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Excerpts

El Iceman

They call me the Iceman.

Nah, dude, chale, I don’t go round icing gente. I just was frozen. Yeah, some of the other homies were frozen too, but it’s me they call El Iceman.

I don’t remember much after I got sucked into the alien’s mouth, but I am the only one who remembers being frozen. The other homies, they be walking round like mensos still. They kinda lost, sabes?

Anywayz, I used to be El Loco, but now I’m the Iceman.

What do I remember? Damn, homie, I remember waking up to this bright light and I thought I was dead. You know how they say you see white light and shit when you die? This light was so white it hurt. It was the gringo of lights man. Just glared at you like the chotas do when we get stopped and made my skin crawl. I remember opening my eyes and trying to raise my arm up to block that light. I remember asking if this was hell, because in my heaven, there ain’t no damned aliens and there were alien motherfuckers here.

After I got used to the light, I checked ‘em out. There were seven of them, but these fools didn’t look like the fuckers we were battling in the park, nah. These fuckers were taller, a different color that I can’t really describe. It just seemed off like God don’t make that color and it was as alien as they were. Read more

About Gina Ruiz

Teller of tales, writing about East L.A., tech, mobile, and historical fiction. PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship finalist 2013. Author of stories in Ban This! and Lowriting. Published poet. Writes a lot.

Celia, Cantinflas & the Cumbia

At every party I sit in the back.

Once in a while, I do that cholo two-step thing with one of my cousins or some ruca that feels sorry for me. I lift my big panza up off whatever chair is about to break under my weight, listen to it groan, then shuffle off to pull my fists together and slowly, clumsy as a bear, move my feet. I hate those dances. I really do. Everyone thinks that’s all us vatos know how to do. That two-step. Nah man…we all grew up with salsa, cumbia, and more. My abuleos danced valses, polka and even the tango. That makes me stop thinking about food for a minute and smile…just remembering them. How they used to cut a rug when a certain bolero came on, my abuelo bowing to my abuela and her blushing like a young girl, then taking off her apron and putting her tiny hand in his. Off they would go, in great sweeping steps, my abuela light on her feet like a fairy princess and my abuelo – dashing and strong. I miss them.

I hate that I’m fat, but I can’t seem to stop eating.

The vatos – they cool. They call me Panzon out of love, not disrespect like the fuckers at school; either that or Little Payaso. Those assholes…well to hell with them. They make pig noises and imitate how I walk. Now my ma, she wants to throw my sister Trini a quincienera and I gotta be one of the dudes in a tux. Which means I gotta partner some ruca who ain’t gonna wanna be stuck with me and I gotta dance. Worse – I gotta be fitted for a fucking tux. Great. Just fucking great. Well, I guess I will live up to my name – Little Payaso. Dopey gave me that name a while back. Said if fuckers were going to be making fun, let me get to it first. Like a big, fat fuck you. So Little Payaso I am even though I sure the fuck ain’t little and I ain’t no one’s clown. Or at least not till I’m a fucking chambelan in Trini’s quince. Read more

About Gina Ruiz

Teller of tales, writing about East L.A., tech, mobile, and historical fiction. PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship finalist 2013. Author of stories in Ban This! and Lowriting. Published poet. Writes a lot.

The Diario de Carlos Antonio Marin en El Space

I don’t know what day it is, so I ain’t saying the days. Just marking how many I think I’ve been here. I’m going to keep a journal like something outta that Star Trek shit with the vatos in weird pajamas… I had to stop and whistle the tune, but that doesn’t mean I watch it. No que no.

So, yo. It’s me. Carlos Antonio Marin aka Dopey, the guy they think got dead by aliens.

Day 3?…

Well, what happened then? That was me got sucked into that nasty mouth when shit went down in the park. That happened and it was foul. I didn’t die though, I’m here on this crazy planet quien sabe how far from home and Elena. I don’t know how I got here. All I remember was the purple things, being sucked in and then darkness, ’til I woke up here in another room from this one. Turns out though, those purple fuckers, they were just the harvesters, not the actual vatos in charge. They were just grunts.

So here I am in my wrinkled but clean Dickies and Ben Davis, in a cold white room and every so often these tall, chupacabra-looking motherfuckers come in and try and talk to me. One of ‘em takes notes like Elena used to. Not on paper though – I don’t know what that black shit is but it ain’t paper. More like tar on aluminum foil in an oval shape. Kinda the shape of the ship the purple ones came in on – like a chancla. It writes with a thing that looks like a wire, all shiny and thin and every so often it flashes.

But me, I ain’t talking any sense to them. They have figured out English and Spanish, and try and talk to me, but I play dumb. They can’t seem to figure out Caló or Nahuatl so I be pulling out old school Pachuco, ese, talking Caló; trying to remember my grandmother’s Otomi and my grandfather’s Mixteca Nahuatl, all in this crazy mix that makes them stare. Mostly, though I talk in my head to Elena and that, they can’t listen to. So much for aliens being able to read our minds. They can’t, yo. No way. Read more

About Gina Ruiz

Teller of tales, writing about East L.A., tech, mobile, and historical fiction. PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship finalist 2013. Author of stories in Ban This! and Lowriting. Published poet. Writes a lot.

Chanclas & Aliens

It was a night like any other in Lincoln Park. The sounds of the drums, pounding feet and chachayotes filled the small gym, but soon the tired Aztec dancers streamed out, got into their cars and left. The park was quiet except for the occasional cricket and the sound of the freight trains pushing through the tracks on Valley Boulevard.

The last taco stand shut down for the night and a group of cholos from across the tracks gathered in the now-still park eating chile relleno burritos, drinking some Coronas and just hanging. If you were looking, you would occasionally see the flare of a lighter or the red-tipped ash of a cigarette illuminating one of the guy’s faces. Handsome young men, all of them, with the stances of Aztec warriors of old.

They were fierce and dangerous looking to some, comforting and homey to others.

The aliens above watched from their strangely shaped ship wondering what manner of creature these tattooed, brown gods were…or so they seemed to the tiny and bent luminescent creatures invading their planet with destruction in mind. To their race, only gods were tall.

Still, they thought that their gods were more powerful than these savage-seeming ones. Didn’t they have technology? Hadn’t they conquered world after world, galaxy after galaxy? These god-like creatures had to be unintelligent life forms – just in a large mass and like all lesser life forms, they would die and their planet’s resources would get siphoned into pure energy to take back to their world. They never left survivors. Their very name in their language meant destroyers of all life.

Not being burdened with conscience, they saw only their need for energy and the way to get it. Nothing stood in their way – not even strangely marked brown gods.

They waited. Soon, no one was on the streets. The traffic was gone and only the small group of young men stood alone. The ship turned on its lights and made its way into the parking lot near the gym. It seemed a clear enough space to land.

Jaime saw them first. “Trucha, homies! Watcha. What the hell is that?”

“Holy shit cabrón, I think it’s a spaceship!” Ruben dropped his cigarette and reached for the knife he kept hidden. Read more

About Gina Ruiz

Teller of tales, writing about East L.A., tech, mobile, and historical fiction. PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship finalist 2013. Author of stories in Ban This! and Lowriting. Published poet. Writes a lot.