The Great Beyond

The land, my ancestral home has turned against me. How am I supposed to take this?

The city is El Paso, in the farthest western reach of Texas, sharp point that gooses the belly of New Mexico and splits things with a river into the U.S. and Not the U.S.—a rangy metropolis, joined to the hip of its skinny sister, Juarez, corseted with freeways, the earth of its body caked in shades of yellow and brown: here I, Geronimo Martín Gonzales, have lived my entire life, reasonably contented and often in peaceful coexistence.

Except for last night, when I stood quietly out on my deck, examining the city lights and the uncountable stars of the West Texas sky through the haze smoking upward from Mexico, not even clinking the ice in my diet soda. The only sound on the breeze was the sniffing and digging of my wife’s Pomeranian, Paquito. Just for the record, I prefer a dog-sized dog, a substantial animal that can be of some use. Instead, we had Dog Lite. But my wife adored him, and the little cabrón always insisted on curling up in my lap while I watched TV, and so, there you are. And in any case, it was as I was contemplating the night from my deck that a coyote bolted from the shadows, chomped into the scruff of Paquito’s neck, and—without pause for the one short, sharp, terrified squeal of its prey—vaulted the rock-and-cement wall below back out into the great beyond.

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