when I broke her heart, and she never sent it for repair. She started liking the bubbling of her broken teapot. Dandling it through the nights, she put a different rhythm in her life.

When I came to visit, I laid beside her, just like before, and I talked to her about the festivals at the Dunlop curve, during Mardi Gras, and in San Francisco. “Quit talking shit,” she said to me, and turned to the other side. Yuri sometimes came, and he looked at us like we were pathetic.

Yuri is sitting at his desk, alone. The Sergeant is standing up, leaning on the wall, smoking. But he doesn’t count. Yuri builds a domino wall. He knocks it down with his finger:

“I’ve already heard.”

I sit in front of him, gather some dominos, and make them look like Stonehenge. These type of things always intrigued Daniela. Dolmens, menhirs, whatever. Neolithic drunkenness, all of that shit.

“We have to move on. You heard me, Omaha. You have to get rid of the burden,” he says, as he raises his head. “What do you got there?”

A man enters the room pushing a child ahead of him:

“You can stay with him tonight, but tomorrow I’ll be here early to pick him up. Give me the usual.”

“And what’s the rush?” Yuri measures the boy with his eyes, and the boy smiles at him.

“He’s my sister’s nephew. So that’s the hurry. The usual, I told you.”

The man leaves. Yuri gets up and tells the child:

“Come here.”

I follow them. In the back room, Yuri sits the boy on the bed, and puts a ham and cheese and TuKola soda in front of him, on a small table. For a while, Yuri watches how he eats and drinks, and then he gives him a Nintendo DS.

“I hate it when they bring them to me like this,” he comments. “They don’t even last for a night.”

I shrug my shoulders and return to the living room. The Sergeant is in front of the table, roughly groping a domino. He blinks like a boy in trouble, drops the domino, and returns his three hundred pounds of muscle and fat to his spot.

I put any DVD into the player and throw myself on the couch. It turns out to be Wesley Snipes, with glasses and a sword. Just what I need. It begins to rain outside.

That night, two weeks ago, at the San Rafael Boulevard, it was also raining. Hector. Hector was my friend and desk-mate in elementary school. I used to borrow his pen. He let me play with the little soldiers he brought to school–his mom entirely unaware. His hair was very blonde, almost white, dry, and bristly. Not much had changed.

“Omaha,” Hector said to me, “make a decision, we’re not going to stay here all night.”

Daniela looked at me scared. So did the other girl, her friend. When he was a boy, Hector was a loner. He only played with me. Now his company had changed. And it had multiplied. A lot.

Those five guys seemed to be able to wait all night, but maybe they weren’t going to. At least, they seemed impatient to me when they stopped us and brought us to the garage. I am not a rolling, I am the highway… I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky… shouted Chris Cornell from the Panasonic on the hood of the Chevrolet. And he seemed to believe it.

“Your brother is crossing, Omaha,” Hector said to me. “He’s getting into my affairs. The fine flesh is his, okay, but the herb is my business. Because the pigs have sticks up their asses, the last thing I need now is competition. I have to send him a message, okay? It’s not that I want to harm you, but I have to keep a good reputation with my partners, and with the neighborhood. That’s it and nothing else, so relax, because nothing’s going to happen to you, but, make up your mind. Which of the two?”

The two stopped looking at me.

“Do it. Your sister or your girlfriend?” You tell me.

“And all of this, I can just tell my brother that you, at knifepoint…”

“What knife? Do you see any knives here? A knife? Do you think we need that?”

I looked at them. Hector had grown a lot. Quite a lot. Also, the others had too. I vaguely remember them from elementary school. No. They didn’t need anything like that.

Daniela’s friend was still holding one of the sunflowers that the actors had given to the public. The play was entertaining. Many children in the audience. Much laughter.

“Take my sister away from here,” I said at last to Hector. “I don’t want her to see anything.”

The guy shakes his umbrella out at the door, toward the outside, and enters.

“You have anything?” he asks.

Yuri nods. The man pulls out his wallet.

“And what about the other stuff?”

Yuri nods.

“Thank God.” The man puts two bills in front of him, on the table. “Today I fought with the labor union, over those payrolls from last week I told you about… And I’m pissed off. And when I get back home my wife will surely want me to take her out to the movies, and my daughter is pissed at her husband, and every time she comes and starts talking shit and…”

Yuri continues to nod. While nodding, he takes some joints out of his pocket and gives them to him. The man goes to the back room.

