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Hero Worship

People make borders, and laws about illegally crossing them. In the Gutter, those who enforce the laws may be worse than those who break them.
Hero Worship by Hector Acosta

“Fuck Superman.”
“Why?”
Ray took a sip of his beer, adjusted himself atop the hood of the border patrol cruiser he was sitting on, and stared out into the distance, toward the fence rooted into the ground a hundred feet or so away. The rusted, pocked with holes barrier stretched out across the flat, Texas landscape, reminding Ray of a trail of stitches on a dying man. The fence was the only thing to be seen for miles, and it should have been an imposing, beautiful thing to behold. Instead, looking at it left Ray with an empty feeling in his gut, like when he got home after his day of work and found nothing on the table but a can of old tuna and some warm milk.
“Guy sure as hell wasn’t born here,” he said. “Came from that planet—”
The car lurched forward, interrupting Ray and sending one of his unopened cans rolling down the dust covered hood. A low moan stemmed from the back of the cruiser, like air being let out of a tire, and it was followed by a persistent banging noise which rocked the car once more.
“Christ!” Ray muttered, grabbing the beer just before it tumbled to the ground.
“You want me to go check on him?” Billy asked. Already his cousin was moving toward the edge of the hood, one of his fat legs touching the ground. The silver gun sticking out of his waist glowed in the moonlight.
Ray waved him back and patted the top of the cruiser. “Stay. Anyways, what was I saying?”
“Superman,” Billy reminded him.
A snap of Ray’s fingers. “Yeah. Leaves his birthplace ’cause he knows it’s going to shit, and ends up here. Fuck, you might as well have called him Super Beaner.”
“You know he ain’t real right, Ray?”
Lord, could Billy be dense sometimes. “I know he ain’t real, Billy.” Finishing his beer, he tossed the can out in front of him, where it landed among the other empties the two men had been consuming ever since they’d parked on the edge of the Texas border a couple of hours ago. “Point is, they’ll try to get to your kids early if you’re not careful.”
“They?”
Chewing on his lower lip, Ray tried to elaborate. It wasn’t easy, as he’d been building that word up over the years. It started with the wetbacks, who swarmed into his country like flies at a barbecue and robbed his father of his factory job. Over the years, Ray had made further deposits into its definition, so that it also included the Negroes taking over his neighborhood and blasting that ghetto music and the fat, stingy Italian he had to work for. The word had gotten so big even his own race wasn’t exempt—like that bitch of a cashier at the H-E-B who wouldn’t take his checks no more on account they bounced a time or two.
 “You know, he finally said, “they.
“Oh, okay.”
“Damn it Billy, do I have to explain everything to you?”
“Fuck you, I got it.” Billy said, his words tinged with the same hurt Ray heard whenever he mocked Billy about his weight. Or pimples. Or how it took him ’til his thirties to get his first lay.
“What I mean then?” Ray asked, taking the Beretta out of its holster real casual like.
Billy kept his eyes on the gun, sweat sliding down his forehead. “Superman is a comic book and kids read comic books and if Superman is illegal like you say and if kids read Superman, they’ll think it’s okay to be illegal.” He rushed through the last part as if afraid that Ray would pull the trigger before the final word came tumbling out of his lips.
“Shit boy, I’m impressed. That sounded almost sensical.”
Billy relaxed and grinned, “That means we’re the Kryptonite then, huh, Ray?”
“The what?”
“That green rock that Superman is afraid of. Only thing that can beat ’im .”
“Sure, Billy.” Ray slid off the car’s hood. “I’m getting a beer.”
“Get me one.”
Flipping his cousin off, Ray walked over to the car’s trunk. He stood there in silence for a second, then popped the car’s trunk open.
The guy inside stirred and tried to squirrel his way out of the trunk. Ray poked him in the chest with the gun and pushed him back down. “Now, now, we’ve been over this, you and I. You cause no trouble for us, and you might still see the sun, you hear?”
Bound and naked except for a pair of soiled tighty whities, the man just stared up at him. Ray figured the guy had a right to be pissed. Hell, he’d be too if he was in his position, hogtied and dumped in the back of his own car.
“Don’t be lookin’ at me like that,” Ray said, pulling out two Buds from the inside. “You’re supposed to be our first line of defense against them spics, and instead you sit around and let them get in.” He tsked and closed the trunk.
“Still think we should kill him?” Billy said, catching the beer Ray threw at him.
“Maybe.”
And why not. They were already in heaps of trouble if they got caught. Ray was pretty sure kidnapping and impersonating a border patrol agent wouldn’t be looked to kindly by the libtard courts. He didn’t care, because he knew the public would be on his side. Ray stared out at the fence and waited, knowing that sooner or later he would spot movement, or the dim hint of a flashlight. That’s when he and Billy would go and do what the border patrol wouldn’t do.
’Til then…well, he could continue to educate his cousin.
“Now Captain America, that’s a real superhero.”


Hector Acosta has had short stories published in Shotgun Honey, Weird Noir, Thuglit, and JukePop Fiction. His wrestling novella HARDWAY was recently published by Down & Out Books. He can be found at twitter.com/hexican, as well as other nefarious corners of the internet.