Hope is perpetuated by the same people who want to take all of your hard earned money and give it to…who? They gave your money to the banks. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” and now the money lies in high interest rate T-bill accounts while young couples look at houses they can’t afford, can’t buy because there are no mortgages to be found ever since the credit is all locked up in money-making investments. In Mexico, people are going without food, eating one paltry meal a day: white rice -they may as well eat toilet paper- and pinto beans, tasteless pinto beans because they haven’t the money for lard or salt. Parents send their children to sell chiclets in the filthy streets of tourist towns, but the tourists aren’t coming any more because the drug lords run the welcome wagon and the banks own the farm. Drug-trade king pins don’t give a fuck if you need to get out of your frigid Canadian winter to get some much needed Vitamin D. “Eat some fucking fish! you selfish pricks!” they scream, sealing the deal with their spit on the ground. Big gobs of putrified, snot-filled, tabacco-stained spittle marking the place where they stand in black cowboy boots. Their eyes hidden behind aviator sunglasses, hair slicked back with that greasy shit that everyone uses in this God-forsaken country. A country defined by God, yet for which God forsakes even the most innocent. The chiclet kids and the babies born every day to mothers unable to read or write, living in dirt-floored, cardboard shacks in flood zones. No one cares. And they know it. Where is your hope now? When you know in your heart that no one else gives a damn, why care about them? Why not just take what you need, what you want? Look at how fat they are, filled to their eyeballs with tortillas and carne asada. You can’t remember the last time you had a piece of meat, but these bastards, they are drunk with food, falling over from the weight of their extended, over-ripe bellies full of sweet sustenance. You have three mouths to feed back in that little tarpaper shack with the stinking fetid river of all your neighbors’ shit flowing by so close that you can smell if two shacks over José had coffee with his beans at breakfast or not. If there were just some work. Where did it all go? Where did all those filthy stinking rich gringos go. Things were fat when you arrived and now the work has all dried up. There are fifty or more guys all begging for three spots digging ditches for some super cheap American guy building his dream home. “100 pesos a day,” he says. And you’ll be lucky if you get that. He knows there are more where you came from. They’d give your right arm for the chance at a hard day’s labor. Slack off nursing a fever and you’re fired, show up late and your fired, and so on the story goes. We walk into the pantry and try to decide what to eat because there is so much there to choose from we can’t possibly make up our minds. Surf and turf, lobster and scallops and shrimp and ham with turkey on the side. Enough food to kill us. With a side of pork and a case of the finest red wine. Let them eat cake!