From Chapter 13

Note:  If you haven’t already done so please read the Introduction to this book, first.  It will be helpful to better understand these sample chapter extracts.

The Comisario’s Band – Frank’s Body Parts

It was January and Severo’s kid band was four months old. The American Maestros accompanied Severo to Tucson to buy musical supplies and to give the music impresarios connected with the unlikely band venture a day off. Morey looked around the restaurant. “This is the same restaurant we came to when you let us out of jail, Severo. I didn’t know Mexicans like Chinese food.”

“Mexicans like everything everyone else likes,” Severo laughed. “We are limited only by our inability to pay for it, because most of us are so damned poor.”

“Hi there,” the waitress said, “aren’t you the same fellows who escaped from a Mexican jail a few months ago?”

Severo lifted his eyebrows in surprise.

Charley answered cheerfully, “Yeah, we’re the same guys who were in jail in Mexico, and this is the Comisario who arrested us and put us in his jail.”

“Is that right?” The inquisitive young woman asked, “I thought you couldn’t wait to get back to Los Angeles.”

“Well,” Charley chirped, “we decided to go back to jail instead of going to LA.”

“Are you serious?” The shocked waitress asked, while accepting a drink order from Severo.

“I’m very serious,” Charley assured her, “and we had an awful time getting back into Mexico. The first time we went illegally and we had no problem, but the second time was….”

“Charley,” Frank interrupted sighing, “let’s not go in to all of that. This sweet young lady isn’t interested in what happened to us.”

“Sure I am,” the engrossed Asian girl insisted. By the way my name is Jennell. “In fact I feel partly responsible for what happened to you,” she laughed. “I gave you those fortune cookies when you couldn’t make up your minds what to do. Remember? I eat those cookies all the time, but I’ve never found one with a message in it saying I should go to jail. And, I never found a message telling me I should travel to Mexico to be put in jail. Nobody wants to do that!”

“Well it’s a long story, honey,” Frank said, attempting to end the conversation.

“Okay,” she grinned and giggled. “I just thought I’d ask if you wanted another shot at the fortune cookies, but I guess not.”

As the Mexican chief-of-police and his musician friends drank and discussed the future of the band, Charley sipped his hot sake wine and thought about Lucia Bessera.  Lucia was a soft-spoken widow with two grown children.  Charley had been introduced to her the night of the fiesta.  Her sexy, slender build, warm smile, and ready laugh immediately got Charley’s attention.  During the course of that evening Charley learned that Señora Bessera had been married and gave birth to her first born when she was seventeen years old.  Her husband made a meager living for his family by making adobe bricks.  He dug the dirt, mixed the cattle manure, straw and water in his wheel barrow, and poured the thick muddy mixture into his hand made wooden molds.  The work was laborious, and baking bricks in his adobe brick oven was very hot precise work.  Lucia searched the scant desert for wood to feed the fire so the bricks could harden and made ready to be sold.  When there was no more wood to be gathered on the barren desert and no more buildings to be built, Lucia’s husband left her with a baby girl to care for and hitched a ride to the border with two of his friends.  In Nogales, Mexico, Lucia’s optimistic husband paid a immigration smuggler, a Coyote, one thousand pesos (one hundred dollars) to be pulled across the shallow Rio Grande River and onto the muddy banks of the United States.  He was driven to a wooded area on the Eastern outskirts of Nogales where an old man, clad only in a pair of shorts and worn tennis shoes, threw a small piece of water-soaked plywood onto a  black, inflated, rubber inner tube which had once been inside of an automobile tire.  The old man ordered Lucia’s husband to lie facedown on the plywood so his weight would keep the board from slipping off the make-shift raft.  The old man reached for a soggy rope attached to the plywood, flipped it over his head, slipped it under his raw, rope-burned arms and silently dragged the anxious aspirant across the infamous tributary separating the United States of Mexico from the United States of America.

Seven days later, Lucia’s husband was returned to Nogales, Mexico, in a truck carrying several wooden boxes containing dead illegal Mexican immigrants.  American authorities informed the Mexican authorities that Lucia’s husband was found dead from thirst and exposure, crawling on the Sonoran Desert between Nogales and Tucson, Arizona.

Grief-stricken, Lucia buried her husband in his wooden box, in the tiny cemetery of San Pedro, and with her Mother’s help delivered a baby boy in her one room adobe house.

Charley wondered how Lucia had managed to raise her children.  He wondered if her beauty and her perfect body had helped feed her mother and children.  He didn’t care.  He was attracted to her sensitivity and intelligence, as well as her beauty.

Lucia admired Charley’s musical talent, his temperament and his sincerity.

Although Lucia’s English was far from perfect, as was Charley’s Spanish, the Señora and the Gringo were immediately attracted to each other.  By the end of the fiesta, Lucia had invited Charley to her ‘casita’ for dinner the following evening.  Charley accepted after asking her to repeat the invitation, hoping he hadn’t misunderstood her.

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