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Since we are in election season again I have noticed a bunch of renewed sad, inane bigotry being hauled out again and smeared all over the immigration issue. The following is a story I wrote about it awhile back.  

   “She was whirlin’ a broke butcher knife around her head.  She had it tied to a shoestring she stole from Felicidades’ tennis shoes.  She broke out the window over the sink and cut a box of pepper almost clean in half.  Pepper was all over the damn place.  All three of us started sneezin’ real hard and laughin’...  

...Yeah, she’s kinda crazy.  Felicidades says shes’s crazier than a bat.  Somethin’ like that, batty as a bat?  Nuts, she’s nuts.  Felicidades loves her a lot anyway.  It’s kinda fun here sometimes. You never know where she’ll be headed, maybe drinkin’, or prayin’ or tryin’ to rub a rattlesnake skin on your belly, talking in Mexican about Mexican religious stuff, at least that’s what Felicidades says she’s gibberin’ about.  I love her, she’s the only Mom I got.

   Felicidades ain’t my Dad.  I lived with him ‘till a couple of months ago.  He died when a guy pushed a car he was workin’ on off the jacks and crushed him dead.  They never did find the guy.  My Dad was a real cowboy and a real, sure fire, dope runner.  He brung dope across from Mexico horseback.  He carried it in some old saddlebags that I still got.  My great grandfather give ‘em to him when he got his first real cowboyin’ horse.  He rodeoed ‘till he got too old and got talked into doin’ it by his brother.  He ain’t no good.  

   Anyway, Felicidades came and got me.  I didn’t even know I had a Mom around anywhere.  I love her cuz she’s my Mom.  They say that that killer that killed my Dad ran off to Chihuahua, I’m gonna go down there and find him.  All three of us are gonna go.  Felicidades says my Mom has powers that’ll find him.  Felicidades knows Mexico too.  Yeah, she may be a “Sexy Loco Curandera”, that’s what Felicidades calls her, but she’s my Mom and she knew my Dad when he was good, we’ll find that sorry bastard that pushed that car.  My Dad did machinicin’ too.  He had a girlfriend once that give him a picture of a gun holster with wrenches in it.  He give it to me.  I hung it up but I didn’t like it.  

   My Dad woulda been thirty-eight last Friday.  Felicidades said that my Mom always burned a saint candle and piled up stuff in front of his picture every year on his birthday.  Felicidades ain’t jealous or mean about my dad.  He said he thought he was real guapo and looked like a real life vaquero and that there ain’t many of them around no mas.  Felicidades is teachin’ me Spanish so that I can talk to my Mom, I already know some-- livin’ out on the ranch with them wetbacks. Felicidades told me to not say wetback no more.   My Mom don’t speak a lick of English ‘cept some cuss words.  When she’s mad she’ll yell English cuss words at me and Felicidades – she even knows some that I never heard before.  If she gets to yellin’ cuss words at Felicidades when he’s drunk, he’ll yell right back, ‘cept he’ll yell out cuss words in Spanish and sometimes, to really piss her off, he’ll sing this Mexican song about a watch – she hates that song.  I don’t get it either – who’d write a song about a watch anyway?

   I really, really wanna stay here with my Mom and Felicidades.  I don’t wanna go to my Grandma’s house to live.  She’s alright, she calls me Huckleberry, she thinks I’m like that Huckleberry Finn kid.  She used to make me sit and listen to her read that book when I’d go stay with her at Crystal City.  I kinda was like Huckleberry livin’ with my Dad.  He was gone a lot.  Me and my friend, Gustas, his real name was Augustas, he was named after this movie they made out in Del Rio, we used to sleep out sometimes in this old shack that Mr. Jack said he built for them wetbacks on the ranch where we lived.  I’d take my Dad’s old twenty-two and Gustas would sneak out his brother’s thirty-thirty.  

