The Hundredth Meridian

Héctor Agonistes

For more than a week after his encounter with Jacinta Ruiz, Héctor avoided the Pink Store, finding an excuse to drive Jesús “Eddie” to Geronimo’s Bar & Grill in Deming—which Jesús much preferred anyway—instead.  All this time, the Centaur’s statue stood on the top shelf of his computer hutch, where he had to make the effort to raise his eyes in order to behold the thing.  Handsome as it was, the statue gave him no pleasure but only a sense of distress, arising from moral confusion.  In truth, Héctor found he could no longer admire it without suspecting that he really was a bit of a traitor.

He was an American, after all—not yet a citizen, granted, but citizenship would surely follow in time, once the late unpleasantness arising from his failed political candidacy was resolved.  Whereas the Ruiz woman, a bona fide Méxicana for whom Pancho Villa had fought and died, reprobated Villa and all he stood for because he’d been a relentless enemy of the gringos, certain of whom her great-grandparents had befriended.  Héctor himself had few American friends besides Bro. Billie Joe and Jesús “Eddie,” and he wasn’t sure Jesús “Eddie” counted as an American.  Never before had it occurred to him that his pride in being a descendant (though a collateral one) of the Centaur might...

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