Jessica, who was sitting on a chair in the last row, in a little corner of the tent, exclaimed, “I’m not a drunk, I’m not an alcoholic. I drink when I want and when I don’t, I don’t.”
Three chairs away from where she was, Carlos replied, “Don’t be a liar. Every time you wake up, the first thing you look for is a drink instead of going for a shower.”
Jessica: “Shut up Carlos! When you get drunk, instead of going with your wife, you stay in bed with Jamie. That’s how the two of you wake up, drunk and entangled.”
But in the middle of the tent was Alex, who stood up and said, “Your Majesty, Honorable John, we are very grateful for the meeting you organized for us. We are very grateful for the invitation, the explanation you gave us on the Ukraine issue and also very grateful for the tamales and the horchatas that you have offered us after the meeting, but I think it is unfair that you have taken advantage of this moment to criticize the way we socialize. We as poor people who have nowhere to go, whatever we do, the world knows it, everyone realizes it. But what about those great tycoons, the people of the elite class, those who have their big mansions and hold their parties in private, where they have everything, even flour and stones, where they have a sexual debauchery. For them, nobody is supposed to know, but the next day someone has to clean those mansions, and obviously whatever happens goes outside, and they pass it from mouth to mouth, and it comes to us. We know because it eventually reaches us. However, nobody tells them anything, because they are the privileged ones. This is not something that happens only here. Everywhere, anywhere in the world, there are these kinds of activities. I remind you of what happened in England with the former prime minister, Boris Johnson, who held a private party at his house and a big scandal was made about it because of their behavior, and there are many others like them. The problem, with us, humble people, poor people, is that we have nowhere to go and nothing to do. I graduated from sixth form, where I studied business administration. I could never get a job. I tried, I got desperate and finally I got into alcohol. It’s not something I like, but I got caught up.
Now to get out of this, where do I go if I don’t have a place to live? How do I do it, if I don’t have anything to eat? I have to be begging on the street, a dollar here, a dollar there, and obviously alcoholism has me trapped. That’s why I say that I don’t think that’s fair. I think maybe you could help us in some way, I don’t know how, so that we can get out of this situation. Not all of us are violent, not all of us come home to fight, some yes, others no, but for those who do that, there is the law. But those of us, both women and men, seek a place to rest in hiding where no one can see us. Thank you.”
Alex finally took his seat after expressing himself. John was perplexed, surprised by the way he had answered. He was one of the drunks on whose face the drunkenness from the night before was still visible. In response, John said to all of them, “I apologize if I have offended any of you; that was not my intention. My intention was to know how I could help you. But I see that it is a little late already. It is already past 10:00 in the morning, and we had agreed that the meeting would be until 10:00. So I invite everyone to enjoy the tamales and horchatas.”
They all got up, and like reasonable people, stood in line, one after the other, while John’s driver began to serve them their tamales and horchatas. When everyone had gotten theirs, John said to Matthew, “Matthew, how about we eat some tamales and horchatas?” Matthew replied, “Sounds like a good idea to me.”
They walked over to the table, grabbed their stuff, and sat against the side wall. While they were eating their tamales, Matthew asked him, “John, what are you going to do?”
John: “I really don’t know. I don’t know how to do it, but I want to help these people.”
Matthew: “It seems that these people have a lot of problems. They are very sore. Society, our system, has made them the scum of society.”
John: “Yes. I think there is one of the boys who seems more reasonable to me. I’m going to talk to him.”
He meant Tom. John called Tom, who approached immediately.
Tom: “Tell me, Honorable John, what can I do for you?”
John: “Look, Tom, you are more aware, closer to these people, and I want to help them. I would like you to ask them what they want. In the next meeting we have, on Sunday, they can explain to me.”
Tom: “Sounds good to me, Sir. I’m going to do so. Let’s see what they tell me and how you can help them.”
They said goodbye, as did John and Matthew. Everyone went their own way. John’s driver stayed to pick up the tent, the chairs, pick up the garbage and retire to his home.
July 17, 2022