It was hot up there, on the rooftop.
It was always hot,
but it seemed hotter than usual
on that day. And I, unafraid
in my youth, sat there - smoking.
I watched detachedly, as the traffic
flowed by, on the street below me.
I was alone in a foriegn country.
Not totaly alone, I suppose,
for in the house below me
the rest of the family went about
their day to day.
But for the moment, I was alone.
I puffed tenderly at my cigarette,
having recently picked up the habit.
It was a marlboro - red of course.
My pack lay open next to me,
The box kind, I hated the box kind.
That morning I had gotten up early.
I crept into my mothers room,
quietly, while she slept,
and ransacked her purse.
My brother did it all the time,
so I knew she wouldn't miss ten
pesos or so - that's all I needed.
It was just enough to get a couple
packs of smokes, some matches,
and still have some left over
for a Pepsi.
Damn, it was hot!
Any way, I snuck out of the house
and walked down the street,
turning right at the corner,
There was the park entrance
on the left.
They had this big statue of Jesus
in there, and when you stood at the
bottom, It looked like
it was going to fall on you.
It was kinda spooky.
Past the garbage dump,
on the right, was a little Cafe.
I don't remember much about it,
except, it was open
in the front, or rather,
it did not have a front at all.
It was painted bright colors,
orange and yellow, if memory serves.
So I go in to the counter,
and using poor spanish,
ask for my smokes.
The man kind of laughed, He
rambled something in Spanish
to the old guys at the table,
and they all laughed - there
were always old guys at the table.
Then he gave them to me.
No questions, no, "How old are you,"
no, "Where are your parents kid,"
he just gave them to me.
I mean, after all, I was only nine.
So any way, I picked up my smokes
and matches, and I paid the man.
As I was leaving, he said
something else to the old guys,
whereupon they all broke
into raucous laughter once again.
On the way home I stopped at
the dump. I found a can, and
I put one of the packs
of cigarettes inside it.
I layed the can down where I
would find it again, when
my first pack was gone.
I hid the other pack in my
underwear. The corner of the box
kept poking me - maybe this is why
I hated the box kind.
I had to sneek back into the house,
when I got home. I went up to my
room and put my smokes
under my pillow.
Later that day my brothers
were picking on me so I
retrieved my cigarettes, and went
out the back door.
We had a garden out back,
and in the corner, we had a trellis,
that went up four stories.
I climbed the trellis to the first
roof level, and had to balance some
bricks to get onto the next level.
So, there I was, hot as hell,
There were a couple of bottles
of Aguardiente (fire water) laying
around. Ric and his friends from Paraiso
probably left them up there.
I wasn't the only one who went
up there to get away.
Any way, I sat watching the traffic
and the Black women with the
big pans on their heads. those women
would scream out the name of
what ever goodie they were
selling that day. Javier ran by,
he looked like that little boy Damien,
from that movie,'The Omen',
He always was kinda scary,
lookin like Damien and all.
There was a dead dog on the
median in the road. After a while
the buzzards started circleing.
They were afraid to land
because of the traffic being so busy.
Every time there was a break
in the traffic, the bravest one
would fly down, trying to tear off
a big enough piece to tide him over.
They never really got the chance.
As soon as they landed and could
put their beaks to it, another car
would fly around the corner
and scare them off.
I must have sat there for hours,
just watching, looking over the side,
while I smoked.
A buzzard flew by.
He was about six feet wide, from
wingtip to wingtip,
and less then ten feet above me.
I flipped my cigarette at him,
but I missed.
I must have been sitting to still,
and he thought I was food.
I started thinking to myself,
maybe I should get down from here,
After all, I was only nine.
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