The Schekbenjel Goes for a Ride: Mennonite Settlements, Chihuahua, Late 1980s

I had me two girlfriends once. In different Darps but still close enough

to walk. I'd visit one Sunday after church, then I'd visit the other one

Sunday after supper. After I started working, just a Schekbenjel, but still

making some dough, I saved up. Bought me a motorbike. Thought I was

hot stuff cruisin' in and out of the Darps. I could go to a bunch of them

now since I wasn't just walkin'. The bike was small but I was real

fast. Kicking up dust like nobody's business. One Sunday, I'd blown

off both of my girlfriends because I wanted to ride around. Feel some

real power. So I drove way out to this Darp I'd never been to before.

Out in the middle of nowhere, but I could already tell they liked

to party. Pick–up trucks parked all over the yard. And the music was

pumpin' real loud. A bunch of boys and girls runnin' around. All these

smokje M'jalles. I mean real nice lookin'. So I slowed down to take

it all in. These tough lookin' bros were hollerin' and wavin' their beer

cans around. Yellin' for me to gun it. So I did. Tore it up to the end

of the road and whipped back into their driveway. Doin' ninety easy.

Then ripped some donuts into the gravel. All the girls were screamin'

and laughin'. So I burnt some more rubber. Laid it out real thick 'til

some dudes jumped out of a truck cab and started slappin' me

on the back sayin' bro, that's rad come drink with us. I was about to

take my helmet off and grab a cold one, but then I saw both

my girlfriends sittin' on a picnic table. Carryin' on like they was

best friends. Painted and pressed up against some ugly ass cowboys.

About the Author

Abigail Carl-Klassen

Abigail Carl-Klassen is a writer, researcher, poet, educator, translator, and activist living in El Paso, Texas. She grew up in the oil fields of the Permian Basin alongside Old Colony Mennonite immigrants from Mexico and has worked in education, language services, community development, social science research, and agriculture in a a variety of contexts across the USA and Latin America. She earned an MFA in Bilingual Creative Writing at the University of Texas El Paso, and her work has been published widely in English and Spanish, appearing in ZYZZYVA, Catapult, Cimarron Review, Rhubarb, Guernica, Aster(ix) Huizache, and others. She has published two poetry chapbooks, Ain't Country Like You (Digging Press) and Shelter Management (dancing girl press) and her full-length poetry collection, Village Mechanics, is forthcoming from FlowerSong Press in 2023. Recordings of her oral history project, “Rebels, Exiles, and Bridge Builders: Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Campos Menonitas of Chihuahua” can be found on the Darp Stories YouTube channel.