A Chapter by siri

the story begins with eye opening truth about a human smuggler.


The door slammed closed. It was heavy, making the old 1989 hinges groan and complain as they still performed the work they were designed to do. The key turned over the starter and the engine purred gently still reliable to this very day. The entire van, a Chevy Astro van to be precise, shook and reverberated disturbing the dust that was covering the body of the van. A cloud started to float around the van defining the dry nature of the desert in southern New Mexico. It was 98 degrees in Columbus, New Mexico that day June 21, 2009. The town was in the middle of a drought and the hot sun stole any moisture that may be hiding in the air or the surface of the ground. The sun was selfish causing the plants, people, and animals to suffer. It rose giant in the sky mocking the helpless life attempting to survive on this day. Columbus was the home to 2,100 people. The town was poverty stricken and the average family household made 16,000 dollars a year. People survived and they stayed. They all eventually thought about moving, but the people all stayed, whether by choice or the unfortunate circumstances that life gave them.

              The van started chugging forward. A woman drove the van, her shoulder length brown hair clumped together from the beads of sweat escaping out her skin. She was 1 of 2,100 surviving the desert. She was on her way to what she considered her job. It was not a 9 to 5 job. It was something that happened a couple times a month. It paid the bills and more. In fact she made a decent living comparatively to the rest of the town. It was so hot and the A/C had not worked for years in the van. The woman was desperate to cool down. She struggled to force the window to roll down but it would not budge. She pulled the van over and used both of her hands to force the window halfway down. She began to drive forward again. She checked and made sure she hadn’t forgot her papers. She pulled on to the road connecting Palomas, Mexico and Columbus. A sigh of relief escaped her mouth as she reached a decent speed causing enough wind to cool down her sweat soaked head. As she drove, the cloud of dust and dirt found its way into the car, and the left side of her face slowly became caked with dusty mud. She kept driving on her way to the Border Patrol building, a useless filter for America and Mexico.

              America the great and mighty. Nobody is wise enough to mess with that country. This powerful idea of a society is here connected to Mexico. It is protected by a group of scrawny men. A group of men who protect the bottom of our country with … honor? It might not be honor. It is more along the lines of … relief? Relief to have a decent job in a town that makes no money. Maybe it is not relief. It could just be hunger. It may have started out as relief and even honor, but how long would it take before it feels like hunger? Hunger for power and control. The woman knew firsthand what came over the border. These men, they did not protect the country, they fed on the country. They made money off the laws put in place to prevent objects and people from entering or leaving this country. The woman understood the other set of laws. The hidden laws that truly defined the real economy that blossomed in this town. She knew these men that filtered the border. She knew them very well. She approached them slowly, pulling out her papers from the glove compartment that held them.

              “Hola, como estas?” She said handing her papers out the halfway down window. “Hello, how are you?”

              The men started doing what they always did. They grabbed the passport. It was the same passport that they look at every time that the lady passes through. Every time these men see the passport, they act as if it is a fake. A small notebook that was printed on a home printer in a town with 2,100 people. The woman sighed getting ready for the half hour of her life that was about to be wasted in the middle of Mexico and New Mexico. The part that pissed her off is that it was always the same men. She has met every one of them multiple times a month for going on about 8 years. Eventually one man would be replaced by a younger man, but there were still three men that she has seen for 8 years. They still have never called her by her name. She still doesn’t even know their names. This was just how their relationships were.

One of the men went back into the building and came out with a canine. The lady was not sure what type of dog it was, but the dog was fairly new. He has only been working here for a couple months. The dog was much younger than the old one. He must be about 2 or 3 years old the woman thought. He had black, brown and white spots. It reminded her of rocky road ice cream so she had been calling him Rocky ever since she first met him.

“Hey Rocky. How you doing buddy?” said the woman. The dog was just like the men that watched over him. He was extremely professional and maybe even a little power hungry himself. His tail stood straight up and stiff as a stick. He eagerly began to sniff the car. “I will get you to wag that tail eventually Rocky I promise.”

