Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-x

Contents

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pp. xi-xii

Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

Part 1

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1. Sex As a Political Condition

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pp. 3-20

A man on a horse galloped across a field. Suddenly, something squeaked in the bathroom. Honoré, sitting in his favorite chair next to a window, paused, ignored the noise and continued reading. The man raised a saber as he charged the Spanish troops aiming their rifles. Th en gunshots. Ears ringing, Honoré stopped, as the riderless horse galloped across the field of his mind. But the gunshots were not gunshots. It was his wife Maruca...

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2. The Tin Men

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pp. 21-34

A week later, Honoré still had not recovered from his encounter with the tree. In fact, he was having trouble sleeping at night. Then he began hearing strange noises outside his bedroom window. One night, even though the window was shut, Honoré heard it—soft and hollow, loud as an unearthly voice and lonely like a muted oboe. “Boooo!”...

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3. Death of the Tin Men

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pp. 35-53

If the idiots had paid Honoré with a check instead of green-eyed Washingtonians stuffed in duffel bags, his hands wouldn’t have gotten dirty—and he’d be home by now. Though he didn’t know what that dirtiness consisted of, he knew, after counting hundreds of dollars in small bills, it was there—a fine dust that clung to his fingers and reminded him of the old days when he and Tequila sat in a swanky Dallas hotel suite, counting millions...

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4. Black Hole—Or the Horrors of Good Sex

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pp. 54-77

Usually, Honoré heard the sound of a hammer driving a nail home on the weekends, late Saturday or all day Sunday, when the men were home from work and the sky was bright and sunny. It reminded him of his childhood, when his father built their house, when his mother didn’t work, when he and his cousins played cowboys and Indians in the arroyo that emptied...

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5. Deconstructing Olive Oyl

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pp. 78-108

Clouds sparkled in the morning sky. While long lines of cars crowded the bridge’s northbound lanes, the side taking Honoré and Trotsky across the Rio Grande to Nuevo Escandón was empty. Not only had Honoré survived the mission to rescue Tequila but Trotsky had returned earlier than expected. Now they were headed to a press conference organized by Don Sixto at his shop in support of opposition leaders traveling from Lucero to protest...

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6. The Governor and the Hog

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pp. 109-133

A hog roared. Loud and frightening as a fighter jet strafing an anti-aircraft installation on a ship, the motorcycle belched and howled and throbbed down the strip. The Governor.
Honoré, getting up from his desk, smiled. Reluctantly. First because his neck was still sore. Second because asking his old sidekick for help wasn’t a good idea. At one time the Governor, Tequila, and he had smuggled tons...

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7. Sex

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pp. 134-150

Standing at home in the room once occupied by the death-dealing Th ird World technology of the Cold War, Honoré gazed at the two birds in the cage. Moving their beaks this way and that, caressing each other’s necks, kissing, stroking each other’s feathers, they made sweet noises, tweeting. At one time, his marriage had been like this. Everything seemed full of...

Part 2

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8. Nopal and a Glass of Water

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pp. 153-169

Blue kept the demons away. Not only did the Toltecs paint the interior of their homes blue for that reason, but that was the color Frida Kahlo had painted the exterior of her house in Mexico City, a few blocks from where Trotsky had lived with his aunt in Coyoacán while an undergraduate at the University of the Americas. More importantly, years later, when he awoke screaming in the middle of the night, he would stagger to the living room...

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9. A Nudist Colony

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pp. 170-188

A lazy sunset flung a Mexican zarape, woven from streaks of orange and red, across the warm evening as Honoré drove the truck in the northbound lane through Escandón. Trotsky rode shotgun, his black hair frolicking like a war bonnet in the breeze as he gazed at the hundreds of cars from Mexico in the mall’s parking lots. Palm trees, like flamingos preening on long, slender legs, stood in a row along the highway. In the southbound...

