Manolo stared at the plastic sheet serving as Cacho's shroud.
Cacho and the other boys, seeing the signs, changed too. Most found other ways to make a living or moved away. Cacho saw his father, grow old and broke, with nothing to show for his hard work and religious faith. Saw his mother, Alma, dying from cancer, the family unable to pay for treatment which might save her.
Cacho drifted. Stopped showing up at the docks. Began hanging with pachucos, gang bangers, in Brownsville, bringing home wads of cash for his mother, driving her to the doctors himself. He desecrated his bronzed, athletic body with gang tattoos. When Alma died, he drowned himself in booze and cocaine.
He got mean, Manolo heard. And he got rich from smuggling drugs. Read more (PDF)
Who's Got Next?
If some people, standing in the grass beside the court, ask why a middle-aged man left a multimillion dollar big city law firm to ply his trade in a small, Midwestern town for a tenth of the pay, Hank tells them he is not here to practice law but to play ball. The people laugh, say "no, really," and again ask Hank why a guy with salt and pepper hair and skinny legs is playing imaginary games and shouting trash at unseen opponents. Why is he representing kids for petty crimes and drawing up wills for old folks with little or no assets, when he could be sitting courtside at Bulls games and arguing cases on behalf of multinational corporations before the Supreme Court.
"What's up with that?" they say. Read more (PDF)
When it topped the crest of the hill, the diesel engine of the rusted semi seized like a fat man on a treadmill failing a stress test. Jesús jerked the wheel of the flat lining rig to the right, tapped the brakes, popped the clutch, and jammed the gear shift into neutral. The truck lurched to a halt on the gravel shoulder of the back country road. The mish mash of scrap iron and junk stacked in the trailer smashed together with a screech. The engine spit sparks through the slits of the grill. Jesús stomped on the gas. Shocked by the surge of fuel, the sputtering motor hesitated, almost died, then belched back to life, spewing black smoke out the vertical exhaust into the desert night.
Jesús hunched over the steering wheel and cocked his head to the left, straining to hear each chug of the pistons. Through the sole of his lizard-skinned cowboy boots he felt the ragged pulse of the engine.
"Andale, mamacita, andale," Jesús whispered, patting the dashboard. Read more (PDF)