Rated R for language and violence.
Logic and Magic in the Time of the Boat Lift
by Cat Rambo and Ben Burgis
They said the Marielitas were escoria – scum. The abuelitas muttered it to each other, and the young girls coming home from school clustered together like butterflies, looking thrilled and worried whenever the wind whistled at them. The newspapers said Miami was under siege, that Castro had loosed the worst from the Cuban prisons and madhouses.
The respectable Cubans already in Miami – the ones who weren’t driving the boats to bring over their cousins and brothers and grandparents who’d managed to flee to the port of Mariel – were quick to repudiate the incoming. Some of them put bumper stickers on their ten-year-old town cars: No me digas Marielito.
The crease-browed TV news anchors said the Marielitas “contained a disproportionate amount” of drug addicts and the criminally insane. They predicted crimes, rapes, murders. In the evenings, they showed us it was already starting: a kid kicked to death over a pair of sneakers, a bosomy young woman with her tongue cut out. The baby that…
Some things are too hard to dwell on.
But I wasn’t too worried about the Marielitas. Petty criminals, drug runners, the occasional voodoo priest.
What I was worried about wasn’t human.
About the Authors
Ben Burgis is a graduate of Clarion West, and he has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast program in Maine. He writes speculative fiction and realist fiction and grocery lists and Facebook status updates and academic papers. (He has a PhD from the University of Miami, and currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship at Yonsei University in South Korea.) His work has appeared in places like Podcastle and GigaNotoSaurus and Youngstown State University’s literary review Jenny. His story “Dark Coffee, Bright Light and the Paradoxes of Omnipotence” appeared in Prime Books’ anthology People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy.
Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches atop a hill in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is an Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee. Her 2018 works include Hearts of Tabat (novel, WordFire Press), Moving From Idea to Finished Draft (nonfiction, Plunkett Press) and the updated 3rd edition ofCreating an Online Presence for Writers (nonfiction, Plunkett Press). For more about her, as well as links to her fiction and her popular online school, The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, see her website kittywumpus.net
About the Narrator
M.K. Hobson recently decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off all social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such as Podcastle and Cast of Wonders. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting.