Héctor Villa did not feel disposed to take phone calls this morning. He was at work outdoors, gilding a large piece of driftwood he and Jesús “Eddie” Juárez had retrieved from a sandbar in the Rio Grande between Contreras and the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge and brought home in Jesús “Eddie”’s pickup truck for display in the side yard of his house, where he hoped it would not attract too much notice from passers-by. Pleasingly tortured in shape, in which it vaguely resembled a steam shovel with the crane bent backward over the cab, the wood’s appearance struck Héctor as significantly enhanced by its coat of gold and bronze paint. Intent on finishing the job, he’d pretended not to have heard AveMaría when she called to him the first time from the back door. She called twice more again before he saw her rounding the corner of the house with Dubya on one arm and the cell phone in her free hand.
“¡Héctor! ¡Fónica llamada! Are you deaf?” AveMaría protested, between puffs.
“Some Anglo, a Mr. Domenici.”
“Tell him I’m not at home.”
“I can’t; I already told him you are.”
Héctor, seeing she’d left the...