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  • Writer's pictureMara Cao

ix. el serpiente es mala suerte

I finish cleaning the trailer and go around to the ropa tent. It is disorganized, but the heat is getting to me and I do not feel like starting another chore quite yet. I hear some yelling by the tree behind and I walk over quickly. A young migrant boy who is 15 years old and an older migrant man tell me there is a large snake around the tree. They think it is venomous. The boy picks up a large rock and hurls it at the head of the snake. The older man gives him more rocks to throw at the snake. The snake is buried under the rocks, but I can see its tail still moving. The boy throws more rocks at the snake and I see it move no more. I call over Jeff and he uses a broom to move the rocks off the snake. He says the snake is still moving, still alive. He scoops the snake into a white paint bucket so that he can move it down the wash, away from the camp. I am frightened of snakes, but I look at it in the bucket and see that the snake is smashed in the middle, with guts coming out. Jeff says the snake is not poisonous. It looks like a coachwhip to him. The man and boy say that the snake is mala suerte.

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