I told my brother I was going running with my friends.
He said, “Ese, you don’t have any friends.”
“Shut up,” I said. I went running with my friends, from Isleta to Bernalillo to Santa Fe.
My brother’s a pendejo. I’m thinking about calling our cousin Iselda, the curandera who lives in El Rito and asking her to put a spell on him. Last time I asked her, she said be careful what you wish for and she was right, that brother went to prison and then something or other happened and now he’s dead. I don’t think it’s my fault, but I will think twice before I text Iselda again.
Since I got laid off last year, riding the Rail Runner’s the thing I do best. Only job I can get anymore is standing on a corner with a sign that says help please and god bless. In Los Lunas, that was not working out too well, with all my brothers and half my cousins stopping at the light and giving me shit. Then I thought about the Rail Runner; I got a monthly pass and I go up and down the line all day all week, alternating stops and corners and now I’m making enough to help my mom out with the rent. Twenty-eight years old, I’m a corner bum, but I’m better than my brother, the only one left who’s not in jail or dead. He lives at home too, but he just eats her food and smokes in her living room even though that makes her asthma worse. Doesn’t contribute a thing. I still think I might call Iselda.
Having a spell put on someone is touchy, like you got to have a clear picture in your head of what you want to happen or it can go crazy wrong, like that story with the monkey’s paw and the wishes. I wished for something like that once, for a monkey’s paw so I could have three wishes and Iselda smacked me in the head and said come back when you’re grown up, primo.
I’ve been thinking about the right spell. Maybe it wouldn’t be against my brother, maybe it would be for something really great for me. Like I get a job in an office at the Railrunner headquarters in Santa Fe, and every day I ride the Rail Runner in a suit and tie. I could give money to the brothers on the street corners in all of the stops, like Jesus feeding the poor with his fish and wine and stuff. I could learn how to run 20 miles a day in running shoes like those guys from Africa, the tall skinny ones you see all over Santa Fe, training training training; having the strength to run is the only thing that matters in the world to them, you can see it. Skin shining like rain on asphalt, those guys can really run. Like someone put a spell on them and they just can’t stop.