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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Taste (07/15/10)

TITLE: Our Smog
By dub W


I had always believed that insertion was the act of putting an inanimate object into another inanimate object. When we jumped near Citiala, insertion became more personal. We were forward scouts, lookouts, and gringos for the feast of a million curious eyes. The job was simple – just break the stranglehold of a gang terrorizing the population. Influence an unwilling population. And win over the hearts and souls of the people, or some nonsense like that. We had official titles – coffee buyers.

Although we were trained to parachute jump into jungle areas, on this trip we were lucky enough to find a small dirt field. No airport crew came out to meet us as we landed. We unstrapped our gear and faced the oppressing sticky heat. The taste of the air could only be described as a Brooklyn auto shop in mid July – a mix of unknown exhaust, dust, sweat, and a strange acidic flavor of the air. It was not hard to image that our arrival was preceded by the departure of a pure cocaine shipment – the other crop of the area.

Two jeeps finally appeared out of the jungle and roared to where we were packing our equipment. Our supplies landed in a third parachute. One man, carrying an automatic weapon stood in the second jeep and seemed to scan the nearby brush. Two other men quickly got out of the vehicles and tossed our supplies in the back of the first jeep. We, as passengers, were simply part of the baggage.

We didn’t present passports or papers, but got in the back of the jeep with the man holding a weapon. Seconds later we were tearing through the underbrush on what seemed to be an overgrown road. Finally, our two-vehicle caravan arrived in a small village; I guessed there were about a hundred shacks and half a dozen concrete block structures. Our jeep stopped in front of the first shack and we got out.

My companion and I unloaded our gear and supplies, and walked through the door of the low clapboard building. As my eyes adjusted to the different light I saw a few chairs and an old wooden desk. A fat man in a dirty sleeveless t-shirt looked up when we entered.

“Give me your passports and visas.” He had a distinctive British accent. “I’ll stamp these so you can get back in the U.S., where, if you are smart, you should be heading in the next few minutes.

We handed him our documents. “What’s that smell and taste in the air?” My companion sniffed the air.

The man rocked back in his chair and laughed. “You’ve never smelled cocaine cooking have you? Get used to it, that’s our smog.”

I put my papers back in my backpack. “So, is there a priest or a church in this area?”

The man looked directly into my eyes. “We had a priest, he asked too many questions, now there is no priest. Take the hint.”

I decided to change the topic. “Uh, we need to bunk somewhere, I was told there was a hotel.”

The man laughed again. “Oh, you coffee buyers,” he sneered, “are going to do well here.” I didn’t care for his snide tone. “Go about a hundred meters down this same road. Senora Malina has rooms you can stay in. Easy to find, it’s the biggest structure in town. It is the only restaurant, the meeting hall, the courthouse, the hospital - same building.” He added, “it used to be the church.” He turned and spoke in a dialect to an older man squatting in a corner of the room; then turned to us. “Juan will be your guide, he speaks about as much English as a rat, but he is very perceptive.”

Juan motioned for us to follow him and minutes later we were standing in the pseudo lobby of Senora Malina’s. An older woman cautiously watched us enter. Juan spoke to her in his dialect. She only stared at us; then she pointed down a short hallway, “ habitación dos.”

We stepped inside the lockless room; two cots and a long table were the only accoutrements. I dumped my backpack out on one of the cots. A hundred small red Spanish language New Testament mini-bibles spilled onto the green blanket. “I can taste the opportunity here.”

My companion licked his finger. “Un huh.”

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This article has been read 537 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/22/10
My heart felt tight with the danger lurking throughout the entire story. I was surprised at the last line. It was an enjoyable read, and after giving me a small taste, I found myself hungering for more.
Edy T Johnson 07/22/10
Oooh! You're good. Great set-up caught my attention and descriptions woven into the character's movement through the story gave me a you-are-there apprehension. I enjoyed the read and the surprise ending.
Linda Germain 07/23/10
Loved it! Perfect ending. If I were a writing teacher, I'd give it an A+. :0)
stanley Bednarz07/24/10
Well thought out plot. Great structure. Interesting story!
AnneRene' Capp07/26/10
Didn't see that ending coming which added an inward pleasure to an intriguing, informative, and outstandingly descriptive story.
Joan Campbell07/26/10
You did extremely well at creating setting with this story - I saw it, felt it, even tasted it! Also, the sense of danger was very real. I thoroughly enjoyed the last line too - didn't see that end coming at all. Excellent writing! By the way, I didn't spot your spelling mistake even after you pointed out that there was one :-)
Lollie Hofer07/26/10
Ahhh...do I smell a sequel? Great story-telling plus mystery, intrigue...this story has it all.
Christina Banks 07/26/10
So what happens next? Great story!
Carol Penhorwood 07/27/10
Suspenseful and engaging!
Tina Leonard07/27/10
This was a great story, and you bring to the light the true danger that comes with those led to share the Gospel in places it is not welcome. Such a shame that those of us who have the ability to share it so freely keep it locked up so much.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/28/10
This is a superb short story--would make a wonderful chapter in a novel or one of similarly themed short stories in a collection.
Caitlyn Meissner07/28/10
I think I knew from the beginning what the ending would be, but only because I've read so much about Voice of the Martyrs' mission in Colombia. I enjoyed your story very much, and am glad I got a chance to read it.
Shirley McClay 07/28/10
Intense with a great twist! I want to know what happens next!
Beth LaBuff 07/28/10
I didn't expect the ending… but loved it! Your setting is tangible!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/30/10
Congratulations for placing in the top 15 of your level.