ch 4–six-armed cross at la garita–excerpt:
When the tires of Carlos’ delivery truck crunched to a stop near the six armed cross at La Garita, the dark haired altar boy stood where the headlights pinched between three-foot high plowed snow and the dark walls of fence line.
That is what Carlos expected. He sat and stared up into the hills to the distant peaks of the Sangre De Cristo Mountain line where the Utes and Comanche had a lookout hundreds of years before, according to his father. It was so cold and the only view was the church and the six armed cross, the two additional horizontal arms giving a complete cross no matter the side of the church. One arm extending toward the hazy hills and mountain passes beyond Saguache, another pointing across to the churches snow covered picket fence to the cemetery and the mountains.
He waited and let the flooded carburetor rest and then tried again and again. Nothing. Eventually he opened the door and stepped out onto the packed snow. He exited the cab and began to open the hood before lowering it to seek help from the boy. Just a little moco, the old man sighed to himself. The boy set his lantern onto the cleared entranceway of the church, and between the upturned collar to his flannel shirt and his denim work pants the boy and the old man were unlikely mirror images. The boy’s eyes were enormous and youthful. The old man could only stare and almost smiled as the boy foolishly held the lantern high and tripped over uneven ice and snow underneath his dirtied cowboy boots.
The boy swallowed and wiped at his newly wet and slick top of his head and then at his nose. “The men left me,” the boy insisted.
John Paul Jaramillo was born and raised in Southern Colorado. His stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the Acentos Review, Palabra, A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art and Duende—most recently in Somos en Escrito. In 2013 his collection The House of Order was named an International Latino Book Award Finalist and the novel in stories Little Mocos is forthcoming from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read.