Plata o Plomo

Dear Manuela:

I know you have spent many sleepless nights wondering where I am.  Are the kids asking for me?  Or have they given up on having a papá?  It has been two weeks since you and I snuggled together in our warm bed.  It seems so far away now, as I try to sleep on the rocky ground, tucked between two boulders. I hope the cartel does not find me here.

I made a big mistake and used the money I got from selling their drugs to pay our rent.  Oh, Manuela, I was only thinking of you when I did it. Now they are after me, and won’t stop until I am dead.  Did you see the body hanging from the billboard on the road near our village?  It was a sign for me. I must pay up or die.

“Plata o plomo.”  My choice is silver or lead.

I have nothing to give them but my disgust. I have nothing to give you but my love.

Never forget me. Tell Donna and Paula I tried very hard to take care of them. I will always love them and you from heaven and beyond. Look for me in the stars and dream of me when the moon is full.  I will be watching out for you even in death.Your husband, José.


Photo by Nancy-Clark