Big Gaping O of mOre

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           If Marina only has time for a single thought it is MORE the O a big gaping hole of want.  She goes to bed in want she wakes up in want, never sated.  In fact she has had giant clots of men and yet she will still stay up into the wee hours of the night banging it out. Masturbating is not really an accurate term for what she’s doing it’s more like stuffing plunging digging scraping filling filling filling.

            The problem with the disease of m0re is that one could be stuffed from head to toe with the most decadent chocolate peanut butter cake, cake that is moist and crumbles and even laced with streams of caramel. The kind of cake where a mother would have taken one teeny little bite and exclaim, “Oh my that tastes like Diabetes all right!”

            Anyhow Marina could have eaten five of these cakes and she could be covered in neon sequins and still she feels like barely a whisper.  And I’ll tell you why she feels this way. Or how it all began.

 

            It began August 22, 2010 when 33 Chilean miners were discovered trapped in a mine. The town that Marina was in was also a mining town. It was an American mining town and this fearful thing that happened raptured all their brains and hearts.  The people of the town sat glued to the television watching these miners.  Knowing things even the miners themselves did not know. 

            The people of the town knew the smell of a mine and even worse the smell of 33 men stacked one upon the other in a tight space for seventeen days.  The people knew that this smell inevitably involved some shitting and pissing and sweating and the small even stench of men reserving their energy, their testosterone turned down to a low simmer. But even worse as the people of the town watched the miners get discovered, watched Marios one and two dance a jig, watched them party and begin to spend all that reserved energy, they knew that these men would not get out of this mine for a very long time.  They knew that in order to reach these 33 stinking filthy good hearted god fearing men some drilling would have to happen.  At least two months of drilling would have to happen.

            So Marina gathered at the local bar every night and watched the miners of  Copiapo.  Marina sat and drank her New Castle and held her breath throughout Florencio Avalos’ earnest filming efforts. The men with their faces caked in dirt, their beards thick with hair.  They sat and read their letters out loud. Love letters from family members.  The men themselves wrote letters, one in particular always closed with the line, “Get me out of this hole dead or alive.”   Another man, the oldest of the bunch, 63-year-old Mario Gomez the man they called The Veteran, promised Lillanett Ramirez, if he got through this alive they would finally have their church wedding – after three decades, four daughters and seven grandchildren.

            The promise of a proper wedding came in the first letter Gomez had ever written his wife during their 30-year commitment. Scrawled on sheets of notebook paper, the letter was placed in a plastic bag and tied to the end of the drill bit that first broke through to their underground purgatory, along with another miner's message announcing: "We're all OK in the refuge, the 33."

            Read on television by President Sebastian Pinera, Gomez's "Dear Lila" letter was filled with faith and determination, and showed the world the miners were holding strong.    "Even if we have to wait months to communicate ... I want to tell everyone that I'm good and we'll surely come out OK," Gomez wrote. "Patience and faith. God is great and the help of my God is going to make it possible to leave this mine alive."  And when the newscaster completed the letter and the miners completed their dancing down below they looked up at the small hole drilled in the mine with a face full of dandelion hope.

 

            Marina knows what this hope is like because when she was a little girl she sat up and waited for her mom. She would look out the window and pray for her mom to never return.  She hoped for a car accident, or an assault, or under the best circumstance some irresistible opportunity to come and scoop her mother away. Forever.

            Today Marina is a pharmacist at Walgreens. She hands the town their prescriptions, Zoloft for Ms. Greenfield, Klonopin for Mr. Tucker,  Diazapam for Sober Sarah, Acyclovir for Mr. Bird.   If only there were something for her disease of m0re.

            It wasn’t long after the miners got discovered that everyone in town started calling in prescriptions. Higher dosages of the anti-anxiety meds, more refills.  Marina stood and counted all the pills and the line behind the counter looked at her angrily and eagerly. NOW NOW NOW NOW. Their eyes chanted.

