Guillermo Brown

Published January 15, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

The church clock strikes eight, so those villagers who are awake know without checking that it is six. A cock crows. A body lies across the doorstep of the church, a line of crumb-carrying ants marches across the fedora covering its face. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease before the silence is cracked by a baby crying.
Guillermo was always awake at six, his mother believed he heard the eight strikes of the clock and thinking it was eight he would exercise his small lungs as a fanfare to herald in the new day. She wished they would fix the church clock so she could gain two extra precious hours of sleep. Sleep was in scarce supply for Mrs Brown. Throughout the nights she was either restlessly stirring to check on baby Guillermo’s grizzling and persuading him to fall back asleep or listening to sounds outside of the window screen as indicators to her husband’s return.
Guillermo’s father Benito often stayed out all night, sleeping on the street after too much tequila rendered him unable to fulfill the final few footsteps home. Sometimes he wouldn’t even make it out of the bar before falling into a deep deathlike slumber. Very often he was found slumped on the steps of the church, a sinner seeking sanctuary or salvation, or both.

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