"Born Worker"

By Gary Soto


When Jose was born, everyone said he was born with a ring of dirt around his neck,grime under his finger nails, and his skin calloused from the grainy twist of a shovel. He started working at a young age. His mother stitched at a machine and his father worked at a telephone company.


His cousin Arnie told him that he could find work for them and even though Jose couldn't stand his cousin, he still wanted work. When Jose would work Arnie would tell him what to do or criticize his work. Arnie would rarely help him which made Jose angry. One day they went to clean a pool, Jose of course doing everything, Arnie just sitting around and only helping when the man came to check on the progress. After a couple times of the man spectating, he dropped his hearing aid in the pool, so he decided to do down there and get it himself. The man accidentally slipped and fell and hit his head. Arnie left because he didn't want to deal with what was happening. When he left, Jose had to go in the house and call 911. The cops arrived, Arnie came back, and he took the credit for what happened.