Everyone Here Works For The State Department


“Just an easy guess. Miami?”

“Oh nice. Love that city. South Side?”

“Yeah. We get lots of Americans, mostly New York, Miami. Florida, you know, it’s right there. You with State?”

“No, but everyone here works for the State department. Me, for one.”

“Well, the gringos I mean. No offense.”

“No, I kind of got lucky. Went to school in Miami. Learned English, came back here. Love it here. Why would I leave?”

“So what have you done here so far? And why here anyway? I mean, no offense, but you?”

“No, that’s cool. How far’d you get?”

“You get tired or you get scared?”

“Nah, I’m just messing with you. It’s fine, and you probably know when to turn around. But still, guy like you? You be careful.”

“I mean, most people like you stick to the beaches, you know. Why aren’t you out in Punta?”

“I feel ya. You have the plato yet?”

“DUDE! Okay, what you’re gonna do, skip these tourist spots around here—”

“Good, good. So find some little stall. I’m not even talking like a restaurant, but look for the little old ladies, some little abuelitas out there maybe just cooking in a park or on the sidewalk or something—”

“Yeah! Hell yeah. It’ll be like three bucks, and you’re gonna be as full as you’ve ever been. And it’s just, like, chicken and rice and beans. But man, I’m telling you: guy like you? You want the real DR? Find that. You’re gonna be real happy.”

“Shit, man, you can do that stuff anywhere. But you want the real stuff. That’s the real stuff.”

“No, it’s cool. I mean, we don’t get a lot of visitors here. Shit, your country? Now? A lot of us are like what the fuck, you know?”


“Well, you know, you see him, tell him we’re alright. I mean, I would myself, but I’m not sure he’s listening to us.”


“And most of us would be like, fuck Mexico, you know? Like, not to disrespect Mexico but what do they have to do with us? We’re not them. But to you—like not you you, but a lot of your people—we are, you know? I mean, Chicago—you’re not Texas. You’re Chicago. Shit, that doesn’t make a lot of sense but you know what I mean. You’re not Canada, maybe that’s more what I meant.”

“Shit, I didn’t even mean it like that, but you’re right. Hey good to meet you by the way. What’s your name, man?”

Santo Domingo
January, 2017

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