The man walking Rocky snorted along with the dog. He was staring at the lady in the car. He was obviously angry that she thought she had the right to speak to his dog. Maybe he was afraid she might keep the dog from performing his job at an elite level. But it was the man that was distracted not the dog. The dog seemed to be walking the man, his thick bushy mustache wagging with each waddling step that pulled him. The dog walked the man around the perimeter of the entire car. The dog did not growl or bark once. That was a good sign for the lady. It meant she was not trying to smuggle anything illegal over the border, anything that had an illegal scent anyway. As the overly professional guards walked around the car smelling it for narcotics, one man stood immediately by the woman’s car. He was a short man maybe about 5’4. He also carried a bushy thick mustache. He was Hispanic and his skin was extremely dark, probably toasted so dark from being out in the hot burning sun all day. He had a gun that was half the size of him. It was 3 seconds away from being directly in the woman’s mouth, just in case. He never took his eyes off of the woman, analyzing her for any signs that would point to an arrest, something illegal, and anything that was fun and had some real action. He was ready for war.

I wonder how he would react in a real fight. The woman thought.  I bet he is the first one to die out of the group. The woman looked at the guy with the gun by her door. He was one of the old timers. One of the faces she had memorized years ago. His bushy mustache covered his upper lip. That has to be annoying! That thick hair pricking your lip all day while you eat and while you talk. How do men deal with that? She wondered. The man had a big mole on his chin. It was easily noticeable and must have tanned darker with the rest of his skin. His head was also shaved. He had the generic Hispanic look. The feature that really made him stand out from the other set of men was his ice blue eyes. They must have helped him keep people from staring at his mole throughout his life. A Hispanic man with light blue eyes is rare, at least it is rare in a town with 2100 people. The woman never knew his name but she always just thought of him as Ice because of his eyes.

Ice saw that the woman was looking at him and decided to break the silence. “What is your business in Mexico?” He asked fast and to the point.

The woman straightened up in her seat. “Well, I work for the Deming school district. You probably know that the kids in Palomas get to use our school system? Hopefully you know that anyways. You do check the school buses that come through here every morning.” The woman began to answer. Only to be interrupted by the man’s grunts.

“Get to the point,” He said.

“Like I was saying I work for the school district I am picking up a girl that will be looking at coming to our school. I will be bringing her back to show her around.”

“Get out of the car,” said Ice. He was staring at the cup holder between the two front seats.

“Why? I haven’t done anything wrong. Is there a problem?”

“Get out of the f*****g car and open the back of your van.” He started to point the gun at the woman.

“Okay okay Jesus Christ. Calm down.” Said the woman. She raised her hands signaling surrender to the short man standing outside her van. The little man had sweat dripping down his face. The right side of his face must have sweat more than the left side of his face. His right eye was squinted and every couple minutes it would close completely. In habit the man would tilt his head to his shirt and attempt to dry the sweat to keep it from dripping into and burning his light blue eye. The consistent routine proved to be irritating as his right eye was bloodshot red. The woman continued speaking, “I am going to open the door. Be careful.” She kept her right hand raised while her left hand reached for the car door handle. The handle popped loudly and the door creaked open

She slowly slip off the seat. The lady technically was not very tall. She was about 5’6 but she still toward six inches above the man, whom was below average for a man anywhere but Columbus. For Columbus, the man was about average. As the lady slid out of the driver seat in the van she glanced in the rearview mirror. She saw another man walk past. It was not the man with the dog. Those two were in front of the van making their way back to the building. She kept her hands up and walked towards Ice. She left the door open assuming the man wanted to search inside.

“What is the problem?” She asked. The man was hard to read. Was he annoyed? Angry? He ignored her question.

“Just do what I f****n say, and this will be over soon. Walk to the back of your van and open the f*****g door.”

She started walking to the back of the van. She did it slowly and carefully. Her hands were still raised by her sides. She didn’t dare look back and look at the short, angry man. She could feel his gun pointing at her back. She knew this was true. It was the same feeling you get when someone is staring at you in a room. The sixth sense of that attention does not lie. The gun’s attention was less flattering and colder. It was black and white. It had none of the complexities that come with the emotions of a human stare. It was to the point. Do what I say or there is good chance you won’t live. The stare of the gun pushed her forward and she reached the back of her van. The man she saw in her rearview mirror earlier was not there. He seemed to have disappeared.

