After graduate school in the US, I did a stint in a Mexican charity working in a border town. The United States dumps illegal aliens in these towns and they are left to fend for themselves alone. I lived with the sisters, in a spare but hospitable dormitory with running water and open, airy rooms.
The nuns were of a different order than those from orphanage had been; these were educated and gentle women, at ease with lawmakers and criminals alike. We helped displaced immigrants get their bearings, print out their identification credentials. They arrive with nothing, no shoes, no money, no identification. They were easily preyed upon and the city was dangerous and covertly sleek. My work was a lot of chaos and paperwork, but it was good work and consuming and I was happy.
I’d been there for only a few months when a man cornered me and pulled me into a van. I am anglo, and a prime target for low-budget kidnapping. $1,000 and I’d be back on the street. but I didn’t want to give them $1,000, and I had no family to name, let alone wire money to me– just the nuns and a man I’d left in the night. So as he pushed me into the van, I pulled a pistol I’d taken from one of the charity’s passers through, and shot him in the chest.
I did not stop to gather my things, I had my wallet on me and I hitch hiked to the border and across it. I called the mother superior, but she’d heard it all before. She was a weathered woman and did not ask any questions. She told me she would ship my belongings anywhere I needed them to go, but I wasn’t sure where that was. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t worried, just looking for the next thing to catch my eye, and take me far far away from a pistol in the dirt and a van with no windows.