            It was August and the town was hot, baked like a pie.  There were sprinklers on at night outside the Walgreens and sometimes people whose prescriptions weren’t filled waited there for her.  One night in particular Mr. Tucker sat with a bottle of champagne and some carnations he must have picked up from inside the store.

            “Hey you wanna have a nightcap with me?”

            This was awkward she saw him and all she thought was Diazapam. She couldn’t remember his name. She searched her memory.  “Uhhh, no thank you. Mr. -----Tucker.”

            He laughed and waved her decline away, “You can call me Marc.”  He smiled and extended his hand.

            When he said his name Marina pictured the sweet ‘c’ perched there at the end.  This unique spelling stuck out amongst an array of white bottles. Marina just looked at the hand. “Okay Marc.”

            Marina kept on walking to her car ignoring Marc Tucker. It was 8:45 and she had only 15 minutes to reach the bar before the 9:00 news.   He followed behind her. He stood looking into her window he was getting ready to knock. She buckled her seatbelt. She put her key in the ignition. She rolled down her window with her foot on the brake.  She placed her heel ready to release the break if he did anything fishy.

            “Look I’m sorry Mr. Tucker there’s somewhere I have to---

            “I know I must look ridiculous like this to you. But really I was just hoping to get a refill. You don’t know how hard it is.”

            Marina released the brake and slammed on the gas. She muttered to herself   “You have got to be kidding me.”

 

 

            Kenneth Jackson spent every single moment of sunlight underground.  His whole life existed in the dark. Somuchso that he did not even bother to get the electricity turned on in his house. He thought it was a waste of money. His wife did not agree but since he paid all the bills he made all the decisions.

            When he was younger he imagined himself as a real provider, someone that could give his daughter a pony.  He watched his dad work every day of his life with not a thing to show for it. His dad was toothless and drunk and caught the black lung and still put a cigarette in his mouth every time it opened.  He grew up hearing only two words from his dad. I’m sorry.

            His mom on the other hand said a lot.  She said Gimme and Not again, and we need, and thekidsneed, and goodfernuthin, and Whenwillyou and m0re.

            Now it’s a different story for him his wife is the one that is like a prune.  He is the master miner.  He gets to be in charge. The master of his own demise.  He remembers what an old high school shop teacher told him. It was one of those slow hot days and he bumped into him walking to his car from the bar.  Of all his teachers he was definitely the coolest one. Never wrote him up for being tardy.  He played in a rock band when he wasn’t teaching. The rumor was that this whole teaching stint was something he was ordered to do by the courts. So when Kenneth saw him struggling for his keys in that dusty parking lot and offered to give him a lift and when that rock star teacher turned to him and said, “Nah son, I’d much rather be the master of my own demise,” it stuck.  It was the single most back boned thing he ever heard a man say.

             Early on August 5, 2010 Johnny Barrios phoned his mistress Susana Valenzuela and whispered into the dark a promise of his safe return, a promise to finish the job and buy her beautiful things, and leave his wife and to maybe one day live together. No more hiding my love. No more hiding he whispered. And all around him was the smell of fuel and the dirt of Chile and around the corner from his bedroom his wife stood in the kitchen fat and discontent. Frying breakfast. She heard the whispers. All the time. He went to the bathroom and ran some water and whispered into his phone. She was no idiot.  In fact today we know that she was aware of the affair that she refused to let her heart bleed for him any more. That she was pleased he was safe but would not greet his 21st capsule as it hailed above ground, after it traveled the length of two empire state buildings. The capsule’s circumference that of a bike tire.  No she was not there instead it was Susana all round and needy crying, her desire for consolation, her desire for kisses.  And there was Johnny stiff alert contrived. All his emotions dueling inside the fibers of his being. A dozen press cameras zoomed in close on his pallid face. His arms at his side still not used to the space around him. Stunned like a fish plopped in a bigger tank still going around and around in the same tiny circles.