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10. Idiots

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pp. 189-201

Next morning, vehicle upon vehicle stood in line, drivers in the driver’s seat, American flags tied to antennas yawning in a soft breeze, Nicaraguan flags fluttering like white doves. The KMEX and KAOS vans were parked in the street next to the church, and two young men with oily copper arms in white T-shirts wandered about with cameras on their shoulders, accompanied by Conchita Terrazas. Shirley English, on the other hand, was...

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11. Nothing Personal, Strictly Political

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pp. 202-218

Amid the dust, the smell of exhaust, and the rumble of thirty-some-odd vehicles lining up on a dirt road behind him, Honoré waited in his pickup. Ahead, the Commander’s truck shivered like a feverish old woman as exhaust sputtered from its tailpipe. While Altagracia sat next to Honoré, Trotsky waited outside the door on the passenger’s side. Suddenly, something...

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12. The Governor of Texas and Other Rednecks

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pp. 219-231

Silver bullets shone on a thick black belt under a sagging belly that smelled of bacon and beans as the cops dragged Honoré to the squad car, shoved him in the back seat, and slammed the door in his face. The car spun amid broken glass and burnt rubber; sirens screaming, it sped up Washington Avenue to the county jail four blocks away, where a bunch of faces stared...

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13. La Rubia Superior

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pp. 232-246

Arms outstretched and hands nailed to a wooden cross, the crucified Christ hung on a wall facing a flock of brightly painted birds suspended from the ceiling by wires. On the other wall, He hung on a cross of rusted metal. On the wall next to the door, He was a figure woven from straw with a red ribbon tied around his waist. In prints of the Savior, he was a...

Part 3

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14. King of the Mountain

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pp. 249-274

Honoré didn’t want to leave. But he had to, having given his word. So he came to say good-bye. After dumping his duffel bag on the porch, he walked inside the house his father built for his mother thirty years ago and headed down the hall to her bedroom, where he found her lying in a brass bed amid silver rays of sunlight from the window while Maruca wiped...

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15. Mexico City

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pp. 275-297

Honoré sped along the meshed wire fence dividing the six-lane periférico. As if full-blown ads had been cut from the pages of Vanity Fair and erected as billboards on both sides of the loop around the city, the white faces of young men and women greeted the bumper-to-bumper traffic with gorgeous smiles. On the side of a three-storey building, a gigantic woman in...

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16. Oaxaca, Zaragoza, and La Mesilla

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pp. 298-323

Gray, soft, and radiant as a pigeon’s wing, a triangle of light fell across the wooden floor. At first Honoré thought he was back in Texas as he lay at the edge of the sofa until the honking of cars and the sound of men’s voices coming through the open window reminded him of the Tenampa Bar and the police raid. He rose on an elbow in the fresh morning air and looked around—he was in a hotel room in Mexico City. Then he glanced at his...

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17. Guatemala

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pp. 324-343

Honoré didn’t believe in ghosts. Yet he could not shake the suspicion that, among the flashlights bobbing in the hands of the rifle-toting teenagers in fatigues, a lot more was going on around him than he could see at three in the morning. Across the border in La Mesilla, buildings stood in shadows and laughter echoed while a cumbia throbbed from a cantina somewhere. Suddenly, a lightning bolt flashed across the sky. A loud clap followed, then ...

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18. El Caballero y El Cabrón

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pp. 344-364

Cobblestones made walking difficult, so Honoré and Trotsky took it slowly as they approached the church at the foot of the hill. Children’s voices rose and fell as they kicked a red ball across the plaza, scaring white pigeons into sudden flight. There wasn’t a soldier in sight, and the air was fresh. Though the village was beautiful, Honoré had no desire to live here. Instead, he was surprised by how much he missed Texas—plain, arid, hot...

Part 4

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19. Mexican Curios

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pp. 367-378

The Governor lowered the flag. In fits and starts, it slid down the pole as he pulled the rope while Trotsky watched from where he stood in front of the A-frame. Three weeks earlier, in a frenzy to cross the border in the middle of the night, members of the convoy had packed their things at the last minute but forgot the fl ag Molly had embroidered. Th e Governor unhooked...

Glossary of Spanish/Spanglish Terms

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pp. 379-390

About the Author

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pp. 391-391