A story of the cruel third world, from top government, down to individual brokenness
|"I recall this politician, on a national campaign here in the nineties. Mom and I were with that guy on one of his rallies, when this crippled street kid approached him and started aggressively asking for something. There was a ruckus, and the politician's security guys pulled the kid away. As the kid was removed from the place, the politician said to his aide, ‘That urchin's lucky he's handicapped, else I'd have both his legs broken.'
"Later on, I left the rally and smoked by the sidewalk. I noticed the crippled boy with a group of street kids. I fished out some coins for them, and asked the kid why he was handicapped. He told me his mother broke his leg, so he'd be more effective at begging."
"I wanted to talk to him further, but the stoplights turned red, and one kid shouted, ‘Let's go!' They suddenly ran to the stopped cars, skipping and laughing like they were off to the carnival. The crippled boy picked up his crutches, hooked his withered leg to a prop, and ambled his way to the others."
"I was watching them tap on the windows of posh sedans, begging for money from indifferent faces, when Timo went up to me and said I should return to the rally."
Archie was silent for many moments.
"You know what I did for those kids, Anna?"
"You helped them."
"You think I'd help them. And then I'd help their families, their friends, their friends' families, the whole damn community." He sighed and shook his head. "No. I just went back to the rally, the colorful banners, that nameless crowd, and all those heartfelt words and drama pouring off that politician's stage. ‘Help them'-and I'll be the fucking promise of the Third World."
An excerpt from ORANGE, the novel
by Joey Silayan