Patricio hung out on the porch soaking up the sunshine. Same porch, same summer sun as for most of the 30 years of his life. Same fucking neighborhood, too: the barrio. Mr. Fuentes’ restaurant at the end of the block filled the air with the warm scents of cumin and chorizo.

His stare was fixed, intent, upon the dagger. He spun the blade on the faded green plastic table, the slim, unfinished steel of the blade catching the sunlight.

Patricio relaxed back into his cracked plastic green chair. His eyes scanned the street for the tenth time in 20 minutes.

“Fucking mayates,” he breathed out and took another sip of his well-nursed Sol beer. Sip, scan, sip, scan the street some more.

Enrique strolled towards him off the sidewalk garbed in khaki shorts and a white tank top. “Hey, hermano, you keepin’ your shit frosty?”

“Ai, ‘Rique. I’m not getting tight. Just bored as fuck with this watch bullshit.”

“Big Tiago says shit is popping off all over town. Rioters moving in packs. Looting stores, wrecking shit all over. Wild, man.”
Patricio kicked up his Nike Cortezes. “Fucking mayates, any excuse. Shit, I was all set to go back to work downtown. Sal just got me that drywall gig. But these fuckers had to fuck that, all over some big nigger croaking.”

“Hey, check out what Big T got me,” Enrique said and pulled something dark and compact-looking. “Fucking Smith and Wesson 360 in .357.”

Patricio eyed the piece, then said, “Quality cuete, but you only got five shots.” He lifted up the front of his shirt, showing his Glock 19. “This got 15 shots, plus another mag of 15 ready to go.”

Enrique’s face fell.

Patricio laughed. “No problem. Here, I tell you what. Let’s trade. Return it after your watch is over.”

“You sure, man?”

“Fuck yeah, I’m sure. What sort of homeboy would I be if I didn’t help out mi hermano on the front lines?” Patricio said with a laugh. “You got extra rounds?”

Enrique lit up. “You bet: a strip of five.”

“Well, hand them over.”

“Still, you sure? I mean, you’re giving up your 30 for my ten.”

Patricio cocked his head back, spinning his dagger in his hand. “Sure. Si. I got my pig sticker.”

Enrique rummaged through his pockets for the bullet strip. “What’s the story with the filero?”

“It’s a Fairbairn Sykes British Commando dagger. The Commandos were some tough loc motherfuckers, serious cajones. Like they would do these raids, outnumbered and far from back up, into enemy territory and fuck up shit big time. Think about that shit, homie; you’re ridin’ a in a boat  with ten of your bros taking on an army.”
Enrique nodded his head. “I see. Well, better get back to business.”


Dark had fallen. Patricio, still nursing a buzz, left his porch. Enrique hadn’t returned the Glock; like most young vatos, he got distracted.

Fuentes’ still put out refreshing odors, now of carne asada. A building night wind carried the smell of a city burning, teasing at Patricio’s button-up plaid shirt. He walked past so many boarded-up businesses. Big Tiago rolled by in a chopped and dropped Chevy. Patricio jutted his chin to Big T and Big T returned the salute.

Patricio watched the tail lights disappear down the avenue.

Walking slow, with no place to be, he turned down a lane running between two blocks of buildings housing small shops.

He cursed under his breath, “Pinche mayates,” when he saw the four black men striding up the lane less than ten yards away.

In the blink of an eye, he drew the Smith and drew the sights level on the blacks.

Young guys, pants down the ass crack, shirts pulled up around their necks. Sweating, surprised.

They froze, and one called to Patricio, “Yo ese! Why you be trippin’? We cool. No harm. You habla Engleesh?”

Patricio sized them up, aiming the revolver at each in turn. “Better than you, nigger. And my family has only been here 50 years.”

The tallest black jumped up and hit a chest flex. “Pretty tough talk, little beaner bitch! What are you going to do?”

Patricio cocked the revolver, taking a two-handed grip. “Man, you fucking stupid. The fuck do you think? No one invited you into this hood.”

A flicker of movement caught Patricio’s attention to the left out of the corner of his eye.

He spun to fire a hair’s breadth too slow.

Some big fat black motherfucker used a two by four to whack Patricio’s hands, knocking the revolver wide.

A stinging jolt shot up his left arm.

Patricio pulled his commando dagger with the right and sunk it into the bastard’s gut.

His attacker let out a girlish yelp.

Patricio wrapped his left arm around the black’s neck and started the sowing machine.

Prison shank-style.

The narrow, flashing blade struck and withdrew eleven times, working its way up to his lungs.

Before the other blacks could close, Patricio dropped fat boy on the pavement.

He hit the ground, letting out a last little kicked chihuahua squeak.

Blood-mad, Patricio wheeled on his heel and launched at the tall loud mouth. He fainted a grab for the tall black’s eyes, causing him to jerk his head back, and drove the dagger up under his chin. Patricio ripped the dagger out and slashed downward, opening tall motherfucker’s skinny guts.

The remaining three blacks burned the rubber off the soles of their newly liberated Air Force Ones turning tail and running.

Patricio let out a series of bloodcurdling war whoops.

Two of the bros stopped long enough to get a last glance of Patricio grabbing his victim’s Afro bun and scalping him.

As they turned to run again, Patricio yelled out into the night, “Mi vida por la raza! Don’t fucking come back, putos!