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David Camps

The Agent

The sun rays appear through the thin curtain. The neighborhood had already awakened but he was still sleeping. The sound of an ambulance siren finally woke him up.

Each morning was the same, the alarm clock would go off, he would open his heavy eyes with difficulty, his wife already gone to work; he would continue sleeping, but this time the ambulance noise was passing by really close to his ears. There was a base of pirate ambulances only a few blocks away. They were the types of ambulance that may save your life but at the same time they could take someone elseís as a result of their carelessness. They wouldnít care about the consequences of causing an accident by parking on a corner and blocking all possible visibility. Nobody could take them away in spite of the accidents, not even a police agent like him.

He got up, looked through the window only to see the same every day view, the plastic canvases of the vendors over the side walk; opposite there was the butcher shop and the blacksmiths waiting for potential clients, the barber reading the yellow newspaper, the vegetable shop just opening, and the peseros driving by with the desire to break the boredom, stalking, haunting them all, waiting for a cold moment of rage over somebody crossing or someone overtaking them in the narrow, noisy, heated street.

He went into the bathroom for a shower in the hope that it would wash his memories away, memories of his life crossing the line for the unknown, but yet so familiar death. This time he was also thinking that he could accept the offer of having better things even if he had to break the code prescribed by himself, to look for a wider path for the sake of his wife, of having children with a better quality of life which he was not used to.

Today there will be raid to eradicate the evil in people, to do something for this society, at least a grain of sand in the tiny dune of crime eradication, to end pedophilia, organized crime; he remembered that mission of putting an end to a child pornography network, he felt proud of himself, he felt that he could finish with all the evil in the city instantly.

He finished and didnít want to shave, nor comb his hair, he didnít feel like it, he would just put on his clothes, take his gun, check it. He would drink a bitter hot black coffee and eat a cold green tamal. After a few slurps, he left the coffee and continued thinking as he brushed his teeth, struggling to get rid of vile thinking that seemed to belong to him. He felt as if something was taken out of his soul each time he used dirty vocabulary to threaten and harm verbally. He hoped this time would be different.

It was hot inside, he opened the window to freshen up. As the noise came in, he looked at the people passing by, the butcher serving, the barber putting the newspaper away, the pesero driver almost running over an old lady, if it hadnít been for that desperate scream.

He went out and walked towards the police station, facing the dilemma of the routine, of not receiving bribes, but without knowing he would overcome, he closed the door with usual uncertainty: "maybe this time itís my turn," he thought in order to have some peace of mind, as he touched the last cracked step. After that he lost sight of himself among the crowd and the puestos.

"I might see him tomorrow," he thought. "I may not, who knows..."


David Camps teaches English as foreign language at the Tecnolůgico de Monterrey, Mexico City Campus. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from Lancaster University, Great Britain. His research interests are related to social aspects of the language: how students engage in practices to deal with academic demands in writing, how the students' identity influence their writing, what sort of writing practices professionals engage in for their careers. He has shared the findings of his research at different symposia in Mexico, Brazil and the United States and has published in journals in the field of language teaching.

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