   Sometimes we’d stay for two or three days; shootin’ armadillas and snakes mostly.  We’d pack in water, some of his Mom’s cigarettes, cans of beans and a bunch a candy bars.  Gustas never did like Snickers, I love ‘em, said they made him fart.  My Dad said Gustas farted so much 'cuz we didn’t eat much a nothin’ ‘cept  beans and burned armadilla.  We’d kinda pretend we were out livin’ on the King Ranch in the olden days.  My Dad worked out there some cowboyin’ before I was born.  He met my Mom out there in Alice.  They never did get married and nobody has told me for sure how come I come to live with him instead of my Mom.  My Uncle did tell me once that my Mom’s Uncle  was a kinda famous Mexican cowboy that worked out on the King ranch.  He said he was kinda loco too.  Said he used to go to Mexican rodeos all over and ride bulls and sell rawhide and javelina teeth religious stuff.  My Dad told my Uncle to leave.  My uncle paid him for what he’d delivered and nobody ever said nothin’ about my Mom again.  I was too little, I didn’t understand he was talkin’ about my Mom being Mexican.  I never did think I really had a Mom.  

   That’s how my Mom and Dad met.  He paid my Dad to trailer his horse over to a rodeo in Alice.  My Mom was selling religious stuff she’d made, Felicidades told me all this after I asked him to ask her in Spanish, she had kind of a store set up in an old stock trailer that she lived in.  Felicidades said that sometime we’ll go over and see it – it’s in his Mother’s backyard.   My Mom is older than my Dad.  I never did think I was Mexican.  But now I can see I’m kinda Mexican when I look at myself in the mirror here.  Guadelupe, Felicdidades’ sister thinks I look like my Mom a lot.  I asked her if she was named after a river.  Felicidades was laughin’ real hard when I asked her.  He told my Mom what I said in Spanish and she started laughin’ and gibberin’ at me.  I think that was the first time she ever give me a kiss.  I asked Felicidades how come my Mom never did learn English.  He said she just didn’t want to.  Said she said that she never wanted to dream about Mexico in English.  Pretty soon we’ll be able to talk about stuff.  I really wanna stay here with my Mom.

   My grandma calls almost every day tryin’ to get me to go to live with her.  Felicidades is really nice to her on the telephone.  He doesn’t know that she doesn’t like Mexicans.  I asked Felicidades if my Mom knows my grandmother.  He didn’t say nothin’.  I know she does cuz I’ve seen her say “pinche vieja” and spit and cross herself sometimes when she calls.  I know that’s probably not good cuz Jorge that lives on the ranch used to call an old Mexican lady that lives out there “stupid vieja”.  I don’t know what “pinche” really means but I know it ain't ok.  My Grandma asked Felicidades if he would bring me over to Crystal City next month for my birthday.  He give me the phone and I told her that my friends here were gonna give me a party, I lied, I really don’t have any friends here yet.  She knew I was lyin’.  She said that thirteen was a real important birthday.  I said that I would maybe get my friends to have the party some other time and that I would call her back.  Felicidades winked at me and got me to go help him put the camper top on the back of his pick-up.  He said he was going to pick up some melons.  I don’t know why he said that.  I know he was going to Falfurrias to pick up some wetbacks.  I heard him talking on the phone about it.  I’m pretty sure that’s what he does for a livin’.  He tells people that he brings melons up from the valley.  He knows I don’t believe it.  I’ve never seen any melons in his truck.  We never eat watermelon or any other kind.  I never called my Grandma back.  I asked Felicidades if we could maybe go get Gustas to come spend the night on my birthday.  He said he would ask my Mom.

   Felicidades came home from going down to the valley a couple of weeks ago.  I was here alone with my Mom for about a week.  It was a little hard.  She cooked stuff I didn’t like.  Felicidades knows that I don’t like most of her Mexican food.  He’ll take me up to the Circle K and buy me a hot dog or some fried chicken.  He had a guy with him that looked real bad.  I asked Felicidades if he was a wetback.  He got real mad, threw the guys backpack against the side of the house and told me don’t ever use that word again.  He looked real mean at me and said that I better shut up, that I was half wetback.  My Dad never would let me cry but I started crying.  Felicidades came over and jerked my cap off my head and then put it back.  I looked up at him.  He was cryin’ too, his pants were wet and he had blood on his shoes.  I didn’t ask him nothin’ more.  

   I started thinkin’ about the time Gustas and I were camped out at the shack and we found that Mexican man layin’ out in the brush and Gustas pointed the thirty-thirty at him ‘till we realized he just needed water.  We got him back to the shack and fed him some armadilla and beans too, he fell asleep on the floor and when we woke up in the morning he was gone.  We looked around for him, we never did even know his name.  He talked Mexican at us, Gustas said he probably told us but we just didn’t understand….I really do wanna stay here with my Mom, cuz she’s my Mom."

Previously posted at

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