I sprint to the door, struggle with the lock and finally yank the damn thing open only to find my buddy, Carlos, grinning in the moonlight.
“Hola Señor Bob.”
“What brings you by at this late … or is it an early hour … I would suggest this is an early hour rather than late. Late would indicate …”
Carlos interrupts my dissertation on early versus late with, “Señor Bob, I’ve got these 17 people I’d like you to meet. We’ve been walking since nightfall and could all use a little TLC and a chance to use your bathroom.”
“Sure enough Carlos, get these tired folks in here.”
I turn and yell into our dark and empty living room, “Josefina, Josefina, Boner we’ve got guests.”
Carlos ushers this motley gang of dirty and tired people into our modest living room. I’m bringing in the dining room chairs when Josefina comes out of the bedroom in her lavender, see-through, baby-doll pajamas. Our Mexican guests let out one huge sigh as if they’re all reading from the same hymnal. The three young women in the group all look away seemingly in embarrassment while their men folk just sort of lick their lips and shift around in their chairs. The silence of the moment is shattered when Boner comes into the room wearing his usual nightwear, an overly large tee shirt that hangs to his knees and shows his huge jutting boner in the best possible light. The women immediately hide their faces in their hands while the men just gape enviously. The four young children in the group all stare at Boner’s boner for a few minutes and then begin to giggle hysterically.
I stop the giggling and break up the uneasiness with, “What will you folks all have to drink … we’ve got … let’s see … water, milk, soda … I think we’ve got Coke and Dr. Pepper … coffee, tea, beer … tequila … and maybe even some Scotch if Boner hasn’t drunk it all.”
No one says anything. I think they are too stunned by their first impressions of our wholesome American home. Seeing an old lady in baby doll pajamas assisted by a man with biggest erection this side of the porno hall of fame is more than their righteous Catholic hearts can take.
I break the silence again with, “How many hands do I have for water?”
Seven shyly raise their hands and so it goes until everyone has placed their drink order. Carlos stands and introduces each of the shy and embarrassed members of his party to their hosts: Señora Josefina, Señor Bob and Señor Boner. I wonder if boner translates into Spanish as an erection. The Spanish word for an erection is erección, almost the same as it is in English but I don’t know the Mexican slang word for an erect penis. My English/Spanish dictionary is no help at all. Oh, I forgot to mention that Carlos is a coyote or as we like to think, a tour guide leading a group on a one-way adventure into a new world and a whole new life.
Josefina serves the drinks as Carlos, Boner, a guy from the group named Rodolfo and I go out to the barn to set up folding army cots and break out the blankets and pillows so these travelers can spend what is left of the night in as much comfort as we can provide. Fortunately it isn’t meal time. We’ve never had a visitor that could stomach Josefina’s cooking. I remember how startled this young Mexican girl was when she tried to feed Josefina’s finely prepared lunch to César. César took one look at the runny beans, the gooey rice and the burnt and broken taco shells and took off. It’s pretty bad when a goat won’t eat your food. César eats everything. Everything that is everything except Josefina’s cooking.
I’ve got to put a bathroom in the barn. Do you know what it’s like for 21 people to share two bathrooms in the morning? Think back to camp or maybe even the military where every morning is like the seventh inning stretch at the ball park. I pee outside in a bush and join Josefina and Carlos in the kitchen. Josefina is serving everyone her weak and overly sweet coffee. I make a cup of instant coffee for myself and notice as I look out of the kitchen window that many of our guests are watering our cacti with Josefina’s coffee. Wait until Josefina serves breakfast, then you’ll see some truly inventive food disposal techniques. No guest, no matter how destitute and starving, has ever eaten all of one of Josefina’s meals. The Mexicans are all too polite and too thankful to tell her that her food really sucks.
This pretty young girl, Maria, comes in from the barn and offers to help Josefina make breakfast. Boner and I look at each other and Boner says, “Takatifu fuck.”
“I totally agree,” I say as if I understand Boner.
Josefina asks Maria to brown the tortillas while she fries the eggs and reheats some leftover beans she dug out of the freezer. “Maria, try not to burn the …”
She is interrupted by Carlos bursting through the door yelling, “Señor Bob … the policía, the policía!”
I run to the door to see the dust cloud of a car speeding up the gravel road to our house. “Carlos, get everyone into the barn and stay there until I come get you. Maria, hurry to the barn with all of those tortillas.”