“Give me one,” I say to Yuri.

“No,” he replies. “Not unless you pay for it.”

“Well damn, I’m your brother.”

“The worst thing in the world is debt between brothers.”

Voices. The man’s voice. I believe I also hear the child. I’m not sure.

They pulled Daniela out of my sight. Two of them grabbed the other girl. Hector turned up the volume. I didn’t look at her face, while I unbuttoned her jeans. While I pulled down her jeans. While I pulled her underwear down. She had a belly button piercing. A tiny Chinese lion’s head, with a tiny gem. Maybe it was just a piece of glass. Yeah, that’s more likely. I felt the tip of Hector’s boot on my butt:

“Not like that. Do it from behind. So that she feels you. So that you both feel it, her, and you.”

They turned her around. They pushed her forward onto the hood. I thought that the best thing to do was to end this as soon as possible, so I acted accordingly. She behaved herself well. She didn’t scream.

“Okay,” said Hector when I zipped my fly up. “Tell your brother to keep his fingers out of my business. And you were great, really. Just ask her.”

I turned my face, very slowly. Daniela was behind me, in the doorway of the garage. She was trapped between the two, with a handkerchief stuffed in her mouth. They had her there the whole time. Her jeans below her knees. A third guy, behind her, stepped away from her.

Daniela let out a breath she seemed to have been holding for centuries. The guy zipped up his fly. I don’t know which was worse. If she had seen me, or if I had seen her. Or to know that she had seen me, or to know that she knew that I knew that she had seen me, or to know that she knew that I had seen her. Maybe I should’ve asked the other, her girlfriend, which was worse. But I never did. I never saw her again. Daniela didn’t either, I think.

The woman leans against the doorframe; she’s pissed-off.

“Hey, Yuri, and what about mine? Are you going to pay me or not? Look, I don’t want to mess with you, but don’t you know the meaning of respect?”

  1. The Writer Speaks
  2. Interview by Ahmel Echevarría

  3. Writing is trail of gradual, successive illumination. To go on means keeping the spark alive. The urge to speak, to tell. Do not get stuck in one topic, one style, one catharsis. To learn how to circumvent archetypes, to learn that archetypes are essential.
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Yuri stretches in his chair.

“I have your money, girl. But it wouldn’t be suitable for me to let go of it now. It’s that I’m going to make a kind of investment, and it could start at any time… I have one for you back there. Head to the back and give me until Thursday. Look, so you see that I’m not cheating you…” He pulls out a wad of cash and fans it out. “Yours is here, but like I already told you… Of course, if it bothers you that much, I’ll gladly, by all means…”

“You know how it is, Yuri…” she comes in and stands beside me. She smells divinely good. “But I don’t think there’s a problem until Thursday.”

And she heads to the back room. Yuri puts the cash away, and lights a joint. He blows smoke in my face.

“Don’t look at me like that. You’ve never known what business is all about.”

And that’s true, but it’s because I’m Omaha, you know. Omaha, the guy with the happy face. The one who crosses the street without being touched by the sun. The one who doesn’t get wet when it rains on the beach. The one who knows how to talk with children. The one who sells his only pair of shoes today and tomorrow he gets a free bike. The one who never pays, but always invites. The one who tries to walk to church, but comes back from the cabaret. The one who is on everyone’s lips, and to everyone, he’s honey. Or good, cold beer. Or melted cheese. Or a snapper fillet. Depending on what one prefers. The one who came to stay. The one who is always leaving. The same, yea, Omaha. The one I wish you were, Omaha.

Outside it doesn’t stop raining, but I have to go. It’s that, or I’ll go crazy.

The rain makes Gloria’s smell at least bearable. She doesn’t realize that I’m behind her, looking at her ass, until a few minutes pass of her being lost in excavation. She turns to me with arms full of empty bottles.

“Hey, gimme a hand, come on.”

To her surprise, I say yes. We put the bottles in a sack that’s already filled half way with I don’t even want to know what kind of crap. We drag it one block, two blocks, in the rain, until she announces:

“Here it is.”

