Not Far From Medellín – Tim Jamieson

The two brothers struck the dirt with pickaxes, tilling the earth on their family’s modest farm. The ground gave way and their tools made dull thuds on a wooden surface. They looked at each other and bent to brush away the soil and examine their findings. They lifted up the lid of a crate with considerable effort. Two pairs of eyes widened to saucers.

“Mama! Papa! Come quickly,” shouted Javier, the youngest son.

“Jesus Christ,” whispered Mateo, the eldest.

Something in the tone sent their parents rushing out of the little brick house they called home. Their father grasped at his fedora in the breeze, cursing under his breath.

“What is it? Are you hurt?” He said, as he stopped in front of his sons. His wife a few paces behind.


“Jesus Christ,” the old man said.

Their mother inhaled sharply and drew a hand to her mouth while clutching at the leathery arm of her husband with the other.

“Well, what should we do Papa?” said Javier.

His father, for once in his life was speechless.

“It’s obvious what we’ll do,” said Mateo, “we’ll keep it of course; it will change our lives.”

“No, we can’t. It’s drug money,” said their mother, speaking for the first time.

“There must be millions of dollars here Mama, why don’t we just take some. Think of what we could do with it,” said Javier.

“It could have been here for years for all we know, don’t worry Mama no one will miss it,” added Mateo.

Their father cleared his throat and said, “I’m the head of this family and this is what we shall do. We’ll split it. An equal share to every member, to do with it whatever he or she sees fit.”

“Are you sure?” said his wife.

“Yes, of course. If you want to leave your share in the hole then be my guest. But don’t complain to me when I’m feasting in a mansion and you’re stuck here slaving away. This is a gift. We’ll take it.”

With relief at the decision made, their conversation began to bubble over in excitement.

“I want to build a hospital in town,” said Javier.

“I’m glad we raised such a kind hearted son,” said his mother.

Mateo laughed and said, “I’m going to get out of this country. What has it ever done for me? I’m going to see the world.”

A cough from behind made them all jump with a start and they spun round to look.

“Well, what’s all this commotion then? Forgotten about old uncle Tomas again have we?”

“Uncle, we were just coming to find you,” said Javier.

“Yes brother, look at what my sons have discovered. It’s ours.”

Javier noticed the axe in his uncle’s hand swinging gently by his side and said, “Why do you need that Uncle? I cut enough wood for the fire yesterday.”

“Is that so?” he replied, taking a step closer in the dirt.


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