The Hundredth Meridian

The Hobbyist

The joyous return to Rancho Juárez was dampened, but in no way spoiled, by a certified letter awaiting Mr. and Mrs. Héctor Villa on their arrival.  Mailed from the Belen Municipal Court, it threatened their daughter with juvenile detention if she did not return within ten days’ time to complete her court-ordered work with Darfur Relief.  Héctor thought later that, had Judge Ulibarri known how much relief of an entirely different sort his letter would produce in the bosoms of the miscreant recipients, he probably wouldn’t have written it.  Terrorists or no terrorists, the Villas were going home, at last!  Héctor could not remember being so happy since he arrived in the U.S.A. twenty years before.

Meanwhile, the family gave thanks to God for the recovery of Contracepción, who seemed none the worse for her experience in Las Vegas save for a bruised artistic ego.  Siggy, it had become apparent to her after twenty-four hours, had no musical connections whatsoever in town but plenty of romantic ones, amounting to a kind of harem.  When she refused to cooperate with his plans for her on their second night together, he’d became abusive, and Contracepción had run from the apartment and spent the night sleeping in a chair at the bus station downtown.  Unshaken in her ambition to support herself in her quest to become the new Britney Spears, she’d...

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