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17 April 2010

"Green Dollar Dream"

The man held onto the roof of La Consentida, uncle David’s RV, as if his life depended on it—and it did.

Tired from spending the weekend in Rosarito, uncle David flew north on I-15 with a full tank of gas. This time he made no pit stops. He was going 85 listening to the usual, the crooning of The King of Mexican country, Vicente Fernández. Ever since the day Padre Homero had blessed the family RV in front of St. Rose Church for a twenty dollar donation, La Consentida had never given tío any problems.

On the RV’s top, the man’s muscles had become taut from the burning sensation making it impossible to fidget because he had told them to remain clasped, at all costs. If they disobeyed and listened to the cramps, at any sudden stop, his body would shoot like a human rocket and plaster itself on a real American freeway. His face stooped low to avoid the wind from whipping at his face and drying out his eyes. The memory of his wife and children’s smiles fleeted at the thought of his body hitting the black asphalt—his family would never find out if . . .

When La Consentida arrived in Vista, as usual, the family unpacked the camping gear and looked forward to a hot shower and Mexican chocolate. And then, as if he were drunk, the man stumbled down the ladder. The family could see his body and feet were limp from the metal rungs pressing against his body.

Bewildered, uncle David stood at the incredible sight and the thought of an immigration officer back in Tijuas catching a paisano on his registered owned vehicle. Who would believe his story—of a man holding onto his Consentida—for an opportunity to join the masses, working for green dollar dreams?

The man with a sun-beaten face with hollow-dark eyes bemoaned, “Señor—”

Not giving the man enough time to speak, uncle David reached for his pockets and found foreign coins, a few dollars, and spare change. Avoiding eye contact with the stranger, uncle dropped the American money into his hand. With a deep-cutting tone, uncle David interjected, “Tenga. Por favor, váyase.[1]

The man silenced his plea and disappeared on W. Indian Rock St.

[1] “Take it. Please, go.”