The Trash Construct

An essay by Miguel Hojuelas, as provided by Juan Angel
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye

It smelled like wet cardboard the day Mr. Lorenzo took up in flight. The pitter-patter of rain on the aluminum roofs had ceased and, in its place, steam rose from the muddy slopes, the smear of smog vanishing from the sky as the wisps of heat rose towards it. Old Man Lorenzo swooped between our kites, his guttural laugh resonating out over the gleaming roofs and dirt paths below.

Paula’s arm went limp, her kite nylon veering down with it. “I’ll be damned.” She gaped.

Between the blue and green construction papers, their confetti tails fluttering in the air, flew Mr. Lorenzo. That was when I was fourteen years old, and before I got my glasses. I didn’t see the figures dangling below him, but Laura swore it was true. They said his wife and kid wriggled a few feet below him, their hands and feet hog tied as he pedaled his make-shift wooden helicopter into the afternoon sky.

Now, even after all these years, the people around here still talk about him. They curse him for taking his family with him, the promising young boy and the loving mother. But nobody shows promise here, in this shanty-town of decaying wood and aluminum panels. We are born here, on dirty mattresses or kiosk kitchens, and we die here, in more or less the same place as we started. To say that Old Man Lorenzo took promise away from us– that is saying too much. He left us full of hope: hope to get out like he did, hope that the boy would grow up to indeed live a promising life, or perhaps the simple hope that comes with watching something born in this place flap its wings past the sewage and into the setting sun.

The Trash Construct

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2013 collection.

Miguel is a commercial airline pilot. He has seen a lot, more than you could possibly imagine, even for a pilot, and is ready to tell you all about it.

Juan Angel lives in London, England. He spends his time writing, reading, and poring over other phantasmagorical things.

Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at

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