This blog is about books, eBooks , my memories and tragic accidents.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

El Comedor


The Deportees, here is Nogales

As the van comes to dead stop, Uncle Larry breaks out into a cold sweat, he thinks aloud," Oh Lord, help me! I can see the fires of hell.", Dan and Susan burst into laughter, and Pedro tells him kindly, " Larry, If you're hot, take your clothes off! ". Uncle Larry glows with embarrassment, " No, it's nice. Where is here? "

 " Nogales. Say hello to Mexico." Dan shouts with a laugh as he gets off the car, then all the occupants leave the van, but the driver and Larry's group. Uncle Larry looks at his lovely kittens who are asleep in the seats, he feels so guilty that he has to awake them. However, the Uncle wakes up the children, " Get up, It's time to go." As soon as Larry and the girls step off, the car picks up speed and disappears in a cloud of dust.

Yes, the US border patrol lets uncle Larry down badly when it releases him in the no-man's-land and drives away. Uncle Larry begins running after the van and crying, " How could you do this to me? How? ... Don't be evil, I'm Google-boy, I'm GodSearch", the children's eyelids are still heavy, while Armis is yawning, Mino keeps rubbing her eyes, sleepy Tina is sitting on the ground, and Parmis stands watching Uncle Larry with closed eyes.

Pedro seems so unfazed by all the evens, he tries to calm Larry down, " Keep cool! Don't let them upset you... Man, you were a good boy, you spoke well, too. So be strong and don't cry in front of your daughters. Why are you angry at the BP?, it did its duty. The US border patrol has a duty to protect its own border against illegal migrants. We, migrants, also owe it to ourselves to follow our dreams, and keep in mind that metal barriers can't limit our ambitions. We'll cross back the border soon.", in the street  lights Uncle Larry stares at Pedro for a while, now visibility is good enough to see his face, a middle-aged man with sparkling eyes and brilliant mind. The Uncle considers Pedro a great Leader, so he feels a glimmer of hope.


  In a blue-grey dawn they step across the line, clasping hands. Now Uncle Larry is a deportee. If he had not seen this with his own eyes, he never believed that it's possible. Uncle Larry stops for a second, he looks back for the last time. The  lights are shining shamefacedly and the modern buildings are grinning apologetically, his eyes fill with tears. He feels unable to move because of fear, he worries he will never see his company again, but Pedro squeezes his hand. Uncle Larry smiles and wonders that the truth won't remain hidden forever, he bids farewell to Nogales, Arizona and turns his look to Nogales, Sonora.

Hoping a new life in America

Near the entry, Mexican officers are on guard. When the newcomers appear, the officers check their watches, then shake their heads sadly. Officer Arturo runs forward to shake Uncle Larry's hand, " Bienvenidos!", Officer Adolfo grumbles in Spanish, " You're too early. Americans say that they send children, women and the sick before 6 P.M., but they arrive at all hours....", Uncle Larry only smiles. Officer Alberto's eyes drop to the little girls, they seem sleepy and weary, the officer lets out a bitter sigh, he hates seeing his disappointed compatriots who left their native land to work in the States, but they missed all their hopes and dreams when they were sent back to Mexico.

Officer Arturo says to Uncle Larry, " Usted tiene una muy gran familia." Uncle Larry smiles in Spanish and says in English, " I can't speak Spanish." The officer knows a little English, so he tires to warn Larry about Coyotes, " Beware of  Coyotes, they try to get your family phone number, so that those scammers will extort money from them." Uncle Larry thanks and leaves there with the children. Officer Adolfo turns to his friends, " Poor girls! Likely they missed their mother, crossing through the deadly Arizona desert." Officer Arturo frowns, " You're very pessimist."

 Nogales is a little quiet town, Pedro has been there several times. He has a very good sense of direction, So he walks on ahead of the others and shows around. Now the sky is brighter. Mino asks Uncle Larry, " Where is here?". Uncle Larry laughs, " Nogales. Have you been ever in Mexico?" The children shake their heads, " Never."

Armis cries, " I miss Mommy."
Tina asks, " When will we return home? "
Uncle Larry responds, smiling, " We'll be back before long."
Tina's eyes shine, " That's Okay, so where is the best hotel in the town? "
Pedro starts to laugh, " The Best Hotel? we'll get ticket first, and find a pretty residence afterwards." Parmis , Armis and Mino giggle, they don't have any money. Tina squeezes her eyes shut to keep tears from coming.

