Sunday, August 8, 2021

the last book I ever read (The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories, excerpt six)

from The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories by Mariana Enriquez (Translated by Megan McDowell):

When Vanadis used to turn near ConstituciĆ³n, she’d sometimes run into the kids from the prison. Not inmates: these were kids, boys and girls—and a few adults as well—who squatted in the ruins of the Caseros Prison. Those walls were supposed to have been demolished years ago, but there they remained, towering and dangerous, and no one seemed to care except the neighbors. Little by little it had filled up with addict kids, usually hooked on cocaine paste, but also on glue and alcohol. The kids had run off the poor families and homeless people who had settled in the ruins. No one else could live where the addict kids lived. There were fights, overdose deaths, dealers who murdered and were murdered, theft, an abysmal squalor. No one dared walk close by the prison, and the neighborhood around the ruins slowly died. The addict kids usually emerged from the prison at dusk and went out to panhandle nearby.

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