What is this town he has taken us to? Who are these angry people?
Luna eases his car over a big bump.
You know what this is called? he says.
Tope, I say.
A sleeping policeman, says Luna.
The exhaust pipe grates on the bump.
Ouch, says Brutus. There goes the muffler...
Is nada, says
Stream of people heading into the plaza.
What's going on here? says Ajo.
They protest something, says
They're pissed, says Ajo. Big time.
They want a sewer, says Luna.
Who can say.
Maybe get rid of the sleeping policemen, I say.
We skirt the edge of the zocalo, just like the one I'm
reading about in the newspaper. Here's how it goes:
Bunch of men without their shirts stand with their hands tied
behind their backs, like a group of bandits or flagellants from an Easter
parade. Big ones, small ones, mostly fat ones. Some with moustaches, big Zapata
moustaches, small Cuban moustaches. Head up, defiant. Head down, humiliated.
Young guy with a hailer is addressing the crowd as others
splash gas around the feet, the boots, of their hostages.
A bad situation, says Luna.
Paper says the students are
threatening to set fire to the cops, I say. All because a couple of them got
There will be other issues, says Luna.
A burning donkey lunges out, almost collides. The fire is in its
sling packs. Bucks wildly in the narrow calle to the screams of women. A
man tries to throw a blanket over it. Kids dance and laugh. Donkey skitters
down a side lane, a short man in pursuit.
That was close, says Ajo. Jeeze.
Got insurance, Luna? I say.
Senor, how is it in your country? says Luna. If a burro is on fire
and it jumps on your car, you have insurance?
In Mexico City
- In Mexico City you can have your car fixed on the spot by
renegade mechanics who patrol the streets on skateboards
- In Mexico City you can have a love letter written by a blind
typist who sits in a public square
- In Mexico City you can relieve an itch by rubbing yourself
against a slab of tezontle stone, otherwise known as blood stone,
otherwise known as building stone
- In Mexico City you can see a phalanx of bikers on the Avenue of
the Dead and their widows holding up petitions outside The Ministry of the
- In Mexico City you can be fondled, groped and fucked in the
rushhour crush on the subway and not realize it
- In Mexico City you can dine in the Zona Rosa with a personality
from TV Azteca, watch him get shot as he leaves the restaurant
- In Mexico City you can visit The Museum of the Unknown Culture
with a bag over your head (if they let you see it, you know it is
- In Mexico City you can count the earthquake cracks, or the
earthquake survivors in the earthquake cracks
- In Mexico City you can photograph doorways with bullet holes,
photograph bullet holes, photograph the unknown, unaccountable holes
- In Mexico City you can watch Canada defeat Mexico in a soccer
match, watch the NHL in Spanish, watch people watching federales
- In Mexico City you can climb steps that lead to an invisible
door in a red wall for invisible people
- In Mexico City you can ride to the top of the Latin America
tower, imagine you can see volcanos in the distance
- In Mexico City you can see the Golden Angel from your room,
your street, your taxi but never discover its location
- In Mexico City you can buy a picture of Frida Kahlo making love
to Leon Trotsky or visit a bordello and make love to Leo Trotsky or Frida Kahlo
- In Mexico City you can drink tequila for five pesos a shot or
twenty pesos a shot and still not remember what you paid
- In Mexico City you can eat a taco or a taco can
- In Mexico City you can buy a rosary, buy a cross, buy the
Virgin of Guadalupe on a pin head
- In Mexico City you can be a taxi driver after you've
successfully robbed three Mexicans or one tourist
- In Mexico City you can walk all day, never leave the street you
started out on
- In Mexico City you can have your ear cut off, have it sent to
your relatives or buy it back at The Hard Rock Cafe
- In Mexico City you can watch the parrots in the lobby of the
Gran Hotel and never leave the bar
- In Mexico City you can wear a gas mask without being considered
hip or criminally insane
- In Mexico City you can be a security guard if you own, borrow
or steal a gun
- In Mexico City you can be a priest if you can get a coyote to
bring you chickens
- In Mexico City you can be Irish if you have the letter D
branded on your forehead
- In Mexico City you can speak Spanish and no one will believe
- In Mexico City you can have a pet as long as you eat it and
don't make a mess
- In Mexico City you can have a toilet and it's no big deal
- In Mexico City you can have an Aztec flashback, an Aztec watch,
- In Mexico City you can buy flowers from women who grow them in
- In Mexico City you can pretend to be B. Traven or the lover of
Dolores del Rio or B. Traven, the lover of Dolores del Rio
- In Mexico City you can surf the Net for one hour and get a free
drink for 25 pesos
- In Mexico City you can meet Colombians who wear gold chains and
get to know them as human beings
- In Mexico City you can look at the murals if you surrender your
passport or your spouse
- In Mexico City you can buy a lottery ticket from a dog called
Morales or from his mistress who is the widow of a man called Morales
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