By Ernest Hogan
Yet another anthology is out, with another story by me in it. It's called Five to the Future, and also features works by the fabulous Emily Devenport (my wife), Arthur Byron Cover, Cynthia Ward, and M. Christian. Buy it! Read it! Live it! Now!
Mine has been called “a Chicano fiesta of multicultural caliente salsa” by the publisher. It was inspired by recent political events. Rather than try to describe it, I'm going to tease you with the beginning of UNO! . . . DOS! ONE-TWO! TRES! CUATRO!
. . .
“Testing, testing. . . Is this thing on? UNO! . . . DOS! ONE-TWO! TRES! CUATRO!”
Low-flying F-16s rattled windows and loosened fillings as they rumbled their way to and from Luke Air Force Base, as they did every day since the new president stepped up the war.
A camera perched on the security fence near Central Avenue in Phoenix, undergoing repair after a hole was blown in it, partially destroying the face of the new president that was painted there as part of the ongoing mural project. It swiveled, looking for action and finding it on the street below. A flash of light disturbed a chain gang of young brown and black women wearing striped jumpsuits.
A hologram appeared: a figure in a spacesuit tricked out in intricate, colorful decorations like Mayan embroidery or a charro's best suit. The helmet had day glow hot rod flames and an engine’s air intake sticking out of the top. The face was not human, but a papier-mâché skeleton painted for Día de los Muertos.
It screamed like a rooster from Hell.
“UNO! . . . DOS! ONE-TWO! TRES! CUATRO!”
The chain gang panicked and tried to run, tripping on their shackles. An officer fired her gun, triggering a hail of gunfire from passersby and vehicles trapped in the perpetual traffic clog near the fence. People screamed. More shots were fired. Sirens wailed. Drones large enough to be armed buzzed in.
The hologram admired the mayhem. Its mask stretched and cracked into a grin.
Something flew over the fence, landing near the hologram. The object exploded into a cloud of red smoke. When the smoke cleared there was a flash-painted portrait of the skull-faced hologram on the fence next to the hole.
The hologram laughed like an over-amplified mariachi and disappeared.
Two F-16s thundered low overhead, heading for Luke Air Force Base.
. . .
. . .
Ernest Hogan finds inspiration in political turmoil. Another story by him can be found in the anthology Latin@ Rising. His “Chicanonautica Manifesto” appeared in Aztlan.