               And when he first fell down that mine shaft he thought perhaps they would be stuck in there for just a few days and then days became weeks and weeks became months.  He was primed for this sort of thing having grown up with a military father. A father that believed in endurance tests of humiliation as a form of discipline.  Yonni spent many days enduring misery.  He was made to stand on one leg, the other cocked behind him like a flamingo, his arms propelled out on each side, and to recite self-deprecating phrases at the foot of his father’s bed for 18 hours. Being locked in his mother’s closet for 26 hours. His entire childhood he measured time in small relative blocks of misery. He soon realized the trick was to think of only the space of time in front of him. He also learned the trick of counting. He counted to one thousand and then started over again.  He learned a trick of closing his eyes and transporting himself. Even now in the mine when he heard the heavy breathing of a man he would imagine it was the whir of a fan on a small plane taking him to a tropical island.  He got great rewards from being useful.  The other miners called him ‘Dr. House’ after a character on the American TV drama. He administered vaccinations and delivered medical reports to the actual medics once they arrived. In fact when he was underground he was at the most important and useful point of his life. He felt esteemable. It was the first time in five years he had not lied to his wife.

            Above ground the families gathered in Compamento Esperanza, (Camp Hope), a tent city they developed so they could eat together and pray together. There was the soft clang of rosaries and the fast preachings of ministers. Little shrines and altars.  Candles burned nonstop and perched below two large flags that stood at the center, one Chilean and one Bolivian, was the bust of Virgin Mary and pictures of the miners and patron saints.  The outskirts of the camp was lined with press and family vehicles. The camp itself was pumped and primed with faith.  The men gathered around the center of the camp with their accordions and guitars and harmonicas and played festive folkloric tunes beside a fire. Sometimes their faces reddened from alcohol and the women sensed it and grabbed the bottoms of their skirts and lifted them in a flirty twirl as they danced. For the older women they were perfecting their given role as martyrs. Wearing black covering their hair in lace looking to the ground focusing on the pain. Aware always of the eyes on them and striking prayer position during waking hour.

 

          On September fifth they had to resort to Plan B. Plan B entailed taking the existing boreholes and using a hammer drill to drill at more than 40 meters a day by using four hammers at once. The people of the town watched the rescue attempts ensue.  They sat at the bar with napkins and pens drafting their own techniques. The men wore old pairs of spectacles held together with masking tape. Some of them even brought mechanical pencils and protractors.  They brought in plans that they worked on the night before. They were experts. All of them.

            “No you see that can’t work.” said Kenneth as he pointed to an area on his sketch where he stated the mine was certain to contain some form of led or metal."

            “I betcha it does!”

            “Oh really how much you wanna bet?”

             This was when the crowd really got excited everyone started pitching dollar bills in the bowl. Soon there was a betting pool sketched out on the wall.

             Meanwhile the miners of Copiapo stayed one on top of the other, practicing democracy, their every move governed by a simple majority vote. Their egos faded.  Even the former footballer Franklin Lobos disguarded his ego. The only saving grace of being people with no money is that they had no shame because there were times in their lives when they had each considered the fact that they would do anything for money. Shame is a byproduct of wealth. The flip side to that is that the poor often wear a coat of defeat they can never take off. These miners already had that coat coming down the mines.  They took a job that gripped the balls of their collective lives.

              Kenneth’s voice was drowned out by the crowd’s moans as sure enough the special bit on the Schramm Inc. T130XD air core mobile drill hit a metal bar and snapped.

              It took his own father eight days to die after he fell down a mine.

 

            Marina kept on going into town to watch the miners on television.  She was there when they watched the drill snap against the led in the cave.  She was so engrossed in the scene that she missed her mouth and accidentally poured beer down her cheek.  During the day the town continued to crowd around her pharmacy counter.  They had to install one of those number machines to add some order to things.

            One afternoon as she was trying to close up for lunch, a half a dozen people rushed her and demanded their psychotropic refills.  “We’re getting too nervous over here!”  “Yeah, we could kill ourselves!”  “What’s five minutes c’mon.”

