New Jungle

Meet Jurgis. He’s straight off the boat and cannot speak a word of English. He has 500 dollars in his hidden pants pocket and his I.D. to get in. He has been in a terrible war and was a refugee. He has come seeking the opportunity that some of the rest of America cannot see because of their sight problem. He has a cousin in Iowa and he shall travel there to see what job he can find.

At the bus station this tall, black haired, strong-looking guy with piercing brown eyes has struck up a conversation in his native tongue and they are laughing mercilessly. They are talking and remembering various things from their hometown city. In due course of conversation, Jurgis is told that this man is named Israel.

A local police officer wanders over to them thinking there is trouble. He walks up and introduces himself to the gentleman and Israel starts acting strange and nervous. Jurgis asks him what is going on. The officer asks Jurgis for his I.D. and Israel translates this to Jurgis. Jurgis hands over the I.D. he was carrying and waits.

The officer calls on his radio and says that they are to wait. He informs Jurgis after a long pause punctuated by awkwardness that he has a fine here of 300 dollars for an outstanding warrant. He could pay now or go to jail and be charged 500. Israel informs Jurgis of this and Jurgis freaks out: jumps the rail and takes off through the veranda with the cop in hot pursuit. He has a little bit of a lead and little bit more speed than the young cop pursuing him. Jurgis is unfamiliar with these streets, the town itself being arranged nothing like his hometown. This town is weird to him and he runs everywhere he is able. Thirteen blocks later he chances a look back and sees that he is safe.

“I don’t know what just happened,” he thinks aloud to himself in bhis native tongue.

He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cop was lying. He has never been to America before and there is no way that man could have been legit. He sure wasn’t going to give him his money. A million thoughts rang through our friend Jurgis’ mind. His main focus is finding some water to drink and a place to converse with people to find out what to do next.

Out walking several more blocks through what appears to be a very rough neighborhood he is approached by three men all wearing the same colors and carrying weapons. They rush up to him and start yelling at him in a language he has never heard before. He tries to explain he cannot understand them but they take this to mean he is defiant. They pull out more weapons and brass knuckles.

Next thing Jurgis knows, he is being greeted with swift blows and a sharp pain in his thigh and upper arm. He swings wildly and connects with one of the three hooded hellions but is met again with several fists to his torso and his arm is in immense pain. He notices his thigh is also in some terrible pain but the beating continues. He finally is able to battle them off but not before they take off with his I.D. He hangs on to his arm with his free hand after the fight and is lost in a daze.

A daze that reminds him of springtime the year before when Ona his then wife had been shot in a shootout involving the cartel and the law. He watched her body drop and dance and jerk like a marionette swinging from the rafters. He watched the blood shoot from her shoulder from a distance of 20 feet and spurt onto the ground in front of her. He watched as that second fateful bullet slammed into her throat and severing her carotid while spurting blood in huge bright red streams. He looked on in agony as the cartel continued to shoot at the cops and bullets flying everywhere. He was hidden behind a junked out car without any doors and was about to sneak up and scare Ona in a surprise moment that would have made her laugh. But alas, that plan was quite interrupted.

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