Mino stares at the people who wander the street. They are wearing the bright orange uniforms. Uncle Larry says, " They've just been freed from prison." Parmis imagines herself in the bright orange uniform, " Oh no. I hate that, Uncle Pedro saved us. If the agents haven't known him, they would have sent us to jail, and I'd have had one." And Little Armis looks so silent, she thinks of her family. Suddenly a young man shouts hello from the other side of the street, and comes running toward Pedro.

They both hug each other warmly, then young man shouts with excitement, " Pedro, in a few days our tunnel will be ready." Pedro stands talking to the young man, as Uncle Larry walks towards into  a concrete building with the little girls.

I wonder You Could Help Me

Uncle Larry looks up the roof and sees the green, white and red flag fluttering in the breeze, the building belongs to the Mexican government. His eyes light with hope, he has the feeling that they are in right place. Uncle Larry needs help to return home. And here, there are various Mexican agencies that help displaced persons.They provide the Mexican deportees with services, such as food, shelter, bus and so on. Of course, Uncle Larry is not Mexican, but he hopes to receive aid. Uncle Larry breathes deeply and gets in.

There are only one or two people in the hallway, Uncle Larry comes up the man who chewing gum. Before Uncle Larry asks any questions, the man jumps into a room. About two minutes have gone when the man jumped out happily. This time he has papers in his hand, without any gum in his mouth. Now it is Uncle's turn, he walks in and all the children follow.

 The representative of the Repatriación Humana agency is sitting at his desk, he has large signet rings on both index fingers and also dark rings around his eyes. The man seems very strong because of his muscular arms, but he is really weary.

 Uncle Larry says, " Amigo, I wonder if you could help me." The government representative looks up at the newcomers. His eyes shift from face to face, from amazement to pity, then drift on Uncle Larry's face. The officer points to a chair and tells Larry, " Por favor, tome asiento, solo será un momento. ''

No one spots that a piece of pink chewing gum is stuck to the chair. Uncle Larry moves slowly towards it. He sits on  the uncomfortable chair, holding his false passport is in his hands. The officer asks, "¿De dónde es usted? = where are you from?" Uncle Larry didn't understand what the man said, he only smiles. Parmis shifts restlessly from one foot to  the other and wonders, " It's all Uncle Sergey's fault, if he'd taught me Russian, I'd have spoken with the officer."

The officer's eyes drop to the passport, Uncle Larry quickly places it on the desk. The officer looks the passport very closely, then smiles at Uncle Larry, " Su papeles deportados, por favor." Uncle Larry says, " What? I don't know Spanish, I speak only English, I'm American. We were lost in the desert, the U.S. border patrol arrested us and sent here. I'm American, I must call my family."

 The officer frowns, he hardly speaks English, however he makes himself understood. He smirks, " Senor Donoso, you're Right, you're American and can't speak Spanish ... I didn't know as the migrants cross the border, they forget their mother tongue ... your deportee documents, please."

 Uncle Larry leans forward, his hands claps tightly together, he stares at the government representative and says, " Amigo, I don't have any deportee papers, I'm American... I, I wondered you could help me."

 The officer looks at him angrily, " Senor Donoso, I like people who are honest... your passport tells me everything, you was born in Mexico city. I like there, it's a beautiful city. Forget America and return home, Okay?"
Uncle Larry replies, " Amigo, I told you the whole truth.",
The officer shouts, " Where is your ICE papers?"
Uncle Larry, " We didn't go to the U.s. immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the agents knew Pedro, he-"
The agent interrupts him, " This is the worst mistake anyone can make, you should have gone to the ICE... anyway, it's gone, you have to get back home."

Uncle Larry says, " Senor, I'd love to go home, I miss California, San Francisco, Mountain View, I miss Google. ", there are tears in his eyes as he speaks.

The representative rests his chin in his cupped hand, stares at Uncle Larry for a while. Larry's eyes tell him everything, Larry's eyes reflect his honesty. The man asks in friendly way, " Did you say you are American?! So this is out of my hand. Uncle Sam should deal with you, our agency can help only Mexican deportees, We'll deliver you over to the ICE. Are you still American?"

 Deep worry lines emerge on Larry's forehead as he hears about the ICE. He gets cold feet and says nothing. At that very moment, Tina puts up her hand and says, " May I speak, please? ", without waiting for answer she continues, " I'm Australian." she points at Parmis, " And she's Chinese." Parmis gets mad at her and shouts, " I'm not Chinese, I was born there, I Am Islander." ignoring her, Tina points at Armis and Mino, " And they are both Iranian."

