Monthly Archives: November 2014
Friends and readers have been asking for another peek into my new novel, PLAY, MARIACHIS, PLAY! It’s all about a group of Americans, three guys and a very pretty girl, who are sent to Tecate to establish a manufacturing facility. Well, it turns out that during the course of a reading, Marcelina, Tecate’s venerable practitioner of scatomancy, foretold the whole story from a few splatters of duck shit – before the Americans even made it across the border! I recently found Marcelina doing a reading for a friend of mine on a neighboring ranch and I got this shot. If you ever need to know what lies ahead in your life, this is the place.
As long as we’re peeking into the new novel, you might as well meet Sabrina, the attractive señorita who bought a tall , handsome American for $250. At twenty-six, Sabrina grew tired of the charming, gallant, and unfaithful machos of Tecate. Somewhere around page-12 she answered an ad that read: MEET AMERICAN MEN AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. This brought her to Treenie Contreras, Tecate’s Peter Lorre lookalike. Treenie claims to be Tecate’s only state licensed matchmaker. The truth is is Treenie keeps a number of official municipal and state government credentials in his pocket to meet the need at hand. Treenie is also a Peter Lorre soundalike and spoke to her in a low pharyngeal whisper. “I have just the man for you, tall, good looking, blue eyes and hair the color of ripe wheat at harvest time.” The guacamole really hit the fan when a young American of that description arrived in Tecate and discovered he had been sold like a kilo of pork chops.
Now that you’ve read the first chapter of PLAY, MARIACHIS, PLAY! I thought I would introduce you to some of the characters who inhabit these pages. Last week I happened to spot Tecate’s Peter Lorre lookalike hiding behind a newspaper. He’s known locally as that sneaky scoundrel Treenie Contreras. It appears to me that he’s on some shady assignment and anyone here will tell you there’s nothing Treenie can’t do for a fee.
Dear friends and readers. My new novel is available on Amazon Kindle on 12 November. I thought you might enjoy a peek at chapter one.
A troupe of mariachis, with their happy brown faces, and fiesta smiles under resplendent sombreros studded with silver, gathered around my corner table at La Fonda and surrounded us with a glittering melody, sweet as a kiss, painful as love. Weeping violins, plaintive guitars, and a sweet trumpet that could break your heart, spilled into the restaurant. My dinner guest was Kinsee Morlan, a young journalist from San Diego. It was easy to see she was enraptured. I ordered another margarita for both of us.
“What was that!” she gasped.
“El Pistón must be in the bar. You’ll meet him later,” I promised.
Kinsee was here to gather local color for an article she was doing for San Diego CityBeat. I ordered dinner, and over a hot plate of enchiladas, rice, and beans, I related the whole story of the Guacamole Gang as foretold by a few splaters of duck poop.
When I concluded my narrative I saw an unmistakable expression of doubt in Kinsee’s dark amber eyes.
“How can a duck make a prophecy!” She did not phrase it as a question.
“Marcelina, our local psychic did the actual reading,” I explained.
“What’s to read?”
“It’s called scatomancy.”
My guest looked pensive now. She twisted her lips into a wry pucker which I figured had to do with the fiery salsa she was dipping into. Then I recognized the sarcastic grimace characteristic of the born skeptic.
“You’re telling me Marcelina is a poop psychic? I don’t want to believe it.”
“All this happened back in those halcyon days before 9/11, those happy days when you could get on a plane without taking your clothes off, and the only terrorists we were acquaintaed with were in thriller novels.”
“And kids didn’t pack a gun to school.”
“Exacto. And you could go to a movie reasonably sure you wouldn’t be shot dead before it was over. And in those days Mexican border officers would considerate it highly discourteous to search a visitor’s car for explosives. And your driver’s license and a smile were all you needed to re-enter the U.S. But everything I told you came to pass. You see, here in Tecate, we merely play our role in life at the whim of Doña Fortuna.”
“You call her Lady Fate in your country.”
I hid a smile. Here in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, we have long known that reality can be a major cause of stress. And yet Americans seem so obsessed with it. Get real is a popular American aphorism. T.S. Elliot once said, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” Well, here in Tecate we licked that problem faster than you can say Popocatepetl.
Shortly after the conquistadores invaded our shores, we exchanged reality for illusion. Things got better immediately. But the Spaniards also arrived with a monster called Time. Well, Quetzalcoatl, the great Aztec chief, ordered the tyrant brought to the altar where the high priests ripped out his clock – while it was still ticking! And Time died. Then Doña Fortuna came sweeping down just like Athena did on a previous occasion, and made an announcement.
“Sheath your swords, paisanos! From this day on I’m in charge here and you might as well know there is no armor against Fate.”
Our first thought, of course, was to bribe her, but it didn’t take us long to discover that Fate is incorruptible. The end result is that today in our little pueblo it is impossible to distinguish truth from fantasy. I tell you all this because you too might find the adventures of the Guacamole Gang put a strain on your belief system. But believe me, the whole story will hold up under the lamp of truth. I actually met all the players. I saw the whole thing happen. I heard the sweet love songs, the gunshots. I saw the tears, the hugs and kisses, and the