            But she knew what five minutes was. Five minutes was a prelude to ten minutes then thirty minutes and that was her lunch hour.  They were strict about that here.  No overtime and no eating at the counter. So really you had to eat when it was time to eat.

            All around her were the pleading faces of people she knew, an old shop teacher, her mom’s bridge friends, her ex-boyfriend, and Mr. Tucker. She heard his voice the loudest.  It was the most on edge.  She was afraid he’d greet her in the parking lot again.  She tried to break for the employee lounge.

             There was Mr. Tucker waiting for her beside the door to enter the lounge.

            “Hey.”

            Marina tried to ignore him and looked down.

            “Hey. Look I know you can hear me. Why’d you drive off the other day?”

            Marina scanned the store for another employee.

            “You could’ve just said No.”

            She didn’t see one.

            “Or not today or something.”

            Marina thought about walking out the front door and eating in her car but she would have to pass the line at the pharmacy to get there.

            “Look I’m not gonna hurt you I just want-“

            Another employee exited the lounge.  The door almost hit Mr. Tucker in the head and he had to move to the side, Marina slid in beside him and murmured, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

            Disappointment clouded the store.  

 

 

            That night Marina closed the store more than fifteen minutes early. She closed the store and ran from the front door to her car. She turned the key in the ignition and drove straight to the bar.  This is how it all started.  The disease of m0re. 

            It began with a man.  He wasn’t just a regular man.  He was a miner.

She ducked into the bar. The lights in the bar were low and the music was festive and Marina sat drinking something pink with an umbrella in it.

            Kenneth Jackson was in a far corner with a group of machismo men standing around and signing and guffawing and drinking and cursing.  Kenneth saw Marina and thought of his ridiculous wife and her meekness how she had almost no needs at all how she collapsed into all the tiniest spaces and made herself invisible. That is how he thought of his wife and then quickly forgot that is what he was thinking of, because Marina was so much.  She was a force and a presence and when she walked in everyone felt her in their periphery.  Her thereness made him horny.  He had a drink sent over to her. He eventually joined Marina at her table.  He was surprised at her lack of modesty. It’s customary that she turn him away three times before she accepted him at her table.  She only turned him away twice. She was tired.  She was wanting more drinks.

            He pulled out a bar stool sat down and winked. “Hey what did the Jewish child molestor say?”

            “I don’t know, what?”

            “Hey kid wanna buy some candy?”

            “------“

            “Get it? Buy? As in purchase?”

            “Yeah I get it. I’m Jewish.”

            “Oh.”

            “-----“

            “Wanna buy some candy?”

            They laughed. And that’s how it was with them all tension filled and effortless at the same time.  There’s one thing that tension is actually really good for. Sex.  Or perhaps sex is good for tension. Either way he proved to be the best lover.   He took Marina to the back of the bar to a room where the miners would sometimes sleep.  This was after he explained his life.  His life was that of all the other miners in town.  He said he even went to Chile to mine once.  He said it was just like the miners on T.V.  He said it is a small town with nothing but holes to mine.  It’s dusty and dank. It’s sad and slow.  He knows us silly Americans get all their Latin countries mixed up.   He emphasized that in Mexico you get bright yellow beer and sunshine filled Tequila.  Whereas, in Chile you get a deep red wine and something called Bigoteado which is really no thing in particular but the remnants of everything mixed together.         

            “Do not drink this it is a cruel joke. There are no limes or umbrellas poking neatly at the rims of our glasses.”

            He grabbed the umbrella from Marina’s glass and flung it to the ground.  She jumped a little.  She did not know this flamboyant thespian side of him.

 “Some of their drinks are milky with cantaloupe or milky with milk but they are a place of very dense consumption. “

            Sometimes he just went down during the day and came back up when the sun went down and then went back down again in the morning.  Sometimes he did this close enough to home where he could sleep in his own bed.  Other nights like this night, he said, he was close enough to sleep in his own bed but chose not to.  Instead he was choosing her. Maybe he chose her because she had thick hair that was bleached blonde like a Maraca.  Maybe he chose her because her skin was light at this time of year like porcelain or Asian or because her nose was strong and distinguished and it made him think that like other Jewish girls she was an expert at giving blow jobs.  Either way he took her to the back of the bar and he turned into fire.  He swore in Chilean.  He called her a whore and a cocksucker and a mother’s cunt and he told her to fuck off and he said fuck it.  And it all sounded like pleading.

