Up the road from just past the Frijolera County line lurked the Checkpoint. At one time it was open only part time, although that was most of the time. Back in the Sixties, I think, they had two regular eight hour shifts and everyone went home at 11:00 pm. I take it the contrabandidos were too unsophisticated to notice. Things were much more laissez-faire, more like “You get some, and you don’t get some. We get paid the same.”
Failure is integral to the system function, after all. If there was no crime, who would need police? No war and for what purpose a huge military industrial complex? No killer disease or chronic conditions whither goeth the medical bonanza for conditions that are never cured?
You educate strong, self reliant people who can think for themselves, they become hard to fool and eventually impossible to control. The answer is never to get even close to an answer. Fog, smoke and misdirection-that’s the ticket. The great secret is to nip the secret in the bud. You’re guaranteed no solution to the problem when you never allow the problem to even be defined or stated in any kind of coherency! Your little agency gets fatter BONANZAJP and sassier. Things change for you too, the enforcers and authorities and security types. Not for the better, of course, for the rest of us. Collective insanity, just as much as individual, cycles in predictable and supra-predictable wild card fashion. The laid back ambiance of border commerce changes over the decades. Now the checkpoint is manned 24 hours a day. Qué será, será.
Blonde Indias, Mexicana, Asianas and Africanas can look kind of fake with cornsilk colored hair. Horlinda pulled it off. She looked quite decent, I must say, but still kind of cheap. That can be good; there’s a certain available quality that’s integral to that level of sex appeal. And, when you’re divorced at thirty-five with a couple of kids and no marketable skills other than a big bust and a bubbly manner and peroxide hair, what can a girl do? Well, maybe enlist in the Mex Express. The delivery service. Come as you are. All you need is a car.
Anyway, Horlinda was prima to almost all the Nopaleros, and por cierto was prima to all the vatos locos and supposed badasses. She would look after her tribe as best she could, try to make peace, keep the onda cool and so on, except when she copped an attitude herself. Then it was best just to get out of her way.
So one afternoon she cruised out to the west side of town and pulled into the biggest house in the barrio. It was the usual one-hundred-eighty degree rotation shotgun frame like the rest of the block, but with customizing. It looked like a really sharp chort on cement blocks. It had three stories; the last two looked like they were just piled on top of the first one. There were no carpenters in Nopales that had ever built two stories before so maybe it was okay for a first time effort.
There were quite a few statues out front, mostly religious. They share the yard with a really tricked out ’57 Chevy, a ’66 Corvette and a ’59 Cadillac. Replica spare parts cars were up on blocks in the back. Off to the side opening to the front was the obligatory party room. Posters, black lights, plastic boobs, Beatles and Little Joe album covers and, of course, the cookout pit. The roosters weren’t around anymore. Some of the neighbors had complained. Some of the neighbors weren’t around either.