Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Van was sick of his country. He never
thought of it as "his", that it belonged to him ,
or that somehow he was responsible for it.
He was born in it, and lived all his life in it,
but he never believed in any of the hype and
slogans that he saw and heard everywhere
about it, as if loyalty and patriotism were 
somehow a requirement for the privilege
of being alive. Some other humans made 
up the slogans for a purpose that he could
vaguely discern and only vaguely cared about.
He didn't see how he was worse than them,
so he felt he had no reason to adhere to
platitudes created by equal or inferior 
individuals. He realized eventually that they 
were mostly all on the grift, so he lost interest.

He didn't want to live anymore in a country
that touted the rule of law, where the police
were more and more looking like paramilitary,
where most of the people they killed were not
violent criminals, and where most of the people
they didn't kill were mass murderers that 
"somehow" always seemed to slip through 
the cracks of a national surveillance system
that could tell you what you had for lunch, but
couldn't control people that they already knew
were crazy and likely to cause trouble. It was
a joke, but not the least bit funny. The slogans
were wearing a bit thin even for a lot of people 
who believed in them.

He moved to Mexico, where everyone knew 
who the criminals were, where the police could
be trusted to be corrupt, but weren't into hurting
people randomly because they'd had a bad day,
and where you could know how much of a bribe
to give them. They would even bargain for it. He
met a guy there once, Otto, a mob connected 
guy from New Jersey, who wasn't adverse to
killing and had fled to Mexico to change his life,
which ultimately failed. Before he died, he was 
at a bar in Cuernavaca drinking. He had a talk
with a couple of guys that started to turn ugly.
One of the guys went outside, and the other
told Otto that that guy was going for his gun. Otto
went after him and slammed his head into his car 
and killed him. When the police came, they told
Otto it was OK, that they didn't liked the guy he
had killed, and that he had done them a favor.

So, you could say, from this and other examples
Van could cite, that Van was living in a practical
anarchy. Van believed it was why people tended 
to be polite to each unto others. And, 
also, if you really pissed someone off, they could 
kill you and get away with it. One thing about
Mexicans is that they don't forgive and don't forget.
The town he lived in was like many areas in
Mexico, semi-autonomous. The people of the
town controlled it. There were only two roads
leading in and out of  town, so, any trouble with
the Federalies and they could easily shut them out,
which they had done on occasion. If you were a
gringo that wanted to live there and you weren't
someone they wanted there, men would come to
your house one night and  explain that you had
to leave. I guess you could call it some kind of
honor system.

Over all, people seemed happy. You could
tell from  the way the children were...always
playing in the  Zocalo, laughing and merry...
quiet on the bus. Most people you happened
to make eye contact with would say buenos dias.
After a couple of years, Van's land lord started
to consider him family. His grocer was  his friend...
he watched NFL football with him sometimes.
He had two sons that sometimes tended the
store who were great kids...mild and unassuming.
Van didn't have a lot of friends, but he was never
lonely. If he felt the need for human contact, all
he had to do was walk from his house to the
Zocalo and talk to anybody who was there.
Van felt that he had found home.


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