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Immigrant Song


Part I
Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons,
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway
a place where nobody knows
Talking Heads "Life during wartime"
CHAPTER ONE
When the death squad came for him, Ricky fled.
He had been sitting at the table crammed into the tiny kitchen of his second floor apartment when he spotted
the black, late model SUV turn into the parking lot that paralleled the front of his building. Along with the fact that
he could see the outline of the red and blue flashing lights on its dashboard and behind its grill, the vehicle was so
out of place among the beat up, second hand junkers driven by the students who lived in the off-campus
apartments, that it literally screamed police.
Without hesitation, Ricky ran into the bedroom and dumped the contents of his book bag onto the floor,
watching as his calculus text, two notebooks, and a copy of the speech that he had given the day before spilled out.
He thought briefly of tearing the speech to shreds, burning the tattered remains and flushing the ashes down the
toilet, but knew it was too late for that. If the Groups were here to take him away, they wouldn't care about
collecting evidence. They were here to make him disappear.
Quickly stuffing three pairs of jeans and some shirts into the bag, he grabbed his jacket off the hook on the
back of the bedroom door and ran for the bathroom, moving so fast down the short hallway that he bounced off
the door jamb and almost ended up doing a header into the tub. Recovering quickly, he cranked the awning
window open to its fullest extent before sticking his head out to make sure the alley below was clear.
It had been weeks since the sanitation collectors had been through so the smell of human waste and old
moldering garbage rose up to almost gag him as he surveyed the mounds of uncollected trash piled halfway up the
wall of the first floor. After checking to see that the spot he'd cleared the day before hadn't been filled by his
downstairs neighbor throwing her refuse out, Ricky shouldered his bag, climbed through the open window and
hung for a second from the sill before letting go.
The book bag threw him off balance, and he knew even as his feet hi t the packed dirt of the alley that he had
landed wrong. Feeling a sharp pain shoot up his right leg from the ankle, he immediately took his weight off it,
bobbing up and down on one foot as he tried to determine how badly he was injured. Closing his eyes tightly, he
said in a soft voice. "Please don't let it be broken. Please."
Knowing fatalistically that his leg would either hold him or it wouldn’t, and if it didn't, then he w as through;
Ricky put his foot down and tentatively tested his weight on it. It w as painful, but the ankle didn't seem to be
broken or sprained, just strained. Hearing a crashing noise come through the bathroom window above him, he
flinched in fear at the sound of what he knew w as the front door of his apartment being kicked in. Shouted
commands from the men of the death squad filtered down to the alley as they entered his apartment and spread
out in search of him.
Adrenalin flooded Ricky's already overloaded system at how close the voices sounded. His apartment
consisted of only a few hundred square feet of space so it w ould be but seconds before one of the men entered the
bathroom and looked out the window. Knowing that if he was spotted that he was as good as dead, he ignored the
pain in his ankle as he dug his feet into the litter strewn dirt and took off like a shot. He had planned his escape
route earlier so he only had to run a short distance before coming to another alley formed by two of the buildings
that made up part of the huge apartment complex where he lived. Turning left between them, he was quickly out
of sight.
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