History Will Dissolve Me

History Will Dissolve Me

Status: In Progress

Genre: Young Adult

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Young Adult

Houses:

Summary

Moses Mendoza navigates the city of Miami in the shade of his father's growing political spotlight.
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Summary

Moses Mendoza navigates the city of Miami in the shade of his father's growing political spotlight.

Chapter1 (v.1) - In the Toilet

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 13, 2017

Reads: 85

Comments: 4

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 13, 2017

A A A

A A A

It’s funny how so many lies can build up inside until you almost start to wear them like a patch of stubble on your neck or a stain on your shirt. The big ones you absorb so completely you almost forget, or start to believe them yourself. But then the little things start to add up and bother you; you begin living with a certain amount of paranoia, constantly checking yourself in the mirror, cupping your palm over your mouth and nose to smell your own breath, tucking in errant shirttails… It’s as if your appearance becomes the dike holding back oceans of deceit and you are constantly surveying for leaks.

It was halfway through seventh period that day when I rounded the corner of the East Building with trepidation, scared to run into Brother Angelo or Mr. McEwan. Those two were Headmaster and Dean of Discipline, respectively, though they were both dicks. We were only a week into March but already it was hot as shit. The swampy South Florida air was melting the Dep brand #7 Super-Hold hair gel that was keeping my hair slicked back and within dress code length compliance. Just last month McEwan had snuck up behind me, grabbed a handful, and jerked me out of the lunch line.

“This is shabby, Mendoza,” he’d said, wiping a gel covered hand down the front of my shirt. “Don’t look like this tomorrow.”

Hiding long hair with a slicked back gel job was small potatoes around here. A senior named Ernie Diaz had a tongue piercing, and as a result couldn’t really open his mouth during school hours. Not that Ernie had much to say in class. Small potatoes or not, I had no desire for Disciplinary Detention –an hour after school standing face up against the office wall- and was relieved to step into the frosty air of the guidance conference room without incident. It was like that here, all about appearances. You could be a murderer and no one would give a shit as long as your hair was short, your shirt tucked in, and your face free from any visible signs of weirdness or rebellion.

I was out of class to undergo the sacrament of confession, a monthly ritual for all students here at Christopher Columbus Catholic High School. For Boys. This was not your standard daytime TV confession. There was no black box in which to kneel and spill your deepest secrets anonymously to a shadow priest behind dark screen. Instead, we went face to face across grainy fake wooden boardroom table in the antartically air-conditioned conference room with Brother Eladio, who moonlighted as the school’s librarian. As the assigned confessor for juniors last names A-P, Brother Eladio served as the Catholic School equivalent to a guidance counselor. As an 80 plus year old (I’m guessing, but he was fucking old) lifetime monk with limited command of spoken English, he was about as well suited to the job of relating to 17 year old Miami boys as my Cuban great-grandmother Chichi was to being the lead guitarist of a thrash metal band.

I have to admit though, he had his routine down. Often, after school at Pedro or Rudy’s house, we’d sit across the card table in his backyard and take turns playing Brother Eladio. Of course he started with the standard confession business of opening prayer of contrition and admission of time passed since last confessing (always exactly one month), but then he’d jump into the Holy Trinity of teenage transgression with a shocking and often giggle inducing (but don’t you dare) matter-of-factness.

“Do jou dreenk?”

“No, Brother Eladio”

“Do jou yoose drogs?”

“No, Brother.” I’d reply, grinding teeth at this point to suppress the impulse to laugh.

“Do jou mastoorbate?”

Once you were found not guilty of the major sins, the line of questioning tended towards a more proactive destination, i.e. what you’ve done good instead of the bad things you haven’t done.

“And how have jou glorified the Lor this month by serving others?”

I found myself suddenly drained of the desire to lie to men of the cloth.

“To tell the truth, Brother, I haven’t really done much.

“Well then, Moses, jou mus go and serve others in the name of jor Lor.”

Later that night, I was practicing analogies in my SAT prep book when Pedro Rodriguez beeped me with a 420-911. My parents were watching the news in the den, but looked over suspiciously when they heard the jingle of car keys in my hand.

“I’m gonna go put some gas in the Explorer so I don’t have to stop on the way to school tomorrow,” I said, hoping that they wouldn’t notice that I’d used the same line two nights earlier. Dad hit the mute button and looked at me with wrinkled brow, but Mom beat him to the punch. Their decision making was like that, a first-come first served basis.