            “Maraca.” (slut)

 “Chupa pico” (cock sucker) he pulled his cock out of his pants he grabbed it he teased it. He began rubbing her cheek with it as she knelt down before him.  Marina smelled the salt of his sweat and everything tough about him. His hands stained with the cheap butter of movie popcorn grabbed her hair. She licked slowly and he yelled , “aweonao” (asshole) He got his cock big and hard in her mouth and flipped her over the bed with her ass in the air. He slapped at her asshole with his cock and then screamed ,”Concha tu madre”  (your mother’s cunt) he rubbed her pussy until she was dripping on the ground between them.  He stuffed his cock inside her pussy.  He rammed and rammed and she cried out in pain in joy in full release.  He was her cock.  In fact they had such a fantastic time that they didn’t leave the bar as much as got kicked out.   Then whenever things were slow for them at work. They would go to the bar and play the Chilean coal miner game.  They stayed there in that bar all day and all night fucking and swearing.  They ate olives until they were starving.  He even found a Chilean restaurant in town where they sat crouched over a steaming bowl of Paila Marina.  Paila Marina is a delicious warm seafood stew and they dolled the sauce and stew out on top of bowls of steaming hot rice and Marina was in heaven.  Despite the little bits of juice that bounced off her spoon or onto the table or flecked the front of her shirt she was jovial. Marina was drunk off of red wine and seafood and Chilean miner cock.

            Sometimes they would go to Marina’s apartment and would watch the miners together.  The huge irony of it all. The guys in the mine partying thinking they were rescued singing while everyone else in the world knew that they would have to wait months before they could be let out.  They could see the troops of engineers and cameramen and families camped up top and they could see the guys shuffling around down below spending energy on dances thinking tonight was their night of release.  It was God’s worst joke. And yet Marina got aroused. And her lover plucked his fingers in her pants and strummed against her clit.

 

            At a time when the bar was buzzing of the men’s eventual release Marina stayed home and waited for Kenneth’s return. She even stayed late at work. Anything but to sit at home in quiet and stare at the clock the constant open and shut of her empty fridge. The sighs.  The deep deep sighs.  Sometimes she caught herself speaking aloud.  Alone.  

            The first delay occurred with the bit that broke on the drill from Plan B. But then on the afternoon of September 19th they finally got the powerful Canadian made rig.  Also knows at RIG-421.  It is 141 feet tall and needed 40 trucks to bring it to the site.  It was the meanest strongest fastest drill for the job. By this time the replacement bit on the Plan B drill had bore down and all the debris that fell into the hole caused the miners some work to clear it away. 

            Back at the bar some of the local guys were so thrilled to see the big drill they jumped on tables to get closer to the TV and get a good look. One of the older guys cleared his throat. He was not satisfied.  It would not work is what all this reservation meant.  He got up from his chair, pulled out a drill, walked over to the stone wall of the bar, he knocked on the stones, he made an animated gesture to indicate the stone was hard and strong. He took out a piece of chalk.  He drew a large white dot on the stone.  He pulled out a drill. He placed the drill in the center of the dot. When he turned the drill on it veered far to the right of the dot. 

            “Too strong. This stone.” He said and sat down.

 

            It became strangely cold in the town.  Mentholatum cough drops were selling way ahead of schedule. All the stray dogs started to masquerade themselves looking for a home, nesting on back porches.  Marina felt a knocking deep in her pelvis.  She walked around with a swagger of someone who was definitely getting laid.  The little girl down the street packed up her jump rope and pulled on a knit cap.  Her mom always wanted to keep her dressed a season in advance. So her preadolescence was a series of temperate discomfort.   The Purell hand sanitizer was selling faster than usual. 

