Lazaro stumbled to his feet and started walking, holding the four dollar bills crumpled in his fist. He walked a few steps then caught a glimpse of himself in a store window – and stopped cold. He had a cut on his forehead he hadn’t noticed in his drunken stupor. He had wiped the blood all over his face, mixing it with street dust, turning his face black.
He was an alien, unrecognizable to himself. His eyes widened and the haze he’d been in fell away. “What am I doing?”, he thought. He stood there for what felt like years, staring at his broken and unfamiliar face, tears forming in his red eyes, falling, cutting ribbons in his mask.
Lazaro collapsed to the sidewalk in a heap. He sobbed uncontrollably: huge wracking convulsions of grief, guilt and self-hate. He was trapped between the man he wanted to be and his demons. The demons had won half his paycheck. Would they win the other?