Something always happens in Juárez


In the PM newsroom, across from faded purple and brown-striped cubicles where reporters sit amid tacked-up centerfolds and layouts for the day’s cover story of a gun-shot man discarded in a ditch, two men, a photographer and assistant editor, listen to the strains of a narcocorrido drifting from a police scanner. The vague shrill discord of accordions and a brass band echoes in the glass office until a burst of distortion shatters the ill-begotten melody and imposes a staticky silence. They know in the expanding quiet that someone will die tonight. When and where the execution will happen they cannot say yet. Perhaps in five minutes on a dirt lane beneath power lines heavy with dangling sneakers; perhaps in an hour in a van swerved to a stop, the spewed rocks and dust still unsettled even after the gunfire has ceased and neighbors come to peer with accustomed caution through barred windows; perhaps after nightfall on the stony ground of a hill beneath sheets of laundry that when billowed by winds will rise like theatrical curtains to display the vast expanse of Juárez—its gated homes where dogs bark and loll in the heat, its tree-lined streets where kids play pick-up soccer games, and the dirt lanes stretching toward barbed wire fences that block entrance to the state of Texas just beyond the muddy band of the Rio Bravo.

more from J. Malcolm Garcia at VQR here.