            Then came the night he went down.  Or he said he was going down.  Marina and Kenneth were dating for about a month at the time. They still had separate apartments but he usually stayed the night at least three times a week.  Marina never went to his place.  She never saw it and sometimes she would ask but he would turn up his super sexy miners charm or he would say since she had cats it’s better to stay at her place or he would say his place was a mess. So she just accepted it.   There was one suspicious thing that happened before this.  They were at the movies one night and they hadn’t had sex for a couple of days and they were doing that awkward thing where they walk down the street and he tries to put his arm around her but it’s draped loosely down her shoulder and his hand bangs absently against her breast. Bang bang and their hips were clanking. And everything seemed so awkward.  Marina reached up to grab his hand to keep it from clanging but then her elbow was getting sore.  And nothing was comfortable and nothing was sexy.  Marina wondered if this was why he was silent.

 

 

            October 13th, 2010 8:45pm.  The miners had been under for 69 days.  Mr. Tucker walked up to the front counter.  Marina was weary.  She considered putting up the closed placard on her counter.  But his eyes looked like droopy condoms.  He looked sad.

            “How may I help you today?”

            “Aww nuthin’ I was just wandering the store.”

            “Oh.”

            “Hey I’m sorry.”

            “For what?”

            “I can be kind of pushy sometimes when I don’t get my way.”

            “Oh that.”

            “Yes my therapist says I have some form of narcissism I just feel so entitled all the time.”

            “Oh. I see.”

            “Look. I’m doing it again.”

            “-----?”

            “Oversharing. Hey you wanna go for a drink or something?”

            Marina started to make up an excuse but realized she didn’t really have any. She realized she was just always searching for ways to make herself available for Ken and maybe she should go out. Maybe it would be nice.

            “Sure.”

            “Huh?”

            “Sure”

            Mr. Tucker looked delighted.  “Okay great!  Wow great!’

            “How about if I close up over here and we meet over at the bar down the street?”

            “Oh that’d be terrific.”

            She closed up the pharmacy and pulled down the metal window grate. Susan her coworker and friend from high school was sweeping the floor with a large dry mop.   One of the fluorescent lights above flickered. It happened all day long.  In fact Marina was so used to it she blinked and winced in time with it even when she wasn’t at work.  The parking lot was empty.  The town itself seemed like it was shut down. 

            When she reached the bar she realized that’s where they all were.  Apparently it was some celebration of sorts.  There were balloons and streamers.  Everyone was wearing a party hat. She grabbed a noisemaker out of a bucket by the door. 

            Mr. Tucker stood by the bar and waved her over.  He was wearing a blue sweater and khaki dockers.  He looked like Mr. Rogers.  “C’mon Marina their getting rescued!” 

            Her heart flipped.  Rescue?  Really? How could it be? She was going to watch it without Ken?  They were getting out?  She felt she needed to call someone.  She looked around and realized she was in a bar full of strangers.  There was no one she could think of to tell.  On the screen there was a long thin capsule that was lowered into the mine and then slowly pulled out. 

            In the capsule came Florencio Avalos, 31 he was second in command of the group and being that he was a former footballer his physical agility and mental prowess made him first to come out and ride the fifteen minute claustrophobic capsule ride.  He was a shy guy so he was the one that filmed most of the footage.  He always liked to be the guy doing. The guy behind the scenes. Never the spectacle.  When he came out the crowd around him collapsed on their knees in tears in prayer in joy. Everyone in the bar cheered along with them. Marina’s heart quickened.

            Next was, Luis Urzua, 54. He was the shift foreman. Down below when he realized the gravity of the situation he organized the men and their meager resources. He pioneered their democratic voting system. He was their leader.

             When Esteban Rojas stepped out of the rescue capsule, he immediately knelt on the ground with his hands together in prayer then raised his arms above him in adoration. His wife then wrapped a tapestry bearing the image of Mary around him as they hugged and cried.