“Okay, open both of the doors and stand back.” The man said. He pointed the gun at the woman using the manmade device to give him power and strength, two characteristics he could not have without it. Two more men started walking to the van from inside the border patrol building. They both had assault rifles.

The lady did as she was asked or tried anyways. The old heavy doors were hard to open. Ice was not a patient person and he grunted behind her.

“Give me a second, these doors are hard to open. They are old and heavy.” She said. She crouched under the handle and used her entire body to push up on the handle. The handle finally gave way and the door swung open. The second door was not nearly as hard and it easily opened with one hand. She quickly raised her two hands and stepped back.

“Move to the left side of the van and wait there until I tell you otherwise.” Ice said. The other two men were there waiting.  One of the men was the guy being walked by the dog. The other man was the man the lady saw in the rearview mirror. He was chewing tobacco and kept spitting at the ground every couple seconds. His teeth were dark yellow from the tobacco plant’s ability to stain and rot teeth. There is three men involved now. There was Ice, The Dog Walker, and Rotten Teeth. Mr. Rotten walked to the back of the van to talk to Ice. The Dog Walker stayed by the lady and watched her.

The next ten minutes dragged on for a while. It is amazing how when the mind is pressured to pay attention to time that it seems to slow down. The woman stood by her van uncomfortable. She looked at The Dog Walker, and he looked back at her. He was somewhat twitchy. Maybe he was just as impatient as she was. What was this all about?  The lady thought. I don’t have anything to hide. This should be over soon. It had to be. I need to get to Palomas. The Dog Walker started to shake his right leg, a nervous maybe, or maybe he was just bored wanting to get back to his TV in his nice cool office inside the patrol building.

Mr. Rotten and Ice then came back around to the side of the van. They must have been done searching the van. Ice was the man that spoke. “Here’s the deal. You are free to go, but we do not have a girl on our list. The school district has not sent us an updated list of school attendees. The students were all accounted for this morning. No more children can cross. I don’t know if you were f*****g lying or they just forgot to update the records. I don’t f****n care. Feel free to continue your vacation to Mexico but come back alone. Now get the f**k out of here.”

The guns all dropped down by the men’s sides. They all started walking back to the A/C cooled building that bordered Mexico and New Mexico. They just ignored the lady, and she stood there confused for second. It didn’t take her long she immediately got back into her van and started driving into Mexico. As she drove over the border, she heard the men speaking to themselves.

“What happened? I thought she was the one?” asked one of the men. It was either Mr. Rotten or The Dog Walker.

“She was not a good candidate. She won’t have enough money. I don’t know what game she is playing in Mexico but it ain’t worth our time.” Ice replied. “I seen her before. For now we let her be.”

“What the f**k bro! It’s slow today. We didn’t have any other options.” Said the first man.

“Just shut the f**k up and do your job.” Said Ice. He looked over his right shoulder. His light blue eyes locked on the woman’s face. She was looking at them as she drove by. Four 30 seconds they stared at each other. His light blue and hers honey brown. They both understood the game that was being played. “Both pairs of eyes held the knowledge of the rules played on either side of the border. They stared into each other and as they did, the eye brows above the blue eyes pointed down: analytical, focused, and almost angry. The honey brown eyes sat on a face that started to wrinkle up. The sort of wrinkles caused from years of smiling. That was exactly what the woman was doing. She had a huge smile on her face as her head turned back to the road in front of her. 

The van continued into Mexico. It drove into the distance. The sun continued to pound the earth with heat. The heat was visibly rising off the ground like transparent smoke. The van drove off into the distance becoming distorted. The transparent smoke bellowing up from the hot surface of the road gobbling the van like a snack before lunch.

*            *            *

The van eventually found its way to Palomas. It was on one main mission, but the lady always had to stop at the gas market. She knew a friend there that she always visited. Her name was Paulina. Paulina ran the gas mart. She made the best carneseca. Famous Paulina and her amazing beef jerky. The lady drove up the main road of the town. There were not too many paved roads in Palomas but there were a few. The main boulevard was one of them. It was also the road with all the stores and restaurants. There is a pharmacy, grocery store, dentist, and multiple restaurants, all which were Mexican food joints. The buildings were all painted solid random colors. Red, yellow, and light blue. The colors were random, but they did tell the world they existed, and they had a product or service to sell. The lady drove down the main street and rolled into a gas station with a single pump. It was the home of Paulina and her famous beef jerky. She parked her car at the pump and walked inside.

