The Burning Season

by Joseph Grant

The party in Sherman Oaks wound down in the cool, early morning hours as the devil winds of the Santa Ana fired up and Luis would not remember kissing the hottest girl invited, nor much of the party after or losing his wallet, except getting home to where his woman secretly burned with jealousy and fiery indignation. Inocente, hombre he yelled as the tactical unit burst into his bedroom and threw him to the carpet while his common-law wife, Rosario looked on in horror. Esto es loco thought Luis drunkenly as he was lead roughly through a blur of rooms in handcuffs only to be met by the surreal sight of the hills surrounding Pacoima on fire and the reverberation of helicopters and fire truck alarms wailing in the distance, not to mention his baby boy’s cries echoing in his ears as he was unceremoniously thrown into the back of an unmarked squad car. He had been down this road before, but that was for dealing meth although he had done his time and had been clean ever since, but what didn’t make sense was the fact that this was no large-scale gang-banger crackdown, for as far as he could see, he was the only one in the neighborhood who was picked up, as everyone else was going about their business as usual, despite the impending fire emergency in the hills. He had no idea why he had been singled out and would not know until months later, after he had been shipped back to Sonora and opened a letter from the States, informing him that the Congressman’s daughter gave birth to a baby girl with brown eyes just like her father’s. With his blood boiling, he tossed the letter into the terra cotta chiminea and watched it burn until it twisted and crumpled then turned the color of night.

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