by: L. Garcia
...Her tears have been falling from her eyes for almost two hours as she sat at the messy kitchen table still
occupied with its unfinished bowls of menudo, the last of their food that she and her son had eaten two days
before. She didn’t even finish cooking the food when her gas shut off from not paying the bill on time. They
ate the half-cooked meal heartily that night like it was their last. She buried her head into her tired arms that
were crossed over the table, allowing her mascara-polluted tears to fall onto the eviction notice directly
She was repeatedly reading through her blurred sight the top lines of the document:
--NOTICE OF EVICTION... PAYMENT IS DELINQUENT...
The sheriff is scheduled to evict residents from property on 12:00 p.m. Friday...--
It was already Thursday evening and her boss would not give an advance.
She heard a roach crawling over the bowl of leftover food on the table in front of her. She looked up and stared
in disgust. She hadn’t attempted to wash the dishes from their last meal because the landlord had spitefully
turned off the water that afternoon, claiming “repairs” were needed. The roach moved from the bowl and
crawled across her fingers. She casually flicked it away.
“Maybe I should start charging you rent?” she said to the roach. She dropped her head into her arms again.
She heard the apartment door open and close with a soft bang like the series of gunshots she chose to ignore
that echoed through the neighborhood just minutes before. She knew who the visitor was and didn’t bother to
look up. She was more comfortable in the darkness of her arms.
She felt the kitchen table slightly tremble on its loose legs as something was flung onto its surface directly in
front of her. She slowly lifted her head.
“I told you I’d get it, ma.” a voice said proudly.
She noticed the wrinkled wad of cash in front of her.
Ma sniffled, wiping her tears away with the back of her hands and smearing her mascara.
“Where did you get that, mijo?” she asked cautiously, in her native Spanish language, as she looked up at her
son. She knew her son had no job but she was desperate to believe his lies.
His dark eyes narrowed. “Does it matter?” He responded in english, wiping the sweat from his brow and
shaved head with a bandana. “With the money, we don’t have to move in with Tia Anna now.”
Ma stared at her son for a long minute. She noticed the upside down L-shaped bulge tucked into the top of his
large baggy pants, hidden behind his oversized football jersey. She wiped the warm tears from her wrinkled
“Where did you get it?” she repeated.
He paused as she stared deeply into his soul as only a mother could. He didn’t have to answer. He was aware
that his mother already knew the origin of the money. He knew she would never accept it if he told her the
So he lied.
“I told you, I’ve been working around the barrio. I got paid today.” His lips broke into a fake smile.
Her face burned.
Did he truly think she was that stupid?
She was sure that he was unsuccessful at getting a job and she also knew her son was too lazy to actually
work even if he did happen to fall upon the miracle of finding somebody blind enough to hire him. Not to
mention, who in the neighborhood would be stupid enough to hire an ex-con whose prison stretch is as fresh as
the ink staining the skin on the sides of his neck.
The money stared at her.
Her right hand twitched...
(This story has been altered from it's original version.
The full version will be found in an upcoming literature collection by M.F.R...
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