Johnny America


Mag­dale­na Vega


I’m strut­ting in front of the mir­ror in a blue pin-stripe blaz­er I just bought from the Dis­abled Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans thrift store, proud of my­self for find­ing such style for 95 cents. I start to slide my hands in­to the out­side pock­ets but find they’ve been stitched shut, by hand, in thick or­ange thread; I won­der why any­one would’ve done that.

I check the in­side pock­ets, right side first. There’s a re­ceipt from Copy Co. — the pre­vi­ous own­er spend $17 and change on copies and bind­ing. In the left pock­et I find a slip of pa­per with the laser-print­ed words “MAGDALENA VEGA.” I as­sume Mag­dale­na Ve­ga ei­ther in­spect­ed or sewed my jack­et; there’s no in­di­ca­tion which. Mag­dale­na Ve­ga — what a name! A girl with that name should be the dar­ling daugh­ter of a South Amer­i­can pa­tron, the ob­ject of every neigh­bor’s af­fec­tions; or an ag­ing but ever-ra­di­ant film star. Syl­la­bles evoke im­ages and it feels in­cor­rect for such a per­fect name to be con­nect­ed to the vi­sion of a sweat shop. I like to think Mag­dale­na Ve­ga will es­cape her life of nee­dles and machines.

Filed under Non-Fiction on October 7th, 2003

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