Mino screams, " Rat, I'll teach you!", she jumps towards Tina and pulls her hair. Suddenly the door opens and Pedro come in, he talks to the officer in Spanish, " Don't pay attention to what they're saying, they'd been hours in the scorching heat, they suffer from dehydration."

The officer says, " ¿Ah sí? Llévelos a la clínica. ", he issues their IDs quickly and sends them to the next agency. " Excuse me, May I use your phone? ", Uncle Larry asks as he tries to rise form the chair, the officer responds sulkily, " There is a telephone ministry in front of the office, but you'd better go to the clinic first... what's matter? Can't you walk?"

Uncle Larry is unable to move, he is stuck him onto the chair by the gum, he manages to free himself, yet he can't. Pedro pulls him with all his strength until Uncle Larry is freed from the chair. The little girls begin to laugh, and
the officer sighs deeply, " Please, Shut the door kindly when you go out, I feel tired out." 

They visit all the agencies, answer to none of the boring questions- only smile- and get the temporary IDs with tickets to reside in Nogales, then they set off for the Dining room, El Comedor . 

Wake up and Smell the Coffee
A faint cooking smell wafts across the deserted street, it reminds Uncle Larry of a delicious breakfast, cereal, a cup of strong black coffee, pancakes with maple syrup, eggs with ham. Uncle Larry wonders, " M mm, that sounds tempting! ". The children smell out the inviting aroma until they reach El Comedor, a very old building with stuccoed walls. Then the strong Mexican Cooking smells hit him, Uncle Larry feels homesick and sighs deeply, " Wake up and Smell the Coffee!", it is the end of all his dreams about American Breakfast. They all join the crowd who lining up outside the eatery, however.

The new arrivals want to avoid drawing attention to themselves, so they stand mute in the line. Tina has a dazed look on her face, she stares at the migrants who have the bright orange uniforms on, she asks herself, " Why Am I Here?". Tina feels like crying aloud, but she squeezes her eyes shut to keep tears from coming. Then she pulls out her pocket mirror to check herself in it. Mino whispers to Armis, " She drives me crazy.", then shouts at Tina, " Tina, What are you doing?" All eyes turn to them, Uncle Larry glows with embarrassment and stares at his feet.

The staircase to the dinning hall is unfriendly, so the line moves too slowly. The people grip the handrail so as to go up the uneven stairs and get to the doorway .The man standing in the doorway, he is really friendly. He welcomes the guests with open arms and invites them in. Armando has broad shoulders and muscular arms, plus a firm handshake. Uncle Larry feels a sharp pain in his hand, after Armando shakes his hand.

One after the other, the deportees enter the eatery and sit on the benches.The dinning hall is decorated in bright colors, all the furniture are made of wood, and the walls are covered with religious posters and empowering messages. The church volunteers come running to distribute the food among the migrants.

Tina's mouth drops open as she steps into the room. She asks nervously, " Are we going to have breakfast in here?". Uncle Larry feels embarrassment, " Yeah, just this morning. We will leave here as soon as Uncle Sergey will come." Tina cries, "Oh no, I can't stand here, Let's go to a good restaurant."
Uncle Larry shakes his head sadly, " I'm sorry, Tina."

All of them sit around a table, but Tina. she stands beside the bench, staring into the space. Mino narrows her eyes at her," You stupid girl, sit and eat your breakfast! We are tired of hearing your grumblings. A good restaurant?!"

Tina raises her voice, " Professional dog-walker, Keep calm and Stop telling me what to do."
Mino clenches her fists, " iPhone, we're short of money- what for? Whose fault is it that we missed the balloon."
Tina's eyes shift from Mino to Parmis, then drifts to Uncle Larry, " It's not my fault. Why should I take the blame for others' mistakes?"
Armis cries, " Oh, Mummy!"

Uncle Larry, " Don't argue, people have stared. We shouldn't blame ourselves for what happened."
Pedro feels pity for Larry, he tells Uncle Larry, " Your children are spoilt rotten, they need discipline."

Tina is still standing there, staring at the opposite wall as Carroll bumps against her. Carroll was rushing towards the next table carrying a pile of plastic plates. Luckily, none of plates falls off the pile. Carroll apologizes to her in Spanish and says that she is in the way. Uncle Larry tries to keep a straight face, " Tina, sit down."

