the abyss that meanders everywhere
The bus is slowing. Brutus is awake, peering below the blind.
Federales, he says.
Roadblock? I say.
War games, he says.
Bus stops on a bridge, one of those big spans over the abyss that meanders everywhere, loops back, is always cutting this highway. Priest climbs on, dead ringer for Diego Rivera. Chubby, glasses, ideology like sweat.
The fugg is this? says Ajo.
Priest waves his cross, then starts moving up the aisle, taking donations. Behind him, skinny guy like Che Guevara, beret, beard and camouflage shirt, Tech 9 automatic.
Say nothing, do nothing, I say.
My wallet's in the hold, says Brutus.
Some bandit on the road is holding up pole picture of the Virgin Mary... or is it Frida Kahlo? Got a moustache. Must be Frida. Like a hex on the vampires in the bus.
The passengers obediently dump their pesos in the grab bag. Kid with the Tech 9 is jabbering at the driver, who is hidden in his well. Priest arrives at Ajo, looks him over quickly.
Your watch, senor, says the Priest.
You can have it, says Ajo.
Gracias, amigo, says the Priest, a Tag Hauer, I see.
Si, says Ajo.
I have a Rolex, says the Priest. I suspect it is a fake.
Usually is, says Ajo.
Wallet, says the Priest.
Ajo gives him his fat wallet. The Priest turns to me.
No watch? says the Priest.
No watch, I say.
You think you can cheat death? says the Priest. Your wallet, por favor.
You're Diego Rivera, I say.
You think so? says the Priest. Rivera is a communist.
Chrissakes give him your wallet, says Ajo.
Communism is simply a way of asserting his racial identity, I say.
I thought religion did that, says the Priest.
In Mexico religion divides the Indian, the mestizo, I say. Christianity is the oppressor.
What do you think is my best picture? says the Priest. I like my mural at the Palacio Nacional.
Propaganda, I say.
An ape in a cave could do better, says the Priest. Is that what you think?
Isn't that bad, I say.
You look like the Beatle, says the Priest.
John Lennon, I say.
Heh heh, says the Priest. Lennon, that's who you are.
The Priest looks at Brutus. Who is this big boy? he says. Your bodyguard?
Why would I need a bodyguard in Mexico? I say.
Hey Bodyguard, says the Priest. Why you pretend to sleep?
Montezuma, I say.
He's sick? says the Priest. Mexico make him sick?
Brutus is nudging me, is indicating the movie on the monitor.
Isn't that Cracker? says Brutus.