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BLACK HUMOR / Kenneth Zamora Damacion Ten years, and still my younger brother laughs at his attempts at death, wanting at fourteen, the anonymity of Fresno, Bakersfield, San Bernardino, wanting memory to blur away as he stared out the bus window, wanting to foul and be fouled, to die among garden cUppings, leaves, rotting food, the morning tragedy headlined in the gazette of some rich neighborhood. Why five hundred mUes south, in San Diego? Walking away from the depot at 1st and Broadway, he downed aspirins and sleeping piUs, wandered through the warm, weU-groomed, palmUned streets. Amidst a world that was new, wondrous, could he still have wanted his death? Against a darkening violet dusk did he search for his last meal? Or rather, for a bin large enough to Ue inside—where he could imagine himself Ufted ceremoniously by the claws of the city sanitation truck as the dawn rose. Aspiring to anonymity, he found it, was foUed by it, as two cops picked him up, beUeving he was a runaway. He never bothered to tell them he was more important than that, as they returned him to the bus depot, made certain that he bought a ticket and boarded. StiU he would not give up desire. On the bus back north, he washed more piUs down with a soft drink, stuffed his ticket in the half-empty can, grinned at the thought that where he was going he had no use for it. Perhaps in Fresno, the driver nudged him awake, and he had to fish the ticket out, press the wet from it, and pass it to the driver who shook his head the whole time at this smart-ass kid. Somehow, my brother survived. I recaU the last scene in Midnight Cowboy, the tubercular 194 · The Missouri Review Ratso Rizzo complains of the cold and dies in the back of the bus. The cowboy holds him in his arms. But, this is my brother's movie, his memories that turn his mouth to smUe; I try to stay out of his telling of it. Kenneth Zamora Damacion The Missouri Review · 295 ...


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pp. 194-195
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