“Si señor,” Carlos yells over his shoulder as he runs from the house. Maria is right behind him with an arm load of tortillas.
Minutes later a Luna County Sheriff’s car pulls up to our house. Out climbs my old nemesis, the harmless but dumb as dirt, Deputy Dip-Shit.
“Good morning Deputy, what brings you out here so early in the morning?”
“I need to talk to you, Bob. There’s been another complaint.”
“Okay, come on in and have some coffee and tell me all about it. If that pecker-head neighbor of mine has been calling you to complain about something I’m going to … er … do something …
Deputy Dip-Shit interrupts with, “No, it’s not him this time, it’s the feds.”
Deputy Dip-Shit says hello to Josefina and Boner, takes off his big cowboy hat and sits down at our kitchen table.
“Smells awfully good Josefina. How’s it hangin’ Boner? Heh, heh.” He laughs at his own little joke. Don’t you hate people that laugh at their own jokes especially when they aren’t funny? Boner hasn’t been “hangin” in a hell of a long time.
Josefina serves Deputy Dip-Shit a cup of her finest coffee. I wait to see the expression on his face as he lifts the cup for his first sip. “Damn that’s … uh … uh … hot,” he utters in a cross between a moan and a cry of agony as his eyes roll back in his head. He unconsciously scoots the cup across the table as he regains his little bit of composure. I’m willing to bet he won’t touch that cup again.
“Er … Bob. We got this call from the Homeland Security folks over at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. They’re the people that fly the drones along the border for the Border Patrol. Anyway, they say you’ve been shooting at their drones again. I thought we talked about this before and you promised me you wouldn’t be doin’ that anymore.”
“I don’t remember shooting at any drones. I did shoot at a hawk circling the place the other day. The damn thing looked like he was going to attack so I fired off a couple of rounds just to scare it off.”
Just as Deputy Dip-Shit is about to speak we hear a toilet flush and one of our Mexican guests emerges from the bathroom. He takes one look at Deputy Dip-Shit and bolts for the front door.
“Who in the hell was that?”
“That’s uh … that’s uh … Pablo. He’s helping me with some work around here.”
“What kind of work? You don’t do anything to need any help with.”
“You were saying before Pablo interrupted you?”
“Oh yeah Bob, they’ve got your picture. That Predator drone can read and photograph a license plate here on the ground.”
“That sounds like an invasion of privacy to me. Anyone who can photograph me standing in my own front yard minding my own business deserves to be shot at. I’m not saying I did it or anything, but if I did, they sure as hell deserve it.”
“Bob, listen to me. That drone travels at 240 knots per hour at 19,000 feet. We’re at roughly 4,000 feet … that puts it at … let’s see … almost three miles above us. You ain’t gonna hit it with your deer rifle, so quit pissing these people off. The next call you get won’t be from me, it’ll be from the FBI.”
“Deputy, if I had a Peeping Tom, peeking through my windows even after I’d chased him away a number of times, could I legally shoot him?”
“I don’t know Bob, you’d have to warn him and be in some sort of danger before you could claim self defense or an invasion of privacy.”
“Okay, I’m warning you now that I feel I’m in danger. Big Brother is casing this place for I don’t know what. I can’t scratch my ass without drawing the blinds and Josefina can’t drop her drawers without some Fed in another state getting a hard-on. Is that anyway to …”
“You’re just gonna have to deal with it. This is much bigger than you and me.”
“You said it travels at 19,000 feet. I just need to figure out the windage and elevation for a target traveling at two hundred knots an hour three miles away. Let’s see, my rounds travel at 2700 feet per second and our altitude here is 4064 feet. The ballistics of my ammo indicates a 55 inch line-of-site drop at 500 yards. I can figure this shit out ...”
“Quit that Bob, you ain’t gonna hit that drone, so knock it off before you get into real trouble.”
“Thanks for stopping by Deputy,” I say as I stand and head for the door. Deputy Dip-Shit thanks Josefina for the coffee and says goodbye to Boner.
Boner shakes his hand and says, “Kwaheri, na riddance nzuri.”
I walk Deputy Dip-Shit to his car and as he heads on down the road I go to the barn to check on our guests.
They are all gone. They’ve left nothing behind except full cups of coffee.