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Lord of Childhood

We are all enchanted. But we have to pay for it.

You know that part of town where the miners once lived? Sooty frame houses, porches whose floorboards spring up? Rusty screen doors that close with a thrum, then a series of clicks, then a squeak?

Illustration by Melody Newcomb

High Pursuit

Blood pulls up in a near-new new Caddy, heaven white, with flesh-colored guts and the white walls on his tires thick as rulers side by side.

Illustration by Corey Brickley

Dixon

A star-smeared night, the usual briny and humid haze of the brush country in August, and Dixon was hauling twenty cases of stolen toys up from the Rio Grande valley. If the border patrol at the Sarita checkpoint asked, he’d claim a delivery mix-up.

Illustration by Anna Schuleit Haber

Holding

This is how it is with my mind, heading out over the ocean, tipping one way so I see only water, shades of blue and green and cloud-shadow slate; tipping the other, all sky and complication of cloud. Ruckus of glinting refracted light. Some days, just empty gray, in both directions.

The Cocaine Coast

January 28, 2010

South American cocaine is ferried to Europe through West Africa. Along the way, FARC, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda all get a cut.

Police tape, marked DANGEROUS, cordons off a murder scene in Juárez, Mexico.

Call of the Narcocorrido

In the PM newsroom, two men listen to the strains of a narcocorrido drifting from a police scanner. The vague shrill discord of accordions and a brass band echoes in the glass office until a burst of distortion shatters the ill-begotten melody and imposes a staticky silence. They know in the expanding quiet that someone will die tonight.

Game Over

“I’m just a piece of trash from the gutter,” Jesse told me with pride. “I was born to be what I am. I come from a family of hustlers. Most people at family reunions. They talk about their kids and who got married and shit. At my family reunions, everyone talks about how much paper they made on their last hustle, and how bad they fucked somebody up.”

Are We Losing the War on Drugs?

Thousands of deaths in Mexico are chiefly the result of traffic in high-potency pot smuggled across the border with ruthless resolve. But when marijuana legalization came up as one of the most requested questions during a presidential town hall meeting early in Obama’s presidency, he laughed it off.

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