3x story


Brenda meets Yosef.

Hallo, Yosef, Brenda says.

Que? Says Josef back to Brenda.

’Kay, says Brenda and takes Yosef’s hand.

The streets are long and poorly lit. Brenda and Yosef fall into each others arms after an evening of Patron followed by a morning of Aquavit, lime and blow. Then they are married, they think, and the sun, the moon and the stars are all as lit as Brenda and Yosef.

The sun rises on their alliance one week later and it’s as if a dozen years have passed. The halls are filled with children who are dirty and thieving, and men who will sell themselves for a shrimp cocktail or una mas cerveza with tomato and lime. Yosef is ragged and rolled, Brenda is stashing her change in a bag in the small back yard and hoping no one will find it.

After one week of each other’s company without baths, money or shoes, Brenda and Yosef are strangers. They sit one last day in the courtyard, Brenda sucking a lime and chewing the tequila off of her hand, Yosef corresponding with a series of aging tias and primas who might be good for a peseta or two, or more to get him out of here and away from the gorgon he’d created after one week of love.

That afternoon, Yosef got a letter in a thin envelope, and in the envelope was a thin piece of paper, and the thin piece of paper was recognized by the unstable bank in the local currency, and was enough to get Yosef away from this tropical paradise hell. He left that same day, without word one to his mama, his abuela, his novia, his jefe – no one.


Bye-bye, Brenda, bye-bye, said Yosef to the disappearing Brenda as he set off across unspecified waters toward the land of the lights, big cities, big money, big dreams.

Brenda woke up later that night grinding her teeth. Yosef took everything, every promise, every picture, every envy and made it bigger, more glorious and more sustaining than dreams in this neighborhood had been for years. He also took every penny, every peseta, every sous, and Brenda was more broke than she’d ever been in her life.

In her new paradise, Brenda slept without guns or shovels under her bed. The baseball bat she kept nearby was in case of a game, she said. The neighborhood liked her dark eyes, and the smell of warm caramel that followed her everywhere. For awhile, there was peace.


Many events occurred, some travels, some travails. Eventually Brenda and Yosef were re-united and there was a dance, a feast, and a story on NPR.

The end.


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October 2010
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