May 2 2010 2:48 pm


The shadows of Leonor and the two boys were painted sharply on the thick white plaster walls of the church foyer by the straight rays of the morning sun.  She stood behind them with her arms over their shoulders and patted nine year old Ramon softly and slowly on his chest.  He squirmed a little bit and thought about fishing.  Little Antonio stood with his finger in his mouth and slowly rubbed his head on his mother’s forearm.  He was five and thought about fire trucks.  He wished they came to his town more often but his mother told him he should not wish that.

Leonor’s husband was on his hands and knees in the gravel parking lot looking under the passenger seat for a wallet.  Struggling to stand, he brushed at the gravel stuck on his knees, tucked the back of his shirt into his pants, and took out a $5 bill.  He stuffed the money into his pocket, threw the wallet on the seat, slammed the door, and jogged into the church.  Leonor began pushing the boys down the aisle as soon as she heard the crunching of the drive under her husband’s feet.  She shooed them into an empty pew almost in the back row.  He sat there breathing hard, but the service wouldn’t start for a few minutes.

The sun had just begun to fall back towards the earth, leaning for a moment on the blocky hills to the west that jumped out of the flat desert and loomed over the landscape like eroded sphinxes.  Leonor sat on the blanket in the grass near the spring in her gray skirt with her knees bent and ankles crossed as she leaned to the right on her outstretched arm.  She stacked plates and put containers in the picnic basket with her left hand slowly, watching her husband kneeling in front of little Antonio on the river bank fixing the red and white bobber to his line.

Ramon was a hundred yards down river and yelled to his father that he had a fish on.  His father told little Antonio to throw his line out and catch one too.  With a smile on his face he turned and zigzagged through the brush to Ramon.

When it was almost dark little Antonio was sleeping on the blanket and his father called to his brother and his mother carried the basket to the car.  Ramon walked up the faint trail and screamed bloody murder.   His father ran to him and saw the large snake. He raised his right foot high in the air and came down with the two inch heel of his boots just behind the snake’s head.  The body of the snake rolled and twisted and eventually became still.  Ramon was shaking and his father bent down over him.  The snake had pierced the leather of Ramon’s boots with its fangs.  He picked up his son and awkwardly ran towards Leonor yelling at her loudly to start the car.

It was one hour on dirt roads to the highway and another thirty minutes to the hospital.  Ramon’s foot swelled to the size of a basketball and the skin tore and his leg swelled and turned lumpy and purple and his breathing slowed and despite the anti venom he finally received at the hospital Ramon died that Sunday night in September.

Because this family was poor they kept the boots.  They were expensive dress boots worn once a week to church and they couldn’t afford to buy another pair.  When little Antonio grew big enough he was given these boots. 

They had to park across the street from church one particular Sunday and little Antonio was wearing the boots for the first time.  His mother and father crossed the street while little Antonio knelt down to adjust the boots as there was something sharp irritating his foot.  He stood slowly and looked both ways and saw a large tractor coming so he skipped into a run to cross the street in front of the tractor and when he did the sharp thing in his foot bit into his skin and he winced in pain and tripped on a rock in the street and fell down in front of the tractor which proceeded to run him over and crush the life out of him in a second.

If it would stop raining for like a day maybe the creeks and the lake would come down and I could go fishing.  Until then, there will be more of this shit and maybe another sweet video gear review.  The end.


comments 9