© Copyright 2002 by Jerry Vilhotti
To their left the Sierra Madras, where Bogey got his due for being so end-run greedy, stretched boldly and beautifully as Joe the cabby, who had relatives in Chicago and had done a few years in "Cover my back" Texas where hyphenated Americans had joined the haters who had stolen a big chunk of their mother country's land delighting in leading the world in its capital punishment killings even enjoying in snuffing out insane people and yet still taking great pride in expounding in their houses of worship that life was a very very sacred thing, told Johnny and Linda Ann that much of Mexico was sandwiched between two mountain ranges.
When Joe spoke divided United States, which he did more fluently than Johnny, he drove about ten miles an hour so involved in what he was saying; then, to make up for the lost time, he would speed around ninety miles an hour downhill - yelling many Mexican curse words at the cab for its five miles an hour uphill climbs.
Not long into the journey from San Luis Potosi to San Miquel Allende - that the Burywater travel agent had told them in her most condescending manner that a little inch on a map was about five or six miles - Johnny thought it was all going to end abruptly since coming at them was a bus going faster than they while at the same time Joe was having the hardest time passing a truck whose driver seemed to be taking great offense at being passed.
Braced, with his head deep into the headrest, Johnny fought the urge to close his eyes tightly and shout: We're not going to fucking make it!!!!!
Somehow Joe managed to squeeze between the two vehicles and once again they were able to look serenely at the majestic mountains, that now resembled for Johnny the ass cheeks of the actor who played a quiet man in a long ago movie, and deep valleys far far below; meandering beside old old rivers.
Joe said it was the way he tucked in his shoulders that enabled them to get through the almost head-on crash. This tucking in of shoulders would happen four more times with Johnny and Linda Ann vehemently joining in the maneuver.
After the mini-tornado engulfed them for nearly thirty seconds, which had Johnny wondering where the earth had gone while Linda Ann was thinking she had become Dorothy of Oz, only for Joe's shouting that this kind of thing often happened in the desert and it was all OK did they come back to a semblance of a reality.
With the trip almost half done Johnny and Linda became very concerned when the car began to putter to a halt but Joe managed to get the choking to death cab half off the road.
Now what was deeply buried inside Johnny's mind began entering his thoughts; put there by all the movies depicting Mexicans as the heavies like when attacking The Alamo and their attempt at taking back Texas and other places that once belonged to them after they had taken it from the out-gunned indigenous folks. So Johnny began to casually look about him for the ambush by men wearing large brimmed hats and ammunition belts criss-crossed on their chests while twirling tremendously large machetes at the ready to hack them to little pieces - especially if they didn't "HMO" ( hand money over) pronto and even if they did, Johnny thought, he could still see their bodies being thrown to their deaths into the deep valley below in an extra strong pay back the gringo fling.
"This damn car!" Joe said reaching into the glove compartment; pulling out what appeared to be a screwdriver. He grinned at Johnny - just like the bandido had at the guy who often played God's voice in movies.
"Hey Linda, here's where the bandidos show up!"
Her giggle almost went out of control as she looked behind and to her sides in nearly one head sweep.
Within minutes, Joe was starting the car and the bucking and coughing had miraculously vanished.
The whole eighty mile trip took about three hours with Joe capping it all off by driving them right into the center of town in front of its biggest restaurant; having been told by Linda Ann how they hadn't eaten for thirty hours since their complimentary meal was left behind in Monterey; twenty minutes before they went looking for the sound of the "come and get it" bell that her "know it all" husband had insisted was just the first call.
Fifty children came running toward them yelling the name of the city splashed all over the cab.
Johnny gave Joe the eighty dollars he had promised after Joe told them their bus ride would last twenty hours or so with a thousand people crammed in a bus that could hold only two hundred with flying chickens pecking at their eyes and only when Joe agreed to drop his fare by twenty dollars - they had been on their way; on their way.
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