The Hundredth Meridian

A Close Encounter With the Enemy

Following his conversation with Jacinta Ruiz, Héctor took down from its shelf the statue of the Centaur that had been gathering a coat of the fine yellow dust blown in from the Chihuahuan Desert through chinks in the ranch-house walls and put it away in the closet, and he did not visit the Pink House again until after Jesús “Eddie’s” return from Belen more than a week later.  Even then, he managed to find excuses to hang out at Geronimo’s in Deming instead, until Jesús “Eddie,” growing impatient, resisted.

“Listen, hombre, it is safer drinking in Mexico, away from the interstate where the terrorists are.  Did you know that Indians—those black ones from India, not the Apache—own two motels in Deming?  Not all Indians are Buddhists, compadrito.  Millions and millions of them are Islamists, wanting to come here to this country to answer the phones for us!  You can smell the curry from one end of the town to the o-ther!  Who knows if Abdul Kahn has friends there to watch us, Héctor!  Besides—the beer is cheaper at the Pink House, while Jacinta Ruiz—she likes us, compadrito!”  Jesús “Eddie” finished with a lecherous smirk at his friend, accompanied by a dig in the ribs with his elbow.  The fact was, he’d missed the presence of both Contracepción...

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