Rinconcito is a special little corner in Somos en escrito for short writings: a single poem, a short story, a memoir, flash fiction, and the like.
El Bronx, Bogotá D.C. By Laurisa Sastoque
May 28, 2016. 5:20 A.M. 2500 members of the public forces entered the area. What they found: 130 underage sexual workers, 508 homeless people, 56 slot machines, 1000 “bazuco” doses, 1 kidnapped victim behind a false wall.
Two alleys in between a police command, a military garrison and a church, L-shaped: to the right, there was a clandestine market of stolen objects, to the left, taquilleros that trafficked one dose of bazuco for 2000 pesos-- queues of dried mouths and fidgeting thumbs. They sold
20 doses per minute, 8 taquillas sold 460 million pesos’ worth. They would command the homeless to smuggle sacks of 2000-peso bills out on their mules. Every day was shaped by weed rolls and bazuco bags. They trafficked cocaine residues cooked in red gasoline, stolen
bone and brick dust. Lives were stolen: “The vicio does not spare anyone,” they sold the promise of a lawless paradise, trafficked the cheapest drugs. Influence would command even the wide-eyed rich to trade their steel-shaped watches for a night in an olla—4000 pesos
for a consumption safehouse—a few pesos for a prostitute. “El bazuco had stolen the glow in her eyes and her crystal-shaped shoes when I fell for her. She was sold to a taquillero three weeks after her first command-- she lost her teeth but never her beauty. They trafficked
her body.” Through tunnels, they trafficked victims underground--sapos who were worth in pesos less than the bullets they shot. Taquilleros’ commands for imprisonment in “torture houses” had stolen their limbs and their poisoned blood. They sold their remains to be cremated and confined to pill-shaped
bazuco powder. Sometimes the devils in L-shaped Bronx would hide the vice they trafficked-- the souls they lured—the death they sold-- for annual inspections. But with a few pesos, they bribed their way into the streets they had stolen to confuse the press and evade the police commands.
In 2016 public defense authorities dismantled the area. They hope to build a Cultural District for the city’s people by 2023, on top of blood-stained demolished walls.
Glossary: bazuco, illegal narcotic substance made from cocaine residue. taquilleros, operators of points of drug sale within el bronx known as “taquillas.” vicio, refers to the addiction caused by bazuco. sapos, translates literally to “frog,” figuratively to “snitch.”
Laurisa Sastoque, born in Bogotá, Colombia, is a creative writing student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she lives. Due to the Covid-19 situation, she is living in Colombia. “El Bronx, Bogotá D.C” is based on an area in Bogotá, Colombia known as El Bronx.