“A harsh desert environment serves as a dangerous backdrop for childhood adventures and imagination. This a story about absence, truth, hope and, the double-edged nature of luck.
Nine year-old Luano feeds his own body to spiders, hoping that his sacrifice will miraculously return his mother, Shelita Maria, who left the desert town soon after Luano’s birth. Raised by his crippled Uncle Tabula, owner of a grocery store, Luano longs for his shadowy mother, but when she returns, she finds Luano sick with spider venom and unwilling to accept her as his “real” mother. She must confront his rejection and the shame that originally drove her away, and Luano must decide whether to accept her or to continue his dangerous sacrifice.
The town is isolated within the surrounding desert, but a war had found it out just before Luano's birth—the same war that left Uncle Tabula crippled and a chronic drinker. Soldiers in that war stripped the church tower of the town's bells, symbols of hope.
Luano's mother, Shelita Maria, returns on a truck carrying the tomato harvest that the town annually celebrates, but Shelita is not received as graciously as the tomatoes. She is cursed and avoided. One of the men from the trucks, Conejo, falls in love with her, in spite of the town’s reaction against her. Even the usually jovial Uncle Tabula seems to despise her. Conejo is at a loss to understand until Shelita Maria reveals a dark secret.