I follow her into the darkness of the hallway. Stairs. She, ahead. I miss a step and fall face down onto the sack. It was softer than I expected. We continue. Door, padlock, key.


I manage to make out a bench and I sit on it. Gloria throws me something like a towel and tells me to take off my shirt. I obey. She turns on the light, and the first thing I see are her tits. Beautiful tits.

“You look like a wet cat,” she says, pulling her t-shirt to the floor. “Come here. You must’ve come here for something.”

She goes through another door and turns on another light. I follow her. The last room was a warehouse full of sacks and garbage bins. That didn’t surprise me. This one did. Books stacked to the ceiling, lovingly compressed. In a corner, a kerosene stove. In another, a bare mattress. In another, some clothes on hangers. That’s it. And Gloria naked. I didn’t notice when she took off her spandex and her sneakers. I’m still slow, very slow.

“We have to hurry,” she says. “My man will be here in a little bit.”

And why not? Every woman has the right to have a man. Even the Glorias.

“And your man, what does he do? Does he also dumpster dive?”

“Not at all. He’s in charge of a lot of money. He does business.”

“Quit fucking around. What kind of business man would want to get mixed up with a dirty girl like you?”

“Hey, come on, yea, that’s my man, the owner of the neighborhood. His name is Hector. And don’t tell me that you don’t know him.”

“Hector. The blonde, the herb man?”

“That’s the same guy. You shouldn’t be surprised. A ton of men like women like me, who know how to move. He ain’t fucking with no one else. I am the one he likes. He always brings me presents.”

I approach her. She opens her arms. I hit her twice, rapidly, in the face. She collapses onto the mattress, blood pouring from her nose.

“Son of a bitch, faggot, what the fuck is wrong with you?!”

“I don’t like women like you.”

“You’re crazy, you faggot.”

“If Hector asks you, tell him it was Yuri.”

“And who is Yuri, you dick?”

“I am Yuri,” I say to her, and I leave her there, bleeding.

I was the one who invited Daniela and her friend to go to the movies that night. Should I feel guilty about this? It was I who said, “We’ll take the boulevard.” Should I feel guilty?

Yuri’s at the same door; he looks perturbed. I look inside. Four of them are playing dominos. Another two are smoking and looking out the window, without talking. The Sergeant is in the middle of the hallway that goes to the back room, and struggles with the Nintendo DS.

“I hate when this happens,” Yuri said to me. “Too many people. But given that it’s really raining… If I had at least two or three more… It’s a good day to win big, and I’m out of stuff to offer… Any ideas?”

I shrug. What do I have to say? A man comes out of the back room, and passes by the Sergeant. Yuri nods to the other, who rushes to the back. The one that just came out comments to Yuri.

“You better give him a bath…”

And he leaves in a hurry.

“Omaha, do me a favor, put the heater in the bathroom,” Yuri said to me. “And fill the bathtub. And get me a pair of clean sheets from the closet too.”

I obey. The back of the closet in Yuri’s room is the wall of the other room, the back room. I can overhear something. I can’t hear much, but I still can hear it. Anyway, I didn’t listen long. I’m sick of hearing it.

Dani went more than a week without talking, without crying, without going out to the street. Almost without eating, without sleeping. “I can’t stand it, Omaha, I can’t stand it, why didn’t you do anything?”

I told her to go to the doctor, to get drunk, or sleep. She ignored me.

“Are you almost done?” Yuri pokes his head into the bathroom. “Two just got here, and one pays well.”

“I’m almost done,” I reply.

He fries me an egg, and he leaves. I reach my hand into the water. It’s still warm. The boy looks at me for the first time. I hold his gaze. It’s easy. Too easy.

“Get in here, sit down, lean forward so I can wash your back, get up, lift that foot, now lift the other, sit back down, turn around, close your eyes so the shampoo doesn’t get in…”

It’s too easy. And I like that. I dry him, I dress him, I push him out, I leave him in the back room, and I signal to Yuri. He, without wasting a second, calls to a man who could be our grandfather.

“He has a couple of bruises, and some scratches,” I said to Yuri. “So I turned the light off and left nothing else on besides the lamp. You know some clients don’t like that.”

“You’re learning,” he says.

And it’s true. I am learning. Finally. Not much, but something. Enough. At least, I hope so.

