Killing Time (2) / Angel Santiesteban

Angel Santiesteban, 30March 2015 — The common prisoner who sleeps near me told me about his “good” uncle, the mentally ill one who took him to the beach on Sundays, or every day during school vacation.

My cellmate told me the worst part, according to his point of view, since he had another “bad” uncle; that one took him nowhere, except on certain occasions when he made him wear his backpack and ordered him to keep a distance and pretend he didn’t know him.

On the way, he told him the details so he would know how to return alone.

One time they went to a certain place, and his bad uncle went into a house and met a group of men. They always started a discussion about a payment that wasn’t made, or vice-versa. Another man confronted him with a deadline for paying a debt. A fight broke out, and the bad uncle took advantage of the hidden minor to put his hand into his backpack and extract a pistol. The bad uncle fired several shots, and he saw, like in the movies, the opponent fall, covered in blood.

After this, his bad uncle deposited the pistol in his backpack and ordered him to go home, which he did, unaccompanied. Once he entered the house, his grandmother asked about her son, and he lied, telling her that he had left him on the corner. Then he hid the pistol in a shoe box as agreed and covered it with notebooks, pencils and books, because in the morning he would have to go to school.

His bad uncle came back in the early morning, when his nephew was expecting him, pretending to sleep. His bad uncle put five pesos in the pocket of his backpack.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats

Border Control Prison. Havana. February 2015.

Translated by Regina Anavy