It smelled green outside. Parsley, alfalfa, lettuce, growing in the moonlight. Water dripped from leaves; morning dew. The sky was purple. Some stars shined. Particularly one to the west. Like it was leading him somewhere. Wanting him to come. Take him away from this land. The old man’s land. A farm that’d been in the family for generations. Changing a little through the years; watering, tractors, harvesting. It’d all improved over time. The Mexicans still picked by hand. Cleansed it.
It’d been years since the old man’s death. Some say he haunted the farm. Said you could see him out there in the rows of green at night time. Feel his presence in the barn. Said he still walked around the house in his bare feet. The old man did everything in his naked feet. He’d walk out into the feilds and let his toes sink down in the coolness of the dirt. Sprayed his feet ‘fore he came inside. Said he still did.
You’re born with a love of the land. The old man tried telling him that. Told him to take seeds and watch em grow was magic. And only a certain kind of people had that magic. People grew up in Indio and never left. They’d stay till they died. Bury them in the ground. Their bodies would turn to minerals. Feeding the land that fed them. This was ritual. This was true. Magic.
The boy was growing tired of the land. It was no longer magical. But, he had nothing to compare it to. He’d never been outside of Indigo. Maybe a couple of little towns north and south of Indigo when he was younger. But, no. Indio was all he knew. He’d die here too, he thought. Pass the farm onto his boys when he was gone. Come back and haunt it too. Just like the old man. However, unlike the old man, he’d live a miserable life.
Often he wished he could just drive off the land. Get out of Indio. But, it was too late for that. Shouldn’t have got that girl pregnant. Shouldn’t have married her. His life had become one of regrets. That smell of green made his stomach turn. He wanted to shoot the silver moon in the sky that shined down on em. Some nights he did. The old boy would get drunker than a skunk and go out into the fields with his rifle and fire towards the full moon.
Mexicans would find bullets on the property and wonder if he was shooting at coyotes. Took em years to realize that he was just crazy. But, that’s what Indio did to ya. Made men crazy.
In his will the boy said he did not want to return to the land. Asked if they could drop his body in the ocean. He’d never seen the ocean. He always wanted to.
They honored his wishes. He left Indio.