“Wear your seatbelt, Moses,” she said, draining the watery remains of her wine glass.

Pedro lived about twenty blocks away in a gated enclave of wealthy South Americans called Andalusian Oaks. I did wear my seatbelt too, as I raced down US-1 to make a twenty block pot deal look like a five block trip to the Shell Station. I was pissed when I got to the guard gate and found a five car backup. The gate was a ruse, however, as they lacked the legal ability to restrict people from entering the community and could only slow you down to photograph you license plate numbers.

I didn’t even bother with the door when I got there, knowing he’d be out back by the pool. Pedro didn’t have to make up lies to his parents to hang out on a school night. I knew little about his parents except that they were rich, from Venezuela, and rarely home. Also Pedro’s mom was smoking hot.

Pedro was laying back in a chaise lounge smoking a grit as I made my way around their landscaped backyard, instinctively reaching over the gate to pull the tab and release the door lock.

“What up Mo?”

“Chilling, What’s up with you bro?” I asked, regarding his almost closed eyes. “You look high as shit already. What’d you do this afternoon?”

“Bro, me and Ern chilled with these two gringas from South Miami, Robin and Sara. Public school bitches, hot as fuck. We got faded.”

“Nice, they had chronic?” I liked to be apprised of the competition. Not that it mattered, when it came to pot and high school kids, it was definitely a seller’s market.

“Mad nugs. We got faded for real.”

Pedro spoke in a vernacular that was almost hyperbolic in that it was composed exclusively of Miami slang. I think maybe because it was because he hadn’t learned English until his family moved here when he was twelve, and he never said much in school.

“Bro,” he went on, describing the afternoon he and Ernie had spent getting stoned on the docked yacht of some rich white girls they had met, “We smoked some regs (low grade commercial shit), we smoked some crip (high grade indoor stuff, like I was selling), we sprinkled some hash oil on it. We smoked a fucking salad bro.”

“Word. What do you need?”

“Just and eighter (an eighth of an ounce, $50). We’re hitting up the Spanish Mackerel show with them on Saturday in West Palm. That girl Robin’s hooking it up with tickets, but she told me to bring three crippie joints. I think she’s down to blade too, bro. Brains at least.”

“True.” I reached into the pocket of my jeans for the plastic sandwich baggie and unrolled it on my lap. Pedro picked up a yellow lighter of the little table by his chair and flicked it on to get a better look. I held the baggie up to his nose.

“Damn, Mo. Smells in the bag.”

“I don’t have a scale, but I weighed this quarter out at home. You can just eyeball half if that’s cool.”

“True.” Pedro went to work, picking the two biggest nuggets out right away, then deliberating for a while before settling on a third.

“That straight?” he asked sheepishly.

“Yeah, bro.”

“You want to blow one?”

“I wish,” I answered, checking the time on my pager. “But I gotta get home before Armando Mendoza gets suspicious.”

“Damn,” he said. “Heated.”

I was about to make for the car when I remembered that Pedro Rodriguez was the worst joint roller in the history of modern pot smoking. His sloppy j’s left you with weed in your teeth and nothing but burnt paper smoke in your lungs.

“You gonna get one of those girls to roll the joints for the concert?”

“Damn, bro, I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t want to look like a rook.”

“Chill, hand me some papers.” I said. “And break up the crip for me, I gotta get home soon.”

“You’re a fucking saint, Moses Mendoza. Thanks bro.”

Don’t thank me, I thought, thank Brother Eladio.



I suppose before I go much further I should explain to you how I got my name, Moses Mendoza, because as far as I know it wasn’t given to me at birth by my parents, which is how most people get their names.

I was born, I’m told, in Cuba, although I can’t remember and couldn’t tell you exactly when. I celebrate my birthday on February 21st, which is the date that a Coast Guard boat found me floating on a makeshift raft of innertubes about 20 miles south east of the Florida Keys. There was a man on the raft with me, I’m told, although by the time we were picked up he was dead from exposure. An eyeballed paternity test determined that the man on the raft wasn’t my father. He was black, and I’m not.

I got my first name from my adopted parents, on account of me having floated safely to the promise land (Miami) much like the biblical Moses floated down the Nile River in the book of Exodus. He was three months old when the Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him, but the doctors estimated my age at around a year and a half. My adopted parents gave me my last name too, which is their last name. Armando and Elena Mendoza, prominent and politically active Cuban exiles who were all too happy to rescue an infant who’d miraculously escaped Fidel Castro’s socialist nightmare. I have an older brother too, Armando Jr. or Armandito, who is their real son and was five when I floated on to the scene.