Today, when Daniela told me that she wanted to get ice cream, and then that she wanted to go to the movies, and then that she wanted to go to the theatre to see her friends’ rehearsal, I felt happy. Now I feel really stupid.

The Sergeant scornfully smacks the old man as he forces him out of the room, without hurting him too badly. We’ve all had a bad day. We’ve all had one bad day after the other. We will have even worse days, until the days run out. Until we’re all finished.

  1. Alison Macomber
  2. Alison Macomber
  3. Literary translation/editorial intern at Sampsonia Way Magazine. Her work “El Guepardo,” as photographer of Mexican Masks on the streets of Taxco, was published in Generation Magazine. She is a writer for the “I Write: The Movement” Foundation. Graduate of Saint Vincent College with B.A.’s in English and Spanish. She translated Burmese poet Khet Mar, as well as a collection of Miguel de Unamuno’s poetry in a Literary Translation Workshop at Saint Vincent College. Her thesis project about the silent voices of women in late 18th century America was entitled “Founded on Muffled Fact: Silence Speaks in The Coquette.”
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The old man leaves, crying. The boy, in the bed, up against the wall, shakes. Yuri brings some pills. I look at him wondering, and he explains:

“To pick-him-up.”

I nod. To pick-him-up, whatever that means. Whatever it is. Amphetamines. Tonics. For high-performance athletes. For desperate ministers. Antidepressants. Hallucinogens. For housewives. For the Santería gurus of the online new wave. Analgesics. For all. Perhaps, all of that at the same time. Different kinds of pills. There are so many pills. Or simple placebos, maybe. That’s the most likely.

“There’s hot coffee in the kitchen,” Yuri tells me. “Bring me a glass.”

I go, pour him the equivalent of a cup, and return.

“I said a glass,” Yuri raises his voice. “A complete glass. Filled to the brim.”

I go, pour it, and return. Yuri forces the boy to roll over and sit on the edge of the bed, while the Sergeant splits the pills with his fingers and drops them into the coffee. Maybe they are not placebos, after all. They boy just looks at the floor.

“Go ahead, take it.” Yuri puts the glass up to the boy’s face.

After a struggle, and some splashes of coffee on the sheet, the glass is empty… No, but at the bottom there’s still sediment. It’s quite thick. Yuri gives the glass to the Sergeant, who goes to the kitchen and returns stirring another full glass.

“Go ahead, don’t play the fool with me,” Yuri begins the second round.

His small enemy surrenders without much of a fight. After emptying the glass, he coughs.

“A soda,” Yuri orders.

I go. On the way I grab a beer for myself. I take long sips, while the boy hastily drinks the soda.

“Are there many left?” Yuri asked.

“Two,” replied the Sergeant.

Yuri nods, and grabs the boy by his shoulders.

“Good, well, nothing happened. Be a man, and then I’ll give you something.”

The boy doesn’t respond. Yuri takes his silence as an okay, and the three of us go, leaving the boy alone. Leaning out the window, I look at my hands. For the first time, I notice that my pinky is slightly separated from the rest, at the base, and begins a little lower than the rest. I wonder if everyone’s hands in the entire world are like this. Or maybe it’s just a deformation. Intrigued, I try to see Yuri’s hands. I can’t see them. He has them in his pockets. I try to look at the Sergeant’s hands, but he always has them in fists. I try to remember Daniela’s hands. It’s useless. I only remember–I think–that they were weak.

How much force is necessary to penetrate a skull with scissors? How long do I have to wait?

“Forget about it,” Yuri appeared next to me. “Forget about Dani. Have some balls, and forget about her.”

I think I see sadness on his hardened face. I begin to regret it. Who knows, maybe it won’t turn out well. The Sergeant is tough, and big, but I’ve never seen him work. I’m sure that he can deal with two, and maybe three, even four, but who knows. Hector is the owner of the neighborhood, and the neighborhood is full of a lot of people. And Yuri… Yuri is my brother. He’s as skinny as me. That’s why he has the Sergeant. My brother, the only one I have now. I should…

“She was a bitch anyway,” Yuri says. “She was a whore, Dani. A good whore. It’s better like this.”

I stare at him.

