Barrio la Paz

The smell of roasting flesh filled the air with blue plumes of smoke. It was a beautiful day, with a clear blue sky and a salt wind which carried the crash of surf from the near distance where men fished in the old ways, with spear and sheer lung capacity.

They were mostly Spanish. They gathered on lawn chairs, or stood in the grass, the women chortling in staccato tones. The men held steins of home-brewed beer and conversed quietly. Salsa music and pop filtered from a battery powered radio.

Children tumbled with puppies and dashed yelling between legs. Fish were turned on the grill, along with rosemary chicken from the alley-wide communal coops and today’s prize, a wild pig. Taters and string beans were boiled, while corn and sweet peppers roasted.

Redondo Beach was a white line in the distance, and the rest of the neighborhood stretched behind, derelict. Outside, the remains of humanity skirted the quarantine border, that sweet subterfuge surrounding the suburb, and struck off for safer latitudes.

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