“Hola Paulina. Como estas?” Said the lady.

“Mija!” Paulina replied. “It has been a long time! I have been good. How have you been?”

“I have been good. I came down here for work. I have not had any work for a while. I need to stock up on your carne seca.” The lady placed 30 dollars on the counter. “Give me as much as you can for 30 American dollars.”

“Oh mija I missed you! How is your son doing? Last time we talked, he was having trouble getting friends.”

“Well, he is not having trouble finding friends anymore. He is snatching up the friends that are left to be friended.” The lady laughed. Paulina handed her a big plastic bag full of flavored dried meat.” It was nice seeing you Paulina. Adios. Asta Luego.”


The lady got back into her car, took a right on the boulevard and continued down the street she started on. There was a dead carved tree the she used as a land marker for her turn. She was coming up to the tree now. Over the years people have started carving the base of the tree. The bark was completely skinned off the bottom of the tree. There was two giant eyes etched in to the trunk towards the bottom. The eyes looked to the side of the street the lady had to turn towards. It was hard to miss. The branches on top were carved into animals at the end of the branches. There was a couple birds, an Iguana, and other made-up, non-existent looking creatures. The lady thought about how many times this land marker was used to point to meet-ups, both illegal and legal. It must have a historical existence in regards to finishing a set of directions. The lady turned right off the paved street onto a dirt road. The tree’s eyes stared at her as she drove down the dirt road. They never blinked. They were just there huge, dry, and old, but never aging.

The lady drove up to an old house at the end of the dirt road. The house was full of old metal. Sheets of metal seemed to exist everywhere in this house. Even the tree outside had a sheet of thin metal hammered around the trunk. The lady never understood the purpose of this metal. It was ugly, and it was useless. Metal trees. Windows boarded up with sheets of metal. The porch had red chili pods hanging to dry. The chili was fresh, and the smell overwhelmed the senses of anybody close by. The owners of the pod must have hung them up to dry in the last couple days.

In New Mexico, the chili was always the center of all conversations. How did your chili come out this year? Most people do not know this but the heat of a chili pepper is actually a survival mechanism. The less water there is the hotter the chili gets. It makes sense. The more water there is the easier it is for the chili to grow. There is less of a need to keep animals from eating it. So they grow mild as a sweet pepper. It is the heat that is truly desired, so the peppers are forced to survive on the least amount of water as possible. People have become accustomed to selecting how hot they want it though, so the farmers tend to make batches of plants all with different grades of heat. Those requests are usually reserved for the tourists. The survivalists that think it is a good idea to see if they can possibly survive the harsh conditions of the desert, whether it be the heat of summer or the biting cold of winter. The only thing they really want to do is brag to their friends that they had real chili, something that does not have beans in it.

This summer was extremely hot though. It hadn’t even sprinkled in the last month. The Mild flavored chili for the tourists was probably just as hot as the hottest batch. The lady got out of the van and walked past the overwhelming, eye-watering fragrance of chili and knocked on the house’s door, a door that was not surprisingly covered in sheets of metal.

A skinny man in about his late 50’s opened the door. He was wearing a stained white shirt. He had a pair of oval glasses that perched at the tip of his nose. He leaned his head back so he could see through the glasses. The man spoke, “Hola Senorita. Como estas?”

“Bien Juan, cuántas personas hoy?” the lady asked. She was wondering how many people Juan had today. Juan was the name of skinny man with glasses. He was her partner in a way. He was a trusted affiliate on the south side of the border. He had never done her wrong. They both built a successful business. The opinions surrounding the business is as black and white as republicans and democrats. It could be considered an admirable business depending on whom is asked.


“Show me please.” The lady said pointing at her eyes. Her Spanish was not very good. The Spanish she did know did not sound very good, her eastern accent eliminated all accents needed by the Spanish language for the words to flow correctly, “um, puedo. ehhhh ver.”

