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It was a nuisance, but still the tiny cut gave her an excuse to step away from the noise and smell, and especially the heat, outside. 

The dirt road was dry and dust was swirling around on the dry desert air, clinging to everything and everyone. But the wind didn't carry away the smell of blood or meat or bubbling pig grease. Susana felt her scalp prick with sweat and the grains of dirt roll under fingertips as she swiped at the itch.

With the other hand she pressed a napkin to her lip where the chip in the porcelain cup had nicked her. Glancing at the napkin she noticed the tiny stain. There was blood, of course. But what was a little blood to a full grown woman who bled every month. 

Pressing the linen back to her face she stared out the window of the linoleum tiled kitchen into the front yard. They'd tried wetting down the grass to make it cooler, but the sun had sucked that moisture up before the ground could. And not even the shade of the old Pecan trees offered relieve from the heat of the day or the heat of the disco where the meat from the pig had been simmering all morning long. 

The men were drinking at the little plastic table opened under the tree, their chairs reclined back on two feet, each one rocking themselves, like old men relajando.

The brown beer bottles that littered it were sweating in the heat as if they were alive and organic. Sabado had his gripped in his hand, resting on thigh. With the power that beer had, it seemed to Susana that it was a living thing, a personality and mind and spirit, possessing her husband's body at will. 

Now he smiling wide. Soon he would be grinning and dancing, slurring words in his euphoria. Maybe this time the men would manage to get him to a room rather than leaving his body, heavy with sweat and stink, in the street.

She hated the feeling of shame that rose in her gut. She was a wife. She shouldn't feel disgust at the thought of cleaning him up in the morning, or washing his soiled clothing stiff with urine, or feeling his hand grasp at her breast in a sloppy attempt to make her respond.

But she had seen how the others mocked him, manipulated and taunted, offering him alcohol in exchange for a few hours of drunken entertainment. And Sabado always obliged them. 

What was it her mama had told her? A si, "major suponer que saber." Better to suppose than to know. 

You were right mama. Because what I know is awful.

Looking down, she saw the red streak on the inside of the cup from the chip in the dish, and the oily pool of red sitting on top of the liquid. It looked like such a little thing, with its yellow flowers and green vines painted on the side, but didn't she know by now how it was the little things that caused the greatest harm. 

With a flick of her wrist she threw the rest of the coffee in the sink, watching it splash and cling to the edges of the metal.

What a waste. Que lastima. 

Susana let the cup drop into the sink and heard it strike hard enough to cause another chip. 

Pudrate, she thought and turned to go back outside.






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