"I have the right to live a life free of violence", Tina shouts, pointing at a message. Everyone in the room turns to stares at that strange family. Uncle Larry keeps his eyes slightly downcast to avoid looking into their faces. Pedro shows his anger by banging on the table, "All people have the same rights...  Sit and eat your breakfast, You Naughty girl,." Tina is so frightened that she drops onto the bench at once. At the same time a nun appears laden with food, Uncle Larry smiles, " Two, strong black coffee, please." Pedro can't help laughing at him. The nun looks so surprised that Uncle Larry has to explain, " Sorry. I'm dying for a real coffee, even instant."
" Oh, I see." the nun smiles as she places the plates on the table.

Parmis's eyes shine with excitement, " M mm, Rice with beans! I've never eaten such a breakfast.". Pointing at the pancake, Armis asks, " Uncle, what is this?" Pedro replies, grinning, "Tortilla, it is so tasty!" Tina says, " I don't like this, I prefer buttered toast with cherry jelly." Pedro frowns, " Come on, eat up your meal."

Parmis family begins having breakfast happily. Tina stares at the dish for two minutes, then bites a piece of tortilla off. Eyes downcast, she continues eating.

They finish their breakfast in silence. All the plates are fully empty, except Tina's. She's eaten only egg with tortilla, and ignored rice with beans. Pedro asks her, " What's wrong with the rice and beans?"
Tina shifts nervously on the bench, replies, " Noting, it's OK. I'm just not hungry."

The migrants slowly get up and leave the dinning hall one after the other. Armis thanks Sister María, " Thank you, that was very good meal."The Sister responds, " We're happy to serve people."
Uncle Larry thanks, too, " We enjoyed it, thank you."

After breakfast, Pedro persuades Uncle Larry to change, " You'd better change out of these dirty, faded clothes. El comedor also has some free clothing. Go take a Mexican traditional dress." It is not surprising how quickly Uncle Larry  agrees with Pedro's offer, it is actually embarrassing for him to have some chewing gum on the back of his pants. Two minutes have gone by as Uncle Larry appears in a poncho and a sombrero, now he looks like a real Mexican.Parmis gets excited, " Wow! this poncho really suits you." Uncle Larry smiles to hide his embarrassment, " I don't think so."

 The bright orange is fading into dark gray, the migrants are changing into new clothes. Tina just stands there, staring at them that Sister María approaches her. Tina asks, " Sister María, I will wash the mud off my boots, where is the bathroom?"
For a while the Sister stares at the long black boots, then asks kindly, " Don't you think you should take your boots off?"

Tina looks down at her boots, then purses her lips, " Why? Why, they are very comfortable! I wear them all the year round." Sister María says, " But your feet suffocate in the hot summer sun."
Tina shakes her head, " Summer? you're wrong, it's winter now." The sister looks completely confused to hear her answer. Parmis dispels her confusion, " Sister, She's Australian, Now it's winter time there." Sister María laughs at the girls, " I thought you are Mexican?"

Tina screams, "Mexican! You must be kidding?! I'm a real Australian."
The sister sighs, "Anyway, Here is Mexico."
Tina frowns, " Yes, I know. But Children Need to follow their family traditions. Wearing boots is our family tradition. Besides, As a real Australian I respect our culture and climate. Do you know that I go skiing in Victoria every August? I've shared a lot of videos about Victoria on YouTube .... Oh, why don't we make a video of El Comedor? Sister, do you have any iPhone, I can help--"
Mino interrupts her, "No, Children need to run away." Mino's eyes are wide with horror as she speaks. Isn't it amazing that Mino is scared, because she doesn't scare easily.

Tina shouts at her, " Why oh why are you always interrupting me? ... So what was I saying?"
Parmis turns to Mino, " What's matter? why are you shaking with fear?"
" Needle, ... the breakfast wasn't fully free, they would give us needles instead." Mino says, pointing at the nurse who has a syringe in her hand.

Parmis is so terribly frightened that she takes two steps backwards, while Armis hides behind the Sister and begins to cry bitterly, " Sister, I don't want to get a needle."

Tina looks pale too, " Sister, How much do I owe you? I'll pay the check. By the way, where is the bathroom?"
Sister María tries to calm them down, " Are you afraid of vaccination? it won't hurt, it will last only a few minutes."

" Run!" Mino shouts as she starts running towards the exit, Parmis follows her quickly, Tina also jumps into the kitchen, but Armis can't escape, Sister María grabbed her arm as she tired to run. Armis shouts for help, So Parmis stands rooted to the spot with fear. Mino stops, same as her.