Juan took her to the back of his house. The people were not hidden. They sat on the ripped up couch. A brown haired cat lay on the couch purring. There was a little girl about 8 years old petting the cat. There was also a woman and a man on the couch as well. They were all very skinny which was actually good. Their size was actually what the lady was looking at first. There was not enough room for all three. Just the lady and the little girl would be able to fit. The lady assumed this was a family. This will not be easy for the girl, the lady thought.

“No man. sólo la mujer y la niña,” She told Juan. Juan already understood. He has been in this situation before. He would take the man and drop him off in town and wish him good luck. If the woman and girl still wanted to go the lady would go prepare the van. “It will be five thousand American dollars. Cinco mil dólares Americanos.” The lady felt bad. She already understood that this amount of money was all of their money. It was money that have been saving for at least 7 years. She would take all of it. It was the only price she could do. She had to pay other people and make a living herself. She was giving them a discount as well because of the child involved. They didn’t need to know, but the lady knew. It made her feel a little better about herself. These people saved up years of their lives. They spent so much time worse off saving every penny, saving everything they could. It was all just to attempt to have a better life in America. A life without wars in their front yards. A life where their children may have a chance to live comfortably, make some money, and get a decent education. They would have to start over with their money, but at least they will be starting over in a place that will give them a chance at surviving even if they don’t happen to actually survive.

“Andele!” said Juan, he was rushing the situation. The faster this ended the better. There was less of a chance of anything going wrong. “Quieres tomar el trato?” He asked the woman. Do you want to take the deal?

“Si. Si. Gracias. Si.” The woman and girl were going to become illegal immigrants.

The man looked heartbroken. Dividing this family was the worst part, but it was the only way. The man knew though and he understood. Deep down inside he was satisfied. He is giving his family a chance, and he wouldn’t let that chance slip away.

“Bueno, darme el dinero” The man said. Good, give me the money.

The family handed over the money and began their goodbyes, while the American went to work. She started walking back to her van. She opened the door to the metal house, walked off the porch, and went straight to the van. The parched ground crunched underneath every step, but she was now in business mode. She needed to be fast because no one could see what was about to happen. It had to be a secret between Juan and the family she was smuggling back. She opened the side door. There was a middle seat and a back seat. The van was all carefully built to transform into a machine that could hide very specific cargo. Cargo that lived and breathed, and could very well die if it was not stored carefully.

              She reached under the middle seat. There were two flaps, one covering the other. And hidden in between the foam the flaps covered was a release latch that began the transformation of the vehicle. The back of the seat folded down and the base rose up to reveal a trapped compartment. The same had to be done for the backseat. The trapped compartment was hidden under three sets of carpet and a sound proof material. The lady took apart the van and it eventually became not just a van but an illegal smuggling machine. This machine smuggled humans and nothing else.

              The chatter could be heard as everyone started walking out of the house and the lady said, “Vamos a trabajar en los Estados Unidos y ayudarle a obtener aquí.” She was telling the man that they would find some work in America, save up and help pay for his travels. The little girl was crying and just went through the motions her mom told her to.

              “Andele,” Juan yelled. Hurry!

              Juan paid the American woman and took the father back to his truck to take him back to town. The mother and the girl when to the American’s van. The American lady said, “acuestate en la parte inferior y no hagas ningún ruido. Te traere sobre la frontera y hacia mi empleado en el otro lado que le ayudará a llegar a Albuquerque. Una vez allí, estás por tu cuenta.” Lay down at the bottom and don't make any noise. I will bring you over the border and bring you to my employee on the other side who will help you get to Albuquerque. Once you are there, you are on your own.

              The girl and the mom both laid down. The American woman started putting the van back together. It was an extremely close fit. If these two were clausterphopic they would probably be dead by the time they arrived in America. She finished hiding, jumped in the front seat, and began to drive. She drove north, to the land of obesity and lazy people. The land that was built off slavery and death. The so called, greatest country in the world.  It is the land of the free, but that freedom is born out of corruption.

© 2017 siri

Author's Note

hope you enjoy and please give me some constructive feedback

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Added on January 1, 2017
Last Updated on January 1, 2017



Albuquerque, NM

boom boom boom la la la la la hey you! yeah you! Im pointing at you now... ... i guess some part of me is always gonna be pointing at you...or the other person thats reading this...until of cours.. more..

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