Every time I wake up in the morning, I have the slightly feeling I'm drowning. Maybe because my little sister, Liz, is splashing me water, like every other morning. I don't blame her. I'm suppose to be awake early in the morning to work. Well, I have to work, while she stays at home doing nothing, she's 11 anyways. Here in Marvel City we have to work since you turn 15, specially if you're poor, like us. I started the job business since I was 13, now I'm 16. The taxes are getting higher, and after my grandfather died, money was cut short. I get up while Liz leaves the room - the only room in the "house"- and close the door so I can change. When I'm done, I head to the living room - which is really small for the four of us, the tv and the couch - where mom and dad are waiting.
-Come on Kreny, it's getting late. - Says my dad. I get late every day, but my boss really doesn't care. She is like those old ladies who just want to help. She is rich. One of the only ones in the city.
-Coming! I'm coming!- We leave mom and Liz and shut the door. My dad works in the mine. Well, thats what you do once you get too old for other normal and safe jobs, just if you are rich, of course, you can do whatever you want, don't even have to pay the taxes, which is great...for them. Who passes around us knows we share the same blood. We have the same dark hair and green eyes. Totally different from mom and Liz. Both of them have golden hair and dark eyes. While I'm thinking about our hair and eyes, dad says something, but I'm lost.
-What? - I ask.
-What's in you lately Kreny? You seem distant. I asked if you're ok.
-I'm fine dad, really! It's just...I don't know. - My dad stops short and looks at me.
-Son, if you need to talk to someone or share or whatever you teenergers do, you can come to me. I'm your father, and I love you. Got it?
-Yeah, I got it! But I'm fine dad. -awkward pause. - Well, here is where we split. Bye dad, and have a nice day at work.
-You too Kreny. But remember what I said. - And he walks away.
At Marcy's, the bakery I work at, Marcy - duh - or Ms. Ghramm comes running to me like there is no tomorrow.
-Kreny, you are here! Thanks God! - she says, saunding relieved
-Is everything ok Ms. Ghramm?
-Yes. I just thougth you were in trouble.
-Why would think that? - I ask confused.
-You don't know?? - she asks in disbelief.
-No! What? - I say, already getting pissed.
-Remember you said you were going to the Disco last night?
- Marvel's goons trashed the place last night!
-Don't know. I think people in there were doing some illegal things. And I thought you were there and I...-then suddently, she starts to cry. Really, I don't know how to deal with this crying thing. My mom never crys, Liz hardly lets a tear stream down her face. To be honest, the last person I saw crying was my Grandfather, in his deathbed, after he said some weird stuffs to me.
-I'm fine! - I say, trying to calm her.- I didn't go. I had to take care of Liz. - As I say this, she seems to calm down. I really like this woman. She is like a second mom or better, a grandmother, whom I never met.
-Good, good! Now, work time. Go, go! - I laugh as she says e disapears behing the kitchen door.
What Ms. Ghramm said keeps ringing in my mind all day. What did Lou do to make Marvel get angry and destroy his Disco? I don't want to even think about what could have happened if I were there. While I'm finishing with a costumer, Marlo, my best friend comes in. We don't see each other very often. Especially with his work schedule, which sucks, because he is the only one I can really talk to. You may ask, what about a girlfriend? Ha. I wish. Girls here are complitly crazy. For real. the cutest one that I ever thought about dating is a prejudice bitch. She didn't accept going out with me because my best friend is black. Can you imagine that?
-'Sup? -I say without looking at him. - What are you doing here? I thought you were working.
-I was. But I have a spare time right now, so I decided to come. - He said. And before I could reply, he stared at me.- I was at Lou's Disco last night. - I stopped what I was doing and looked at him.
-What? What happened there?
-They trashed the place man. I freaked!! My uncle Andre was there with me. Luck us, we could scape. Man...you should have seen those goons, man. They were there to kill if they had to.
-Wow!- I was so in shock that this was the only thing that came out of my mouth. - Are you ok? - I manage to ask.
-Yeah! Well, I'm alive.
-Why they did that?
-I don't know. Some people are saying that Lou didn't pay the taxes, others that Lou is doing some illegal stuff. But who knows what the truth is hun? - he says.- Anyway, I just came to tell you what happened. Now I've gotta go. My uncle is wating for me. See ya later bro.