 A small crowd of migrants gather around the nurse who works for the International Committee of the Red Cross.  Uncle Larry glances at his clothes and lets out a bitter sigh, then his eyes drop to Parmis standing five yards away with  hands hanging limply at her sides, Uncle Larry smiles at her empty hands. For the first time in his life, Uncle Larry feels  happy that Parmis's tablet isn't with her, he can't stand being a media star for his poncho. Although he loves cells, he is safe without tablet at present.

Pedro asks him, " What are you wondering about?"
Uncle Larry replies somewhat fast, " Nothing, but Tablet."
- " Tablet! Are you OK?"
- " I felt fine until yesterday."
- " Then Roll up your sleeve."
Before Uncle Larry can ask " What for", Pedro pushes him towards the crowd who need vaccines. Uncle Larry cries, " I don't fear of needle, but I actually need no vaccines, I feel all right, let's go out."
Pedro giggles, " OK, first I must cash my checks, the tunnel needs much money, diggers also want their pay, ...  Look, David is coming, he can help me."

The migrants form a circle around David, he is a volunteer from No More Deaths. David has devoted his life to helping the migrants, he has responsibility for cashing checks. The migrants who have U.S. checks begin to sign them over to David, So does Pedro. He always has some U.S. checks with him, because his clients work in America.

Tina is still in the kitchen and the other girls are still shaking with fear, because the woman from International Committee of the Red Cross is in the room and smiles at them all the times. Mino says, " She only pretends to be kind, she tries to entice us."
Parmis nods her head, " Yeah. what is Tina doing?"
Mino shrugs, " I have no idea, she is a mysterious girl."

Uncle Larry stands waiting until Pedro hands the checks to David. Then he asks Uncle Larry, " Would you like to call home?" Uncle Larry's eyes sparkle with excitement, "Oh yes, I must call my brother."
Pedro, " Let's go, and I must visit the tunnel."
Uncle Larry turns to the children, " Here are Armis, Parmis and Mino. Where is Tina?"
Parmis, " In the kitchen."

Uncle Larry, " I'll call Uncle Sergey, Do you stay here with Sisters?"
The children are excited at thought going out of the room, they say together," No, we'll come with you." At the same time, the nurse leaves the room. Parmis bursts into laughter, " Guess what we will stay with the Sister." Armis and Mino nods, " Yes, We will."

Sister María smiles, " Don't worry, I'll look after them well."
Uncle Larry doesn't know what to say. Sister María is still stranger to him, he can't rely on her easily, so he hesitates for a few seconds, again Pedro helps Uncle Larry as he answers for him, " Sister, Thank you. It is nice of you to take care of the children."

They leave the girls with Sister María and set off for the telephone ministry. Only a few feet, he has gone away as he runs back towards the children and whispers to them, " Don't talk to Strangers. Talk about my real identity to None. Do you remember the guard's warning about the scammers."
Armis nods," Coyotes?"
Uncle Larry, " yes."
Parmis ," Uncle, Don't be nervous! we can't chat with them, because we don't know Russian."
Uncle Larry laughs, " Mexicans speak Spanish. It's good for you not to know their language, however." then he walks away.

The golden sun smiles at Nogales as they arrive at the destination. The telephone ministry is crowded with deportees who lining up in the front yard. Uncle Larry is completely taken aback by the long line that seems to stretch endlessly.He sighs unhappily and joins the end of the line. Larry is still in shock that Pedro says goodbye, " Bye for now, I'll be back soon. " Larry nods, " OK, thank you very much for your help."

Twenty minutes have gone by, but the line has moved a little. Uncle Larry is still the last, behind a beautiful lady.   She is staring at the ground, clasping her backpack tightly. The woman doesn't notice a man coming into the yard. Uncle Larry sees him, however. The newcomer has dark eyes and a bushy mustache. He stands opposite them, gazing at girl.

The young woman unhappily glances at the line, then nervously looks up at the sky. The sun is shining overhead, for a moment she is almost blinded by the strong glare of the sun, quickly she lowers her lids. As she lifts her lids again, her eyes drops to Uncle Larry's hat. she asks him for his hat in Spanish. Uncle Larry hands the hat to her and smiles politely, " sí, Amigo " these are only words that he knows in Spanish. The girl bursts into laughter, and Uncle Larry glows with embarrassment, " I'm sorry, Ma'am. But I can't speak Spanish."

The girl laughs so hard that the sombrero falls off her hand. At the time Uncle Larry feels a heavy hand tapping on his shoulder, his heart begins racing. Uncle Larry turns around and finds the stronger standing right in front of him.The man begins talking loudly in Spanish, Poor Larry only shakes his head several times, " Amigo, you are wrong about me."

