An excerpt from
"Dreams and Other Ailments/Sueños y otros achaques"
by Teresa Bevin

From Central America, with Love

   Grandma was preparing Fico's bed for Aunt Arcadia to spend the night.  He would sleep with [cousin] Menelao.  Both loved to fall asleep lulled by the last conversation of the grown-ups. They always seemed to have something funny to talk and laugh about until way past midnight. Fico could never hear the last jokes, farts, and guffaws, because he would fall asleep too quickly in the cool night's breeze that entered through the window slats.

   Near dawn, the village's dogs began to bark with unusual alarm and Fico's father scrambled out of bed half naked to look through the living room windows, followed by Grandpa and Uncle Oscar, Menelao's father.

   Potent lights flashed here and there, accompanied by brake screeches and grinding gears.

   "It's a military truck," Grandpa said, crouching behind the window in his underwear.

   Outside, two men yelled orders, followed by blows and screams coming from a neighboring house.  And then, silence.

   The grown-ups went back to the windows, trying to see without being seen.  And then, two shots pierced the night, and the front door was pushed off its hinges with one terrifying blow.


Copyright © 2004 by Teresa Bevin