-See. - and he is gone.
The end of the day is the same. Mom and dad discussing what happened at Lou's disco. Really, I'm sick of it. Ok, it's something that never happens but they are doing this big cause about it. It's not the end of the world. But something my mom says bring me back to reality.
-What if it happened because of the taxes? Our taxes are late Michael. - she whispers to my dad, but obviously I hear it.
-Don't worry hon, we gonna make it, ok? - He tells her.
I live both in the kitchen and go to the bedroom where Liz is. She's sitting in her bed reading a book. She loves reading. In fact, my grandfather taught her, and me. I miss him so much. But in the end of his days he seemed weird. He used to sit in front of the tv and look at it, with the thing off, and wait for something to appear in the screen. Mom and Dad thougth he was a little bit crazy. He started to tell me some stories about the an imortal city and treasure hunt. He used to tell me these stories when I was a kid, but before he died, he got obsessed. I still remember his voice in my head: "Find the treasure Kreny, and save my land." I still think he got more than a little bit crazy. Liz looks up and tell me to sit beside her. She lays her head in my shoulder and keeps reading. We don't say anything. Both of us know that something is wrong. But like my mom always says, "Keep the faith and find hope in the desert.". Right now, we sure are in a desert.
The next days are calmer. Lou's rumors disappeared and life is normal again. Well, that's what I thought. Gosh, how I was wrong.
Ms. Ghramm comes to me in the moment I get into the store. she seems normal, with her chic clothes and jewelry, so I don't think something is up.
- Kreny, I have something really important for you to do. - she says. - A delivery. - Ok, a delivery isn't that important. I did some since I started working here. - To the Mayor. - Ok...now that's important.
-What do I have to do?
-Here. - she says while giving me a package. - Take this to the Mansion. His goons are waiting. They will tell you what to do next.
-What is this? - I ask trying to see what is inside, but she snap the package out of my hand.
-Don't look at it ok? Just bring it there.
-Ok. - I agree. Eventhough I'm curious. But I'm sure is just food. The Mayor is this big fat guy with a diet schedule, but we all now he doesn't follow it.
I leave the bakery and head to the Mansion, which is three blocks ahead. So I get there really fast. Right in front of the gates are three goons with swords in full uniform. Inside, in front of the front door are more two. I get closer to the gate, and one tall and bald man looks at me.
-What do you want kid? - he asks.
-I have a delivery for the Mayor. It's from Marcy's Bakery. - The bald mas looks to the others goons with a knowing look.
-Get inside and ask for the kitchen. Live it in the big table. - The bald man says.
-You gonna let him in? - the other in the right with big brown eyes asks incredulously.
-Yeah, well. If you want to go and babysit this kid, go!
-No, I'm ok. - he says. - Get in, kid.
So I do. These people really don't know how to take care of things. I could be a terrorist or something, and this "food" could be a bomb or whatever. Nuts. At the front door, the goons look at me - not again - and finally let me in. The Mansion is huge. With stylish things everywhere. Even the floor is chic. I wonder if I should take my shoes off. The floor shines for crying out loud. The front room is amazing, with beautiful tapestaries that my mom would love. And a big chandelier that illuminates the whole room. I wonder if I would get lost in this masion. It's so big with so many doors that if there wasn't a plaque signaling where the kitchen is, I could find myself in the warehouse without finding a way back.
The kitchen is other place that leaves me without breath. And now I'm angry. Really angry. There are some many people starving, and the Mayor has this huge kitchen with lots of food, and still collects taxes?? I never liked the Mayor, but mom always said to respect our leaders, and blah, blah, blah. I'm still pissed. Maybe I could take some food home, no one will notice anyway. I open the refrigerator and look at it. Some many things, it's like haven. i take one piece of cake and eat. So delicious. But in the moment I almost take the rest of it, someone bursts in the door. I find myself hiding behind a door next to the refrigerator. I can't see who is there but I can listen, and what I listen is something not good.
-Who is next? - one of them asks.
-Don't know. Have to wait Marvel tell us. - the other says. - But its gonna be easy. It's probably one poor family next to the center. That one with black and brown bricks. Their taxes are late.
-What is going to happen with them?
-Probably what happened with the Lou guy. They are going to vanish from the face of the Desert. - He laughs. And that is the moment I realize...my home is made of black and brown bricks.