Juan and Pedro meet in the back of a tractor-trailer filled with undocumented Mexican immigrants headed for New York City. Pedro shows Juan a sealed letter that his mother, now dead, has given him--an introduction to the father he never knew. He brags to his new friend that his father, Diego--who left Mexico for New York many years before--has become a wealthy restaurant owner and will surely rejoice at the arrival of the son he had always wanted. Juan doubts Pedro's confidence and challenges his expectations. Juan's father left him when he was four with two things: a switchblade and the scar it made on his chest. When the truck lands in Brooklyn, Pedro wakes to find himself alone and his belongings, including the letter with his father's address, stolen. He is cast onto the street and--unable to speak the language--lost in an unknown city. Juan, meanwhile, shows up at Diego's door with the letter--claiming to be the old man's long lost son, Pedro. Diego, who is not a wealthy restaurant owner, but a miserly dishwasher who squirrels away every dollar he makes, immediately rejects him. Juan persists, contriving to win his "father's" favor by maintaining the image of the hardworking, devoted son. Yet rather than working during the day for money, as he claims he is doing, Juan prowls about Diego's apartment, searching for the hidden stash. In the meantime, Pedro meets Magda a Spanish-speaking street-urchin who offers to help but repeatedly exploits his desire to find his father. Pedro must choose whether to abide by his principles or heed Magda's ruthless logic of the street and "look out for number one." With every day that Pedro gets closer to finding Diego, Juan gets closer to finding the money. Yet along the way, both boys find something they weren't looking for--they find something they need.


Chris Zalla