The Hundredth Meridian

Noche de Desastre

The morning after meeting Juanito Villalobos, Héctor, throwing Dr. Spock’s strictures to the wind, put his foot down when Dubya demanded to be taken to the Lion Habitat immediately after the family’s return from breakfast at McDonald’s.  His patience was suddenly at an end.  Although the Habitat itself was free, the Villas’ suite by now was overpopulated with a collection of expensive stuffed lions in varying sizes, from Metro to something hardly bigger than a rat.  AveMaría and Contracepción, both of whom had plans of their own for the day, were similarly disinclined to spend it hanging around a zoo exhibit, however elaborate.  In response to being denied lions, Dubya threw a temper tantrum and had to be shut in the bathroom until he got control of himself, while Héctor made his escape under cover of the confusion.  Let the women trade the kid off between them for the rest of the day: He’d done his duty, and more, since their arrival in Las Vegas.  ¡Vivo jo! Héctor assured himself happily, as he strode from the elevator and across the hotel lobby in the direction of the casino, close by the entertainment dome.

He was hurrying past the entrance to the Lion Habitat when an unpleasantly familiar voice called his name.  Héctor turned and saw Juanito Villalobos following behind him, in uniform and...

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