Estelle was huffing and puffing. Not that she'd exerted herself in any way;
she remained reclining on the sofa in the bedroom wing, where she'd been since
she got out of bed. Nor did the causation of
her breathlessness lie in some physical ailment. Her face was florid and she
gasped for air, nonetheless. 'Twas anger; no, pure unfettered rage, that caused
Estelle's symptoms. She dialed the phone furiously (as furiously as one can dial
"Oy veh ist mir in mein kopf! Shirl, you'll never believe what's
going on around here. Those crazy cucarachas have done it now!
All called in sick. I told Inez I'd be alone in the house and she just
"No, they didn't!" Shirley replied. "Inez, too? All
of them? Just like my Luisa — and Jorge. Jorge, Jorge, Jorge, who woulda
"I don't even know if I have any food in the house. I'm too verklempt
to make anything. You wanna meet at the Ess-A-Bagel on Second Avenue?
"Fech. Who wants to get dressed?" Shirley sounded despondent.
"But you have to eat something." Estelle didn't want to go
out either (she'd miss Martha Stewart on TV)
but she knew she had no choice.
"Okay. I'll see you in a half an hour." Shirley hung up the phone.
Estelle got up, took off her housedress and went about the business of
getting ready to go outside. As she did so, she mumbled mild swear words and
vague curses under
"They told me their delivery guys all called in sick today."
"Get Danny from the mail room to go, then, dammit!" Arlene's voice
became higher (and more severe) at the end of her sentence. Not unlike Arlene's
severe, upswept hairdo
or the severe, upswept edges of her cat-eye
Sandy sat back down and dialed. She and supervising administrator Arlene, waited for what
seemed like forever. Sandy finally hung up.
"Nobody's answering. I'll go."
"Try Danny again; I'd hate to put you out ..." Arlene's voice faded away (she
felt guilt; she wasn't a sociopath after all).
"I'll go downstairs and see if Danny's there. If not, I'll go. Attorney
McCullough will be cross if they don't get the deli platter by one o'clock."
Arlene did her best to act grateful. "You're always so thoughtful, Sandy."
(Forced "sincere" look. Through cat-eye glasses.)
Sandy couldn't find Danny. The mail room was empty. So she went back upstairs, put on a sweater, and
went down to the New York Deli-Rama on the corner. A handwritten sign taped to the
front door announced, "NO DELIVERY TODAY SORRY."
Inside the New York Deli-Rama on Third Avenue all hell was breaking loose.
Instead of the eight people who usually manned the counter, there were four.
Customers waited on a line that snaked its way nearly all around the small
As the man behind the counter finally handed Sandy the deli platter for
Attorney McCullough's conference room, he apologized that she'd had to come get
it, and said something about the "demonstrators screwing everything up...
and that'll be seventy-eight fifty-five, please."
Sandy made sure to get the receipt. She awkwardly balanced the large bag of
sodas, condiments and napkins on top of the rather large, yet flimsy tray
containing the sandwiches. It was a daunting task, this. It became more daunting
when she had to stop in the lobby of her building and sign back in.
Theresa reached for the rinse sprayer yet again. She'd loaded what seemed
like her hundredth rack of dishes that morning. The gushing hot water caromed
off of a cereal bowl just right and pretty much saturated her from head to toe.
Her scream began as a growl, and then escalated to a wail.
"Tony I can't fuckin' take this any more!
What the fuck!" She let the sprayer go from her
hand. The rubber part of the spray-head bounced off the wall and on its way back hit Theresa in
the shoulder rather sharply, agitating her more.
Tony wanted to tell Theresa that he'd fire the jerks who called in sick
today. But if he did fire them, he'd just be inviting trouble. Better the Devil you
know than the Devil you don't.
"Lemme just catch up here and I'll do the rest of them dishes, hon." Tony
always tried to speak with a calming voice when Theresa threw a fit, but never
told her to calm down. No sense in making things worse by attempting in
any way to convince her that keeping a level head is the best thing to do in a
situation like this.
Just then Eileen swooped into the kitchen. She took one look at Theresa
and, biting her cheek to stifle a laugh, swooped out of the kitchen.
On Broadway, just south of Union Square Park, Inez, Luisa, Jorge, Danny,
the delivery staff from the New York Deli-Rama, and the entire kitchen staff of
Teri and Tony's Diner were among the thousands of others in the teeming crowd.
The sun shone down, warming the faces: white, black, brown, yellow.
At exactly 12:15, every one in the crowd linked arms with the persons next to
them, forming a human chain. The speeches continued over the crackly P.A.
Inez, Luisa, Jorge, Danny, the delivery staff from the New York Deli-Rama,
and the entire kitchen staff of Teri and Tony's diner had done more than call in
ON MAY 1, 2006 "A DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS" WAS CELEBRATED IN MAJOR
CITIES THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES. OVER A MILLION MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN
PARTICIPATED. THE ISSUE OF IMMIGRATION REFORM IS ONE THAT IS CONTROVERSIAL. BUT
REMEMBER, THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT DISCUSS MERE POLITICS, BUT DEALS WITH THE
STRUGGLES OF HUMAN BEINGS. HUMAN BEINGS WHO DO THINGS FOR US THAT WE DON'T WANT TO DO OURSELVES.
OF COURSE, ORGANIZED LABOR IS OPPOSED TO THE IDEA OF GIVING AMNESTY TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.
STRANGELY, SOME LEGAL ALIENS ALSO SPOKE OUT AGAINST AMNESTY, SAYING THAT IF THEY COULD
SURMOUNT THE BUREAUCRATIC HURDLES THAT LEAD TO CITIZENSHIP, SO CAN ANYONE ELSE. SUPPORTERS OF AMNESTY FOR
ILLEGAL ALIENS ASSERT THAT THE BENEFITS TO THE COUNTRY, ECONOMICALLY AND OTHERWISE, WOULD BE SIGNIFICANT.
THANKS TO BITRIOT WHO MENTIONED THAT ALTHOUGH MOST OF THE
CONTROVERSY FOCUSES ON MEXICANS AND OTHER LATINOS, THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF UNDOCUMENTED CHINESE, IRISH, AND PERSONS OF OTHER NATIONALITIES
CURRENTLY LIVING (AND WORKING) IN THE UNITED STATES. AMONG UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS,
THE LATINO VOICE IS STILL THE ONE MOST OFTEN HEARD.