People of the Dog Summary

Summary (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

An unnamed boy comes to Mexico City to escape an abusive home, where the new man takes his food, hits him with his fists until he bleeds, and threatens to kill him. His mother tells him tearfully to go to the city, where she hopes he will survive. Almost ten years old, the boy sleeps with four other boys, two of them younger, all of them tormented, and one of them raped by older boys.

In his fantasy, the little boy sees a young man, “his entire body . . . tattooed with snakes, birds and circles . . . with the wind god clinging to his back.” The young man gets into a boat, and the boy feels the water at his feet, remembering that he has not bathed since he left his mother’s house. He jumps in the boat after the young man, attracted by the happy expression of the baby wind god. He paddles rapidly; the young man’s tattoos begin to move faster and faster; the baby wind god laughs. The boy is no longer tired, no longer hungry; he is no longer in pain, no longer afraid. He cannot remember any suffering. In his vision, he swallows a small piece of lightning that comes from the mouth of the baby wind god. He sees a city and many brave Indians, and the scene reminds him of Mexico City when he first saw it, before it devoured him. An eagle flies from the mouth of the baby wind god and lands on a cactus. He sees the young man again, whose face is divided into gentle and fierce aspects. The baby wind god changes into a thin white cloud, which the boy inhales....

(The entire section is 465 words.)