Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 257
In Part I, we meet Sonya, a little girl, and her younger brother, Macky. Sonya has gone to pick up Macky from Mrs. Avila, who watches him during the day, but Sonya has lost her key to their home, and she and Macky get lost while trying to make their way back to Mrs. Avila's house. They are Latino and have been taught by their parents to fear the police, so they run when they see the police arrest a black man. When Sonya spots the "zero-zero place," the Cariboo Cafe (with only the "oo" left from the first word), she thinks it'll be a good idea to wait there in safety.
In Part II, we meet the owner of the Cariboo Cafe who is unnamed. He has prejudice toward the mostly Latino population that frequents his business, though he thinks he's very honest and fair. We learn that he had a son, JoJo, who died in Vietnam. He also had a wife or a girlfriend named Nell, who used to help him run the business, but she has left him.
Part III is narrated by an unnamed Latina woman who finds Sonya and Macky, mistaking Macky for her own son, Geraldo, who was abducted and killed long ago. She hasn't seen him since. We learn some of her history, especially of how she came to this country. She is eventually killed when the cafe's owner calls the police to report the missing children; in mistaking Macky for her own son, she refused to let him go.