I felt the need to repeat the caveat “I’m told” because, unlike a famous boy who would later undergo a similar but ultimately unsuccessful exodus, none of this is terribly well documented. Only a few newspaper clippings and the conspicuous absence of pictures of my newborn self in my baby book attest to my unusual arrival. Most people, in fact, have no idea that Armando and Elena Mendoza aren’t my birth parents.

I’ve always called Armando and Elena Mom and Dad though, which makes sense since they are basically the only parents I’ve ever known. When I was little, and before she had to go back to Spain because she lost her visa, my nanny Anna Zuniga would put me to bed at night with fantastical stories about my real parents and our escape from Cuba, and each night the stories would be different. By now, it’s been years since anyone has even spoken about it really, but I can still remember how, before she died, my (adopted) grandmother Mamina used to cradle my cheeks in her wrinkled hands and say “Ay Moses, mi milagrito, mi balsero bandito – Oh Moses, my little miracle, my Holy rafter.”



I guess you could say that no good dead goes unpunished, because by the time I rolled the three joints for Pedro, plus one more out of my own stash that we smoked on the spot, plus drove the twenty blocks home going slow cause I was stoned, I’d been gone for almost an hours. My dad was sitting on the steps in front of our door waiting with cordless phone in one hand and a lit cigar in the other, the orange glow brightening and dampening like a cruel lighthouse that doesn’t bother to signal until you’ve run your ship into the rocks. In this case my ship being a red Ford Explorer with an incriminatingly insufficient amount of fuel. I racked my brain for a suitable lie. I could say I’d been at Caro Blanco’s house, between two men sex was always a reasonable excuse, but he’d probably know that there was no way her parents would have let me stay that late.

He moved towards the car slowly and deliberately, with the telephone jammed into his pocket. I was trapped in my own smoking gun.

“Where have you been Moses?” he asked with a calmness that was unnerving. I was still sitting in the car with the engine running.

“Getting gas.”

“Mentira – bullshit. It’s almost eleven.”

He had most of his face in the open car window and the acrid cigar smell came off his mustache and permeated my nostrils. A single finger of smoke was creeping up his left arm, solitary and unbroken. I could smoke pot all day but tobacco smoke still bothered me, especially from a cigar. I wanted to fan the smoke, break it up, break the unmoving wall of angry stillness that was blocking my way.

“I had a little look through your room.”

Fuck.

“The money, la marijuana, some shit I didn’t even know what it was, it’s all gone. Por el inodoro. Flushed.”

Fuuck. The old man took a step back, puffed on his cigar, and seemed to soften for a second.

“Cono, hijo. We have a big year coming up. You’re not going to fuck it up.”

With that he turned and walked back up the stairs and into the house, leaving his half finished cigar to extinguish itself in the marble ashtray by the door. I sat in the car by myself, surveying the damage. About five hundred in cash, another half-ounce of crippie, my scale, bong, papers, “some shit I didn’t even know what it was”. Who knew if he’d found everything, how thoroughly he’d overturned dresser drawer contents, rustled through the stacked shoeboxes in the back of my closet. I’d been so careless, even in my carefulness. I should have kept it all in the car. Still, you never know when you will be pulled over. Seventeen year olds make for easy targets. Better that he find it instead of some asshole cop.

But he’d been so calm, so sure of himself. Had he been so calm as he methodically searched my room? How long was I gone before he decided to go in there? Had he been waiting to do this? They both seemed so oblivious to the circumstances of my life, busy with the business, with the chairmanship of the CANF.

“We have a big year coming up. You’re not going to fuck it up.”

After about ten minutes of just sitting there thinking, still stoned but in a way that was not so euphoric, I shut off the engine and walked into the house. I took about two minutes just really softly opening and closing the heavy front door. Not that I was sneaking in or anything, just that I didn’t really feel the need to remind anyone that I was home. The light in the old man’s office was on and the door was closed. My mom sat on the leather sofa in the den, unmoved since I’d left to Pedro’s.

“Ven, Moses,” she beckoned. “I’m watching the tennis, the French Open. Agassi esta comiendo Sampras – he’s up by 2 sets.”


© Copyright 2017 ME Pesant. All rights reserved.

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