Havana Lunar

Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano Page B

Book: Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert Arellano
Tags: Ebook
But before I realized what was happening Julia picked up a jagged chunk of the ashtray from the floor and slashed at my face, crying, “¡Hijo de puta!” My hand shot up in reflex and I received a gash down the length of my forearm. I grabbed her arms and she shrieked, her face disfigured in a mask of bitter hatred. Kicking and spitting she tried to break free. Air caught in her larynx, contorting her scream into a grotesque, primal howl and transforming the sound into a sob as she collapsed to the floor in tears, bringing me to my knees beside her, my hands still clutching her wrists. I held her in a close embrace. She was sobbing, saying, “I’m sorry, Mano … Tu cumpleaños …” With whispered entreaties for measured breaths, I coaxed Julia back from the edge of hyperventilation. I cleaned and dressed the wound on my arm, and Julia fell asleep in my embrace.

13 August 1992
    W hen I got back from the pediátrico on Thursday, Julia was gone. “Where did she go?” I asked aloud, but El Ché had stopped speaking to me. I waited up all night, but she didn’t come. The next day before work I walked to the cinderblock complex named after Máximo Gómez and asked the block captain about Tonia and her family. “The girl with the abscess?” She pointed me to their apartment.
    â€œHola, señora. Do you remember me?”
    â€œComo no, doctor: You saved my daughter’s life. My husband and I have wanted to come to the hospital to thank you. We owe you our lives, and I’m sorry I haven’t come see you yet. Life gets so busy.”
    â€œPlease don’t worry about it. How is your daughter doing?”
    â€œAll well, gracias a Dios. Please come in. There’s no coffee, but I can offer you chamomile tea.”
    â€œI appreciate the offer, but in fact I have very little time. I want to ask whether you can help me find someone.”
    â€œI hope I can help.”
    â€œThat night at the hospital, after the surgery, your niece came in to thank me.”
    â€œMy niece?”
    â€œYes. She brought me a sandwich and told me your daughter was her favorite cousin.”
    â€œThat’s strange, because my husband and I have no niece.”
    â€œI see.”
    â€œPerhaps we should report this to the vigilance committee.”
    â€œI wouldn’t bother. It was probably just a friend from school who loves your daughter like a cousin.”
    â€œMaybe. What was her name?”
    â€œJulia, about sixteen years old.”
    â€œDoesn’t sound familiar, but I can ask Tonia when she wakes up.”
    â€œDon’t bother. It was probably just a mix-up.”
    â€œI’m sorry I couldn’t be of help, doctor.”
    I waited up all night, but Julia didn’t come.
    After my Friday shift at the pediátrico, I walked to Yorki’s apartment. My knock woke him from a nap. “¡Coño, Mano! I was dreaming about food.” He pulled his pants on and donned his sunglasses. “You’re not going to believe this. Last night a guy I haven’t seen before comes around and whispers to me, ‘Oye, compañero, aquí tengo unas exquisitas chuletas empanizadas.’ Of course I don’t believe him, but he shows one to me and my mouth starts watering. There it is, still frozen—a breaded steak! He says they were stolen from the kitchen at the Cohíba. So I buy two: ¡Coño! Ten fucking dollars! When I get them into the kitchen and start frying them up with an old onion rind, something doesn’t smell right.”
    â€œNo me digas …”
    â€œÂ¡Empanadas de toalla! ¡Carajo! A hard day’s hustles wasted on a couple of breaded dishtowels!”
    â€œThese thieves have gone too far. And the vigilantes of the CDR are no better, spreading rumors about ground glass in the black-market bread. Kids are starving while they mess with our heads.”
    â€œÂ¡Bajo! ¡Bajito!” Yorki

Similar Books

The Great Deformation

David Stockman

The Dirt Eaters

Dennis Foon

A Very Private Murder

Stuart Pawson

Sorrow Floats

Tim Sandlin

Revenge Sex

Celeste Anwar