A boy of Hispanic descent survives childhood abuse at the hands of his step-father and 6th grade teacher triggering a three-decade long search for meaning in an ever-changing, hostile universe. The story takes place in Italy, Ohio, Texas and finally to a small, rural town east of San Francisco during the summer of love. He confronts racism and generational conflict as he grows from adolescence to manhood. In his chosen field of law enforcement, he experiences hypocrisy, treachery, betrayal, murder, and ignorance as he witnesses the treatment of illegal aliens. He questions truth and reality in his quest for enlightenment in a world of victims and suspects. Interesting, colorful characters and episodic adventures pave the way for meaning fueled by an anonymous murder, bringing to life insignificant members of society, welfare and the politics of courage, cowardice, confusion and contradiction. The Blue Mexican is a poignant and humorous glimpse into one man's soul and small town America during a turbulent, yet influential period in history. “…a refreshing, original vantage point…” The Stockton (CA) Record, February, 2010.
Sergio knew I was just a pothead, or at least that was my persona in this undercover role. What did they expect me to do? ‘Hey, Sergio. Can I buy some heroin this time?’ ‘Why sure, good buddy. How much you want?’ he would reply. I was just going to buy the grass and that was it. I wondered where Pablo was hiding and thought about what would happen to me. I didn’t want to get locked into this “police undercover role” like he did and end up running away. Where would I go anyway? Sergio answered the door, smiled like he always does and let me in. He was more friendly than usual. Sales must have been good. “Where’s Pablo, eh?” “I don’t know. Haven’t seen him for awhile.” “Wanna beer?” he offered. “No thanks. I’m in a hurry.” “Sit down. Stay awhile,” he said. I didn’t know what to say without Pablo there. I sat at the kitchen table next to his couch, for there wasn’t much separation from the kitchen and living room in these welfare projects. I looked over to his dresser, his stash, when a sense of dread came over me. Did he know how close he was to getting busted and sent to prison for years? What would he think of me, the one who betrayed him? I tried to get these thoughts out of my mind, for my dread was from the gun I saw on top of his dresser. I became weak and light-headed. Did he leave the gun there for me to see on purpose? Did he know about me? I became nervous and scared. I wasn’t wired. I’m a dead duck. What if Pablo snitched me off and that was the reason he split! My thoughts were shattered as I instinctively jumped when I heard some loud banging on Sergio’s door. Somebody was knocking on his door unusually loud. Feeling like I’d been burned, I hoped it was Sgt. Wolfe and the narcotics guy coming to rescue me. I looked towards the rear of Sergio’s kitchen for the back door in case I needed to bust out of there, and fast. My weakness turned into an adrenalin rush preparing me for some quick movement. Sergio answered the door. Sgt. Wolfe? I looked towards the dresser and the gun was gone. Two guys, a Black and a Mexican, were yelling and laughing, obviously drunk. The loud knocking must have unnerved Sergio, too, as he grabbed the gun before answering the door. What if the guys were cops? Would Sergio have used it? My sense of dread heightened. The Mexican guy. I knew him! I had seen him somewhere in Tracy. If I recognized him, he may have recognized me and knew where I worked. I found myself staring at him, trying to place where I’d seen him, but soon realized my staring might cause him to stare back and he’d recognize me. I was this close to busting out that back door, but then thought I might get shot in the back. Fear gives way to fearful thoughts. “Ora le! Give me some chiva, es eh! The Mexican yelled at Sergio. “Shut up, eh?” I got kids.” Gilbert shot back. “You got the money, June Bug?” They were pretty wasted, which was fortunate for me because they didn’t pay me much attention. My heart was racing as fast as Eric Clapton’s guitar riffs. Sergio pulled something from an upper drawer; heroin, I presumed. On their way out, the Mexican cast me a glance and then looked at me again. He knows me, I thought! I’m dead. The Black guy was pushing him out the door, knocking his head against the screen. “He turned towards the black, “Hey, June Bug! Take it easy, eh?” They stumbled out and left. Sergio turned towards me and stared. I must have looked like a scared clown, an amateur exposed. He took the gun from his pocket and I felt like I was going to collapse on the floor, until he said, “What’s the matter, eh? Don’t worry, those are just some home boys,” as he put the gun back on his dresser. He then opened the bottom drawer, the one with the knobs. “Two baggies?” he asked. “Uh, yeah, two.” My hand was trembling as I reached in my pocket to retrieve the twenty. I hated this stuff. I hated this feeling. What was I doing? This meant nothing to me. What did I have to prove? I couldn’t act like nothing was wrong. I couldn’t act like something I wasn’t. Sergio kept looking at me as he gave me the baggies. I forked over the twenty and hurried out of there. Before I was able to get out, he grabbed me by the shoulder. “ “Relax, Homes. See you next time,” he smiled. Funny how he was giving me some reassurance when I was the one about to take him down. “Thanks, Sergio.” I couldn’t leave fast enough. Fortunately, the narcs had seen the two guys and got the license registration from the car they left in, the Mexican’s. That’s who it is! That’s where I had seen him! I told the sergeant he worked at the Mexican restaurant around the corner from the police department in Tracy. He knows where I work because I had been in there in my dispatch uniform during lunch breaks. Damn! I knew I knew him. The sergeant told me I was lucky he didn’t place me, probably because he was so wasted. He didn’t have to tell me! He said he’d work fast to obtain warrants and arrest Sergio before the guy remembered and told him where he’d seen me, if he even remembered. I was glad Sgt. Wolfe didn’t want to take any chances. I was scared of being dead.
Danny Thomas Ruiz spent twenty-five years in law enforcement and subsequently earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He teaches English at a high school, a junior college, and at the University of the Pacific. Married with four daughters, he lives in Stockton, California.