Ignoring Uncle Larry's explanation, the man keeps quarreling. While Uncle Larry constantly cries, " Amigo, Can you speak English? I don't understand Spanish." The angry man lifts his hand to hit him. Uncle Larry closes his eyes and keeps telling himself that everything will be OK.

Luckily, his godmother appears and helps him, the girl beats the stranger with her bag too hard until he flees. Uncle Larry takes a deep breath and thanks the girl. She just laughs, " Don't mention it! he has no sense of shame!"
Uncle Larry, " You know him, Ma'am?"
The girl nods her head, " Yeah, I met him at El Comedor just now, he said he had lost his telephone number. Then he asked me, " May I have yours?". He's a moron. "
Uncle Larry stares at the girl with startled eyes for a while, " Telephone number? .... Oh no, he's a Coyote. They're a Serious hazard for immigrants."
Her eyes grow wide, " Oh, my God! That pesky insect has no sense of shame! The next time I'll kill him."

Uncle Larry, " You needn't kill him, Ma'am. Only don't talk to strangers! By the way, are you Mexican, Ma'am? you speak English very well."
--, " Thank you, It's not surprising, because I grew up in Minneapolis. But it's really funny that a Mexican can't speak Spanish!"

Uncle Larry glows with embarrassment, " Yes, it's embarrassing for a Mexican, but not for me, Ma'am. I'm American. The U.S. Border Patrol, they-" , he swallows hard and continues " I'm here just for a terrible mistake."

The girl glances at his poncho, then says with a wry smile, " Like fun! Then this is the first time you are deported?"
Uncle Larry ignores the nice irony in her voice, " Yes, it is."
All at once, the girl dives into her backpack and takes out a book, she opens the book and turns to page 5, there is a telephone number at the top of the page, a bright smile emerges, then she asks him, " Do you have a pen?"

Uncle Larry pulls a pen out of his jeans pocket, " Here you are." The girl grins, " No, I don't want it. Please write down this phone number, 725-64--"

Uncle Larry's eyes narrow suspiciously, " Sorry, I'm a very happy married man, I--" the girl's laugh interrupts him, " What? how did you mean? I just wanted to help you, it's not mine, it's my lawyer's telephone number."

Uncle Larry's cheeks glow, " Oh, sorry. I apologize to you for this misunderstanding."
--, " No problem, this is the second time I'm deported, the last time the lawyer helped me, he's the best." 

Larry, "Sure, but I have my own lawyer, and he's professional,too, if I call him, everything will be OK. ", he looks despairingly at the line, " Um, only if I can reach the telephone .... why the line is moving so slowly?"

The woman is startled by his question, " For what? it's out of the question, because everyone calls at least two times. We all have close relatives in U.S. as well as Mexico. I myself have to call six times, first I'll call my boss in Houston, I must take a week off. Unfortunately, we argued yesterday, now he thinks that I've purposely stayed at home instead of coming to work, next I'll call my lawyer in New York, then call my Mom in Minneapolis and ask her to look after my children who are in Los Angles," the deep worry lines appear on her forehead, she murmurs, " My little kids," then begins weeping bitterly, " I have two U.S.-citizen children, I fear that I won't see them again."

Uncle Larry hands a tissue to her, " Don't be nervous, Ma'am. You'll get back home as soon as possible."

Wiping her tears with tissue, she continues, " I must call my father in Mexico city, and my husband in Guadalajara."

Uncle Larry looks surprised as the girl tells all these facts, he shouts, " Oh no, But I Only want to call my brother. I'd better go forward, maybe they let me call Sergey."
The girl shrugs, " If I were you, I'd never go."

Don't Act Smart

If you are waiting at the end of a long line, you have to be patient. However, Uncle Larry is not, he is fed up with this slow-moving line. So when he realizes that a migrant's family is a pizza shared between two countries, in his haste to call Sergey, he rushes to the head of the line.

There, a young man is speaking by phone. Such as many people standing in line, he has a broken leg, for this reason he is on crutches. The man is holding the receiver between his head and shoulder and talking to his wife at the other end in English. He looks very upset, his cheeks are wet with tears. Uncle Larry stands there, staring at his tearful eyes. For a few seconds he hesitates what to do, then hands a tissue to the young man and says sadly, "Amigo, Don't cry, everything will be OK, she's angry now .... why don't you call her later? I'm the last, let's change places, how's that?" The man looks at Uncle Larry, thinking he is kidding, then he begins talking on the phone again.

