The name started as a bad joke on one of them afternoon variety TV programs. One of them afternoon variety TV programs seen by the unemployed, the lazy maids, the idle housewives. Daytime TV. We were still refusing to believe it, even though we had been seeing a lot of strange, little white children begging at stop lights and street corners, and droves of blonde, blue-eyed women dressed in rags had suddenly infiltrated the market selling the wares usually sold by the pití women, these being cheap shampoos and conditioners, scrunchies, hair straightener creams, noodles, spaghetti, underwear, and the rest. We were so unprepared to believe in the miracle that we thought we had been invaded by a throng of Eastern European refugees, and when the hell had that happen? Our governments were always coming up with odd deals and stupid shit, so it was entirely within the realm of the possible that the country had been entrusted with a boatload of prisoners of war, exiles, lepers, undesirables from some exotic country in the Ural Mountains. Whatever the case, our confusion didn’t last more than a day. What had happened was just too overwhelming, too undeniable. It surrounded us, it was right there under our noses, there was no getting around the fact that we faced an event lying beyond the scope of the usual explanations.
It started as a rumor at first. Don’t understand something? Make a joke about it. So that’s what we did.
Then it started to dawn on us who all these people were.
The construction workers, the young mothers with babies of the stop lights, Jesus Christ the guys cutting Cane.
“Well, you know the problem with Haiti?”
“No, no, no—that has been clarified.”
You know? As in, it is no longer a confusing subject. Shit has been sorted out. Remember that misunderstanding? It’s been clarified.