Martinez

By Gloria Cruz

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His name was Jesus, though the Navy changed it to Jose, not that anyone called him that. Most people called him Martinez.  You might ask what a Mexican kid from the desert southwest had in common with me, a WOP from Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve wondered the same thing myself.

We were in the US Navy stationed in the Pacific Ocean during the last year of World War II. A group of seriously mean guys had taken a dislike to me.  I never figured out why they hated me. Maybe they knew something I didn’t know about myself. At least, I didn’t realize it then.

One night I finished the last watch and headed to the showers.  Scully cornered me in the locker room. Four hulks stood behind him.

“Outta my way, Scully.”  

“Can’t let you do that, Ponzi.”  Scully landed a blow to my gut and I doubled over in

pain.

Chuy pushed his way into the room.

“Get outta here, Martinez.  This ain’t your fight,” yelled Scully.

“You call this a fight?  Five to one is more like murder.”

“It’s none of your business.”

“Right!  Except that some things just piss me off.”

“You’re going to defend this wimp?”

“Better than an arrogant asshole.”

Scully let fly with a right hook toward Chuy’s face.  Chuy blocked the punch and landed an uppercut to Scully’s jaw.  He fell in a heap, out cold. His friends gazed at him and then shuffled out of the room.

About Gloria Cruz

Gloria is an unpublished author currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her stories reflect issues of growing up Hispanic in the desert Southwest. 

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