Uncle Larry doesn't give up easily, he repeats his request over and over again, but the man takes no notice and keeps talking by phone," Isabella, If you want me to, I'll come back." Uncle Larry frowns and taps the man on the shoulder, " Amigo, have a heart! My brother is decidedly worried about me. Please, let me call him right away, it will take just a few minutes." The young man covers the receiver with his hand, turns to Larry, looks him in the eye and shouts, " Senor, you have to wait in line like everyone else!"

Uncle Larry takes two steps backward, but he doesn't leave there. The man's face is dark with anger as he presses the receiver to his ear, " Isabella, Isabella, Isabella."

The man bursts into tears, the phone has gone dead, Isabella is not at the other end anymore, the receiver is hanging from the telephone, and the people are shouting at Uncle Larry.

As a man happily grabs the phone to call his wife, Uncle Larry returns furiously to the end of the line. What drives him mad more is that he found he has missed his turn. The pretty woman whom he was talking to is not there anymore, because many newcomers have joined the line. Uncle Larry looks completely disappointed. No smile is on his face, no light is in his eyes.

Alone in line, Uncle Larry stands staring at the people. Some of them are telling their immigration stories and the others are listening to them. Few Mexicans are weeping bitterly and their countrymen are trying to calm them down. Uncle Larry's eyes fill with tears, he feels sorry for all the illegal immigrants, he is wondering why they immigrate? what is the chief cause of their immigration? and another thousand questions are burning on his lips, but there is not anyone to answer them. He wish Google were here, maybe it could help. Uncle Larry sighs deeply, why no one talks to him? why no one notices his loneliness, as if he was invisible. Uncle Larry feels so homesick, he wish Sergey were here, he wish someone spoke English, he longs Pedro will be back before long.

Uncle Larry is an island in himself as a man with crutches approaches him. The man coughs three times to get his attention, Uncle Larry quickly looks around and notices him: a gray-headed man with bushy eyebrows and a bright smile on his tanned face, his sunglasses are on his head and a rucksack slung over one shoulder, a cigarette is held between his index and middle finger, and one leg is in a cast- his left leg from knee to foot- Uncle Larry is not the last any longer, he smiles at the man.

A grin spreads across the man's face, " Can you give me a light?" Uncle Larry shakes his head, "No, I don't smoke- Smoking damages my health." His grin rapidly vanishes from his face, " You're right. I'm not a heavy smoker, I smoke about twenty cigarettes per day." Uncle Larry's eyes widen in surprise, " Really?! Man, you should quit it." The man nods, " Yeah, I'm trying to cut out smoking, but it's not very easy- I've been smoking for twenty years, " he lets out a deep sigh, " My father used to smoke a lot- about three packs a day- Smoking calmed his nerves, he was so upset, " the man stares into space, " he much missed my mother, as is he had had no one in the world but her, " his eyes fill with tears. After a pause he smiles at Uncle Larry, " I'm Texas. By the way, what is your name?"

Uncle Larry can't help laughing, " Texas! what a funny name! I'm Larry, you speak English very fluently, Texas."
Texas grins, " Thank you. In fact, my name is Julio, but my friends call me Texas. Well, we used to live in Texas." He sticks the cigarette between his lips, then looks into his shirt pocket, but he can't find any lighters.

At the moment, the sound of the crutches can be heard. The deep worry lines appears on Uncle Larry's forehead as he sees the same young man coming toward them. Texas laughs, " He's my cousin, Fernando." Uncle Larry nods, " Yes, I saw him recently by the telephone, he was speaking with Isabella on the phone." Fernando whispers in Larry's ear, " If the telephone rings, don't answer it. " Uncle Larry nods his head, " Okay."

Texas asks, " ¿Tienes un encendedor? (= have you got a lighter?)" Fernando hands him a matchbox. Texas thanks, " Muchas gracias." and Fernando walks away. Texas strikes a match and lights up his cigarette. He is watching the man going away, shaking his head sadly, " Poor Fernando- He was out of work, so Isabella left him. Now she lives in America."

The silence surrounds the two of them for a while. Then Texas says, " My mother lives in America, too. When she was a child, her family moved to the States to live with her older uncle who lived in Austin, Texas. She worked hard there until she became a beautiful young lady. At that time, she returned to Mexico. There, she fell in love with my father at first sight. They got married two hours after they met. So, I was born in Mexico. Later, we had to cross the border, because our house was too small to live in.

