The Milky Way

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

an amateur astronomer from Mexico confronts harsh realities of life for immigrants in Florida

THE MILKY WAY

From space, he thought, Florida must look like a small distant phallus with a partially descended testicle. Inside his trailer Juan Mayorga had a telescope from which he enjoyed the observation and study of the moon, stars and planets. He plotted their movements on a graph. He had worked out the trajectories and arcs through the cosmos of dozens of these space denizens. He had his favorites. 

The Thursday before Juan had blown a tire on his way home from work. A cop stopped to check. He was arrested for not having a valid drivers license. He was booked and released on $1000 cash bail. That was 2 weeks earnings. The Milky Way was cold and cruel, Juan commiserated. Indeed, on some planets the atmospheric winds exceed 1000 mph.

Juan came to Florida 10 years prior. His entire family was back in Mexico. They cried for him and he for them . His longings for his wife were almost unbearable. The strain was awful. He sent money to them regularly. His native district had been overrun by the narco traffickers. The shooting was relentless. He had had to get out. Already one of his children was “disappeared” - consumed, he imagined, somewhere into the constellation Lupus the insatiable wolf.

The only constant was work. No one outworked Juan and Eduardo his brother. They always had day jobs and they could fix almost anything. The locals called on them regularly with little house and mechanical projects. They raked in lots of cash. 

One day their trailer was robbed. The cash was gone; it had to be an inside job by someone who had paid them to repair something. The cops came to take a report. They ended up tipping off immigration authorities on a whim. One of the cops had it in for ‘illegal Mexicans.’ The night before, Jupiter was almost undetectable in the night sky and, worse, was out of alignment; Venus had dipped lower than it was supposed to. Juan might have known something was going to happen him yet again..

In the following months Juan and Eduardo sat in immigration jail. They ate the crap served to them and were bored out of their minds. Their only way out was to sign a voluntary deportation document, or somehow break out. A lawyer told them not to sign, that he could get them bailed out for $10,000 each but it would take a few more months. Where would they get that kind of money? Juan’s guiding star his wife in Mexico told him to sign the document and come back to her,,enough was enougn. So he did. 

On the way back to Mexico via government boat across the Gulf, Juan and Eduardo were blanketed in shimmering translucent stardust. Shooting stars and a meteor shower rained down all around them. Noone on board felt or saw it happening but Juan and Eduardo. They were, for now, giddy, almost uncontrollably happy to be going home.


Submitted: August 05, 2022

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