‘The Night Sucks’ by Blanc Riestra


From Words Without Borders:

Jerry Luján, a boy in a visor, is walking in a ditch alongside Menaul Street today.  It’s Tuesday, five o’clock in the afternoon, and night is already upon him.  In Albuquerque it gets dark like this, out of the blue, as if someone has suddenly yanked the tablecloth from off a table.  Jerry Luján dawdles with his hands in the pockets of his windbreaker.  We are in the land of trocas and truck-gear.

Meanwhile, in the center of Burque, the main library is slowly edging to a close, like a beast drifting off to sleep, as it prepares to shut its doors.  Today is Tuesday, a golden, sad Tuesday in February, and the main library is half-full of downtrodden readers: Hopi Indians and beggars with backpacks.  Jennifer, with long, thin blonde hair, lets her eyes range over the dirty carpet.  She strikes the keyboard one last time and then waits as the computer shuts down, sounding its twilight music while a nearby  lightbulb flickers (the same one as always).  It is Tuesday.  Jennifer drums her fingernails against the Formica table.  Someone turns to look at her.

It is five o’clock and two girls come spilling out of a house on Gold Street, taking advantage of the last bits of afternoon sunlight, which in Albuquerque, depending on where you are, lingers and spills out like wine.  The girls, who cannot be more than thirteen, smoke their last mentholated cigarette, which glides from mouth to mouth like a kiss.  The girl with a ponytail says: “Look at the sky,” and the other says, “The sky sucks.”  They both laugh.  By the patio door is a rusty bicycle and on the clothesline hangs a pair of enormous women’s underpants.

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