What Might Kill Us(4)

By: M.N. Forgy

Most people want big mansions, or more cash than they know what to do with. I’ve had all that, and I can honestly say I don’t really miss it. What I was back then and who I am now are two very different people. What I want is something that isn’t materialistic. I want to live a dream that is much bigger than this place. Have opportunities at my feet that aren’t stained in blood, or dusted with heroin.

“Oh man. That is… that is to be expected from you actually.” His voice comes out bitter. “Your mother?” He raises a brow, knowing exactly why I want to go there. My mother came from America and often spoke about it. She was born in America, and met my father while he was there on business. Mom said it was love at first sight. She came to Mexico with my father and got married.

I look at the gold sequined comforter folding down to the foot of the bed and nod softly.

“Well, I tell you what. I need someone to haul something over to America for me. I am setting up shop in Texas, and eventually will be moving up the West Coast. I think you and Alvaro would be very well suited for the task.”

“What do you want us to take over there?” I ask anxiously, the thought of seeing America sooner than I imagined spiking my anxiety to new levels of high.

He grins slowly, his yellow stained teeth from decades of smoking coming into view as his thick brows narrow. Smoke dances toward the ceiling, painting a picture of sin and greed perfectly as I look at the man before me.

“Drugs,” he hisses between clenched teeth.

“Drugs?” The word slips from my mouth almost too easily, but the tone of shock is lost on me. I’m not surprised. Not at all. It’s what my family specializes in after all. Some families trade salsa recipes, my family trades the best heroin concoctions.

When my mother died that wall of protection she tried so hard to build around me came tumbling down brick by brick. Bound by the ties of my DNA, it was only a matter of time before I submitted to its darkness. My days of being on top, having the nicest things and the best living conditions were over.

“What if I get caught?” I can’t help but ask. I’ve never taken part in the drug trade. I’ve seen glimpses of the things my father did to men who were short on cash or drugs, though. It was gruesome. Maniacal. Who knew a machete could slice through bone without as much as a hiccup? I didn’t, but I learned that day when I was only eleven-years old and saw my first beheading.

I was traumatized to know my own flesh and blood was capable of such a thing. I ran out to the stables to feed one of the horses, only to discover my dad had a young man bound and hanging upside down over a feeding trough.

I never looked at my father the same way again. I didn’t look at life the same way again.

“You won’t because you are going to swallow them. That’s how you get them across the border. Then you sell them and after you’ve given me my percentage you can take your cut and run off into your delusional dream of the land of the free.” He swings his hands in the air again, catching my attention.

I thought I got my point across the last time he tried to put me to work in the drug trade, but apparently not.

But to be free, to live the dream my mother and I talked about so many times as a kid would be like she was right there with me again.

“You think on it. It is your decision at the end of the day. But if you choose not to, if you choose what is not right in my eyes and for my business then you will be put to other uses. Ones you have no say in,” he threatens as he stands up and swipes his hat off the bed. Opening the door, he leaves just as swiftly as he entered, slamming the door behind him.

What does that mean? Other uses?

I ponder on the conversation I shared with Uncle Benito, braiding the string I’ve collected over the last few months into one tight string. I pull on it again, testing its strength. It’s relentless to my jerking.

Sighing I tilt my head to the side, noticing the bracelet is the first beautiful thing I’ve seen in months. It’d be gorgeous on an ankle, even a wrapped around a wrist.

Shaking my head, I focus on the thought at hand. The deal Uncle Benito offered me. The ultimatum is my last resort.

I’ve come to the conclusion Alvaro and I must run. That is my Plan A. We have to escape this prison.

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