I grew up in San Antonio. We were a very happy family until the second Monday of December-- I was only 12- My father and I had to go downtown, " Texas begins laughing, " Poor daddy- he was the worst driver that I've seen until now, he was driving so carelessly that I was terribly scared, when he raced through the stop light, the cops appeared, next they checked our documents and sent back us to Mexico. My mother stayed in the U.S. to work hard. My father couldn't help thinking her- He tried to cross the border several times, he didn't succeed however. So he was sitting alone, smoking cigarette all the time until he passed away. Now my mother lives in California, she became a U.S. citizen recently."

Uncle Larry's eyes sparkle with excitement, " California? I also live there- Then your mother sent you an invitation letter and you went there to see her?" Texas angrily drops his lighted cigarette onto the ground. " A letter of invitation?" he asks, grinding it nervously into the bumpy ground, " Man, you look like something from another world!" He lights the other cigarette and continues, " A visitor's visa wouldn't much help- well, I wasn't a tourist. I wouldn't like to visit there in six months, I wanted to stay there forever. However, I missed my mother, too. Poor mother, she is all alone in a strange land."
_, "So, did you see her?"
Texas swallows hard and says, " No, I didn't. I never arrived in Los angles, because I was captured in the desert." Then he goes quiet, keeps on smoking. 

The air is full of cigarette smoke. The blue smoke is freely curling up from his mouth, like the smoke from the chimney. Uncle Larry is watching the blue man through the haze of tobacco for a little while, finally he gets tired and asks, " How long haven't you seen her?"

Texas blows the smoke rings in his face, " For a long time, about thirty years." Larry's eyes starts burning and clouds with tears. Texas thinks Larry feels sorry for him, so tells with embarrassment, " I didn't mean to upset you. Please don't cry for me, Larry." and breathes out the other smoke ring, this time the smoke causes Larry to cough. Texas asks with a laugh, " How did you catch cold in this warm weather?"
_" No, I'm allergic to cigarette smoke." Uncle Larry replies, pointing at the smoke ring.
_" Sorry. Smoking is very bad habit." Texas says as he puts his cigarette out. At once, a bright smile emerges on Larry's face, " Thanks a lot. What hot weather we're having!"

Texas nods, " Yeah, the weather is even hotter than yesterday, it's usually too hot in August, " he sighs deeply, " Oh, what a busy line! I wish I had a cell phone, I must talk to my mother soon as possible, I must say I would never come to America- She's looking forward to seeing me. Will you get back again?"

-" Sure."
-" Yes, they all want to cross back to the States, but I. I have to forget America." Texas says, pointing at the people standing in line.
_, " Do you love to live there?"
_, " Yes, I love to."
_, " Why don't you like your country?"
_, " You're wrong. I love my native land."
_, " Then why you crossed the border?"
_, " What a question to ask! It's quite obvious, just for work. I wanted to work, but there was no work in the village. So I decided to immigrate. Unluckily, the numbers of jobs has fallen off in this year, we see every year fewer and fewer people in work, and wages, they've been frozen. I worked day and night, but I earned a little money."

_, " How sad! what did you do?"

The Apple Expert

_, " I worked on Zaviera's farm. We were growing potatoes in the field. I enjoyed my job and worked very hard, but I was in trouble with my boss for always coming to work late. And Why I was Late? well, just for the Sunrise."

" Our village is a beautiful part of the world. It is ringed with wooded hills. I love walking in the hills. I rose early in the morning to greet the First light. I hiked up that hill overlooking the river. I sat on the hilltop where I could admired the beautiful scenery, listening to my favorite Rock music. I looked at the Green potato fields below, the Brown mountains covered in Blue haze, and the Pinks and Yellows of the Sunrise. What a magnificent view! Then I glanced at my watch, it was time to go. So I went down to the farm. I was late and Zaviera was angry, as usual."

" Last Monday, she said to me, " Be on time or else you will be dismissed." I thought she was just joking, so I didn't take her threat serious. The following day, when the sun was rising in the sky, she texted me, " Lo siento mucho. El sol se pone. (= I'm very sorry. The sun sets.)" I got up, but  I didn't go to work. Instead, I went back home in tears. As my eyes dropped to a potato box which placed out of the house, I found I had guessed right. in fact, it meant, " Out-of-work". "

" Well, I was fired, so I called my mother and told her I had lost my job. She said, " Come here, September is near, we have a lot to do. I'll put you at work.""

"At first, I didn't accept, but she tired to persuade me to go there, " If you don't run a red light, I buy a new iPhone for you." A new iPhone!! I had to agree with that apple expert. ""

Uncle Larry's eyes widen in surprise, " Does Your mother work for apple? is she an engineer?"


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