            Then came The Veteran.  The oldest of the bunch, 63-year-old Mario Gomez.  The one thatpromised Lillanett Ramirez, if he got through this alive they would finally have their church wedding.

            So when he emerged, he grasped a Chilean flag and dropped to his knees to pray, Lilianet was the one who pulled him up from the ground and held him in a long embrace.  A miner since he was 12 years old, Gomez is missing three fingers on his left hand from a mine accident. He suffers from silicosis, a lung disease common to miners. He made the ascent wearing an oxygen mask, and was on antibiotics and medicine for a bronchial inflammation.

            After years spent mostly away from wife and family as he labored underground, relatives said there was a new appreciation for his wife. Gomez's nephew, Roberto Reyes, himself a miner, said his aunt and uncle may get the honeymoon they never had by accepting a Greek mining company's invitation to all those rescued and their spouses for an all-expenses-paid trip to Greece's islands, and by accepting other invitations to visit Germany, France and Spain.

            Watching the two lovers embrace Marina pressed her fingers against her collar bone.  She was feeling for her heart. Her eyes swelled with tears. She thought of all things corny. All the clichés she blocked out until this moment. When it seemed so true. So right. Absence makes the heart grow fonder she thought.  The bar itself gasped for air. She hesitated before she took another sip of her beer. She was swooning. She thought of her miner. Of his temporary absence, of the hairs that gather on his toes, of how he strokes the tips of her nipples lightly as he looks up at the ceiling and smiles and talks and she thinks of him fucking her and it makes her wet and then she remembers eating gobs of Chilean stew.  She scraped the edge of her nail against the inside of her thigh and felt a tiny bit of relief accompanied by a tiny trickle of blood and that is how it began. The m0re.

            Then came the Medic, Johnny Barrios Rojas, he was number 21 of the men rescued from the mine. Johnny Barrios Rojas' rescue was among the most anticipated – if only to see who would be there to greet him.  Barrios gained notoriety as the man who had two women at Camp Hope – his wife of 28 years, Marta Salinas, and his mistress of four, Susana Valenzuela.  Salinas apparently knew nothing of the affair until the two women ran into each other amid the tents pitched by family members anxiously holding vigil – and a very public spat ensued.

            The 50-year-old Barrios looked around sheepishly as he emerged from the rescue tube, peering through dark glasses as mining officials in red shirts applauded loudly.  Behind him, smiling widely and waiting for him to notice her stood Valenzuela. When he didn't, the round-faced strawberry blonde walked around to face Barrios and gave him a long kiss and hug, weeping into the shoulder of his jumpsuit as he whispered into her ear.

            Salinas was nowhere to be seen. Weeks earlier, Barrios' wife had ripped down a poster of her husband put up by his mistress.  Defiant, the mistress taped the poster back up, and beneath several poems and prayers she had dedicated to him, she signed it, "Your Wife."

            Marina looked away from the television, embarrassed for the mistress. How she hugged and kissed his razor stiff body, she gazed out the window and there he was. One man, two hands. A hand with fingers wrapped around a woman’s and a hand with fingers clasped a little girls. Kenneth Jackson. And they were laughing and they were kissing and they were very married looking. Very loved looking and the pit of her stomach dropped and she slowly reached out but then she looked back at the television at the ravenous mistress and she puked in her mouth a little bit and she thought of that hand and that cock and how he banged her and she thought of what this all meant in this moment. She looked over at Mr. Tucker and he was so strange. She looked over at all the other strangers and they were so coupled and she imagined she could lock herself in her room somewhere and get some form of satisfaction if she just tried hard enough with something and so began her pursuit. And so began the disease of m0re. It is not something that can be cured with chocolate, or alcohol, or solitude, or television, or the numbing of, or spending, or gambling, or anything that has a beginning and an end.  It’s anecdote has to last for infinity.   Today she goes around and sleeps with whole clots of men and sometimes she asks them, “Excuse me, do you have infinity?” and they never do but sometimes they say yes.