“I started to fuck her after you left for Grandma’s house. Dani liked it, from the beginning. Also she loved when I would take pictures. I discussed this with my partners, and then I showed them the pictures. And then one asked me if he could be with Dani. I thought he was joking, but he was serious. He told me he’d give me money so our friendship would remain cool. I said yes. And then to my other partners. Dani liked it, not as much, but she continued liking it. Then a woman brought me a girl. She was her husband’s daughter, not her own, and she left her with me every Wednesday, when her husband was on duty. She said fifty-fifty. That seemed okay to me… And so we progressed. When Dani got a little older, she told me one day that she didn’t want to keep doing it. I told her that was fine; that she was no longer needed. She told me to never tell you. I also said that was okay. But now that doesn’t matter… Can you imagine? She loved that I called her ‘my dove,’ like you used to say…

“And it seems impossible, after all of the wood hammered through all of her holes, that she cracked only because they did it to her, perforce… Yea, I found out about that, although neither one of you told me anything. Also they told me you were very good… But that doesn’t matter. Want me to show you pictures of Dani, when she was a little girl? I still have them on hand.”

I don’t see anything on Yuri’s face anymore. It’s just a simple, hardened face. Nothing more than that.

“Seriously, you don’t want to see them?” he insists. “You can even have them. Really. My gift to you. And if you don’t want them, they’re the Sergeant’s gift.”

I tell him no. I say I don’t need them. He can do whatever he wants with them. I look at the street, then the corner, and I tell him that I have to go to the bathroom.

As we watched the rehearsal, I noticed that Dani had been silent for a while, absorbed in thought. I thought I knew what was bothering her, and I hugged her shoulders.

“All you have to do is tell yourself that nothing happened. And if you say it enough, it’s true. Because it’s true. Nothing happened. To me, you’re still Daniela, my dove. And if you want, when you’re feeling better, I can tell Yuri, and you’ll see how the Sergeant, Yuri’s shadow, will give Hector and all of the others a suppository of The Morro Lighthouse…”

It occurred to me that it was a witty and convincing speech, and, proud of myself, I smiled at her while she told me, smiling, to wait a minute, while she went to the bathroom. I kept smiling when the lights went out. I even smiled when the lights came back on, when somebody screamed in the bathroom, when everyone began running all over the place. How dumb.

From the bathroom window I lost sight of Hector and his guys, his “animals,” who, by now, should be at the door. There are like six or seven of them. I’m not so sure about what’s going to happen. I’m not even sure what I want to happen.

Voices. Shouting. Gloria’s name. Shouting. Daniela’s name. More shouting. A bang on the table. Another slam. More yelling. The volume lowers. It keeps going. Voices. Isolated words. Silence.

I leave and head toward the living room. Yuri and Hector sitting at the table. On the table, some bills. A bottle of rum. Glasses. Serious faces, quiet. Men at the table. Affairs of men.

“When I find the one who broke my bitch’s face, I’ll break his balls,” Hector says, and he seems to repeat it four or five times. “No one lays a hand on one of my women like that… And much less, no one tries to involve a business partner of mine like that…” He lifts his gaze toward Yuri. “In fact, it’s not your fault that your sister was such a pussy and an asshole.”

Yuri nods:

“Family isn’t upon request. That would be nice… But anyway, about our deal, let’s meet tomorrow at the bar, and discuss it thoroughly, with clear heads. You’ll see that we really do agree.”

“Yea, hell, I’m sure of it.”

“Omaha,” Yuri cocks his head in my direction, “go to the corner and buy a couple of bottles. I have some soaking wet friends here and their bodies need to be warmed up. Take those with you.” He points to the bills on the table.

The Sergeant and the animals group around the pictures he holds. They laugh. They click their tongues. In one of the pictures I glimpse Daniela’s smile. A dumb blonde’s smile, like Britney Spears’, the kind of smile that Daniela knew always made me laugh.

“The good kind or the cheap kind?” I ask Yuri, and I grab the bills.

“The good kind, hell, everything is going well.”

From the back room comes the voice of a man and a crying child. Yuri, Hector, the Sergeant, and the animals, laugh. And I also smile, and go out into the street in the rain, to get the bottles, laughing, because, really, as usually happens when there are men who know what they are doing, everything is going well.

Edited in English by Joshua Barnes

All facts and characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Los hechos y/o personajes de esta historia son ficticios, cualquier semejanza con la realidad es pura coincidencia.

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