Jose could not believe what he had just done, but it felt right. More than that, it felt good. As far back as he could remember, he had wanted to vote, but he knew he risked being caught. When he could find honest work, willing to overlook his alien status, he took it. The rest of the time, he worked for growers up north selling their weed. It wasn’t his first choice, but when he didn’t have any others, he did what he had to and voting had never been an option. He’d never had options before.
His father had taught him how to survive. He never knew his mother and wondered what she would think of her grown son, marching off towards Sacramento to change the world. Jose was sure his father would be slapping him on the back, encouraging him every step. “This could be your only chance Mijo, don’t let it pass you up!”
When the drone they had been following led them to a parking lot full of waiting school buses, all equipped with bars on all the windows, Jose had second thoughts and turned to his friend, fear written all over his face.
“Matt?” A female voice sounded from behind. “Matt Johnson!”
Hearing his full name, Matt stopped and turned but didn’t recognize anyone. When a tall young blond woman with piercing blue eyes enveloped him, he looked back at Jose with a grin and hugged her back.
“Yeah, that’s me, Matt Johnson. Do I know you? I’m sure if I did I’d remember you.”
“It’s me! Same old Blubber-butt, oblivious to the world around him.”
“April? No way! Wow, you’ve changed!”
“Back at you, Matt. Lost all your baby fat. How’s your sister?”
Stepping up, mesmerized by the young woman in front of him, Jose elbowed Matt in the ribs.
“Ouch – dude! She’s cool, married with her first kid on the way. This is my friend Jose.”
“Hi, Jose, I’m April. Matt and I go way back.”.
“Hi, April you’re marching to Sacramento too?”
“Yup, I promised to save a seat so let’s get on board and we can catch up.”
The drone they had been following was gone. Jose looked at the bars on the bus and then back at Matt. Turning and watching April climb in, he gave Matt a shrug, and climbed in after her.
“Dude, I’ve got to tell you—,” Matt said, missing Jose’s arm as he climbed in next.
“Hurry up you two – I’ve saved you the seat in front.”
Matt sat down in the seat in front of April. “Thanks, so where’s your friend?”
“She’ll be along. What do you think about all this?”
“I was excited at first, then I saw the bars on the bus.”
“Sorry, I don’t follow,” April replied.
Shields up, Jose squared his shoulders. “I’m illegal and don’t have papers. This bus reminds me of stories my father used to tell of immigration.”
“I’m more of the alien body snatcher persuasion, myself. Either way, it looks pretty damn strange,” Matt added, looking out past the bars.
Thanks for reading!