(page 5 of 17)

Or maybe a passenger, the driver’s no-good cousin Victorio, for instance, has convinced Melchior to bypass Teques, heading instead to Chimitlan, where it’s said the women are uncommonly easy and have the power to pleasure men into temporary blindness. In that case, the bus will arrive whenever Melchior regains his vision.

Apparently Victorio and Angel go sightless in Chimitlan without Melchior’s companionship for I can see smoke from the red and white bus blacken the stony twilight. Melchior is behind the wheel. One eye larger than the other and teeth cut from the mouth of aging beast, Melchior has charms and amulets hanging throughout his heft. As the bus moves forward, Melchior jangles and jingles with it. We should feel safe with him, according to Litio. But in truth, Melchior is a terrible driver, involved in the infamous Zapote bus line crashes of 91, 92 and 94 (much of 93 was spent recovering from his previous injuries). As many will tell you, Melchior’s charms come exclusively from passengers, who insist he wear them while lighting a candle to an accident battered picture of a tense St. Christopher.

Once in the bus Litio tells me this: “I have caught sight of many things, been imprisoned by gringo mercenaries under the influence of clergy thugs, turned into a fire salamander by your grandmother’s worthless relatives, survived two floods, one the result of a spoiled child’s excessive tears, and been forced to eat the overvalued paper currency of Honduran magistrates.” Litio pauses to wipe cigarette ash off his grey pants. A young girl sitting in front of us, opens a window, greatly irritating Litio. He shows his annoyance by blowing plumes of smoke toward the girl. The smoke turns into biting gnats which attack the girl, forcing her to run crying to her mother who is in the process of losing her virginity for only the second time in her life.

We travel out of Teques on the new road, the one made possible by the powerful but portly Senator Luguzo Sanchez. The road provided the late senator better access to his mistress Carmen Salazar. According to local gossip, Carmen was two-timing the senator with Abel Sanchez, a schoolteacher. A scandal erupted when the senator, his ears burning with the news of his cheating mistress, traveled to our village to confront Abel. Being part intellectual and all coward, Abel quickly disappeared. Senator Sanchez, carrying a rusty revolver and a barber’s sharpened razor, walked the streets of Tequestitlan soaked in a vapor of unfulfilled vengeance. Seeking consolation he went to a heartbroken and suicidal Carmen, who accidentally killed the senator with the toxic yellow residue from the skin of a marsh toad---a poison meant for her. It was said that his last words were for all the Carmen‘s of the world, “I have no hope in death as mercy and justice deny me a name.”

Within several hours of a long bus ride, Litio reveals an old revolver he keeps tucked in his waistband. A broken relic, as vicious as a child’s toy, Litio waves the piece around like a revolutionary in search of a revolution.

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About Mario J Gonzales


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Fresno born, Parlier bred. Parents saved each penny to ensure that my failures would be grand ones. Have an enzyme disorder which makes my skin yellowish when ill--somewhat like Homer Simpson. Overeducated, but not enough to have acquired street smarts. Kind of enjoy ice sculptures and can remain stoic when...read more they have melted. That's about it.
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