Excerpts From The Novel Francisca and the Boys

.............The place was clearly a remnant of the prohibition era, the days of gangsters and "moonshine". There was an unbelievable amount of equipment in the basement that had been used in the making of moonshine. There were copper vats and coils that had been undisturbed for years. Dust and cobwebs clung to these artifacts that were so neatly stacked in a far corner of the room.
   The basement was dark and damp, a single light bulb hanging from the low ceiling dimly lighting the center area of the floor. The far wall was very dark and hardly visible. The light from the small bulb fell short of the wall by five to six feet, giving the wall an eerie and ominous appearance as it loomed into view.
   On this far wall a boarded and nailed door was in surprisingly good condition. Next to it, about a foot to the left, a window was firmly entrenched within a frame of wood on bricks. The cracked glass on the window was black from years of accumulated dirt but seemed to be holding up well. An iron frame with vertical bars was bolted and cemented into the brick surrounding the window's rotting frame.
   By close observation one could see through the dirt covered glass and make out the supports of a stairway leading up to the sidewalk where the old entrance was now covered by iron grating. Here was absolute evidence to a once existing, and very busy entrance to this once thriving "speakeasy". Even the peephole at eye level was still in place on the door.............

...............As the couple approached the doorway, Francisca stepped out of the dark holding a square object wrapped in cloth in her right hand. She swung the object planting it squarely on the woman's forehead with great force. The woman went down so hard that, upon landing on the sidewalk, the back of her head hit and bounced, thus adding to the punishment that had already been inflicted. Francisca then stooped over her victim and hit her twice more, once on each side of the head. As she raised the makeshift weapon one more time to administer the coup de grace, Chamaco stepped in and pulled her away from the fallen woman..............

..............Miguel cracked the washroom door slightly, enough to see all of the dance floor. Suddenly Francisca came into view, not more than a step or two from the door. Miguel kicked the door open and rushed out taking Francisca by the neck from behind. She screamed and swore at Miguel as she struggled, "Let me go, you son-of-a-bitch!" Miguel held tight.
   The musicians stopped playing and the dancing crowd moved away from the altercation.
   Miguel had an open switchblade knife in his right hand, while holding Francisca with his left arm. She dropped a tray filled with glasses and continued to scream as she attempted to break the hold on her neck. She pushed on his arm with both hands when she caught sight of the blade flashing before her eyes. She ducked her head digging her chin into Miguel's left arm. As he struck the blow, the blade caught Francisca just below the left ear, slicing down the cheek to the tip of her chin............


   The Great Depression of the late 1920's and early 1930's caused suffering to families in every station of life, but more so to the immigrant who had no particular knowledge of the way of life in the United States. Immigrant families of the various nationalities that entered  America for the first time suffered equally, for poverty did not pick its victim according to national origin. The head of each family approached the problem in his or her own particular method.
   Readers should be aware that this novel was not written to give acceptance or support to a way of life that is presented here, but merely that in reality, this WAS the way of life for a great many families of that era. There is no message or protest intended here, other than there were and are inconsistencies in life facing us all.
   This novel depicts the life of the Delmonte family headed by Chamaco Delmonte who, in his own way, managed to keep the family above the poverty level of the times. Circumstances eventually cause the family reins to be handed to his wife Francisca, giving her the task of bringing up their two sons, David and Nicolas, by herself.
   The Delmonte family happens to be of Mexican descent, as is this author, who therefore has used his own life experiences to set this story in place.
   Objectionable language will be found in much of the dialogue printed in the following pages but without it much of the realism in the story would be lost.
   No offense is intended here to anyone for any reason. To those who might be offended, I sincerely opologize.
  Alfred Arroyo