The Hundredth Meridian

Government for the People

“I owe you an apology, compadrito,” Héctor Villa was telling his friend, Jesús “Eddie” Juárez.

Jesús “Eddie,” who hadn’t the foggiest idea what his friend was talking about, nodded his head and attempted a forgiving smile anyway, on the off chance it might prompt Héctor to clinch his apology by offering to buy another round.

“I never understood all you had to go through, losing that school-board election and all, until I had to walk a mile in your shoes last fall,” Héctor explained.

The two were seated at their favorite table by the window at the Taberna Aztlán, watching Saturday-afternoon football on the widescreen TV while automobile horns blared and brake drums screeched outside on Highway 47.  Since the Villas’ return from Las Vegas some weeks before, Héctor had taken to spending more time away from home on evenings and weekends than had previously been his custom.  He’d found it easier by far to make satisfactory explanation to the house police at the MGM Grand Hotel than to AveMaría, and his nights the first week home had been spent on the Castro Convertible in the den.

Jesús “Eddie,” recalling his own humiliation at the polls, scowled and chucked a handful of popcorn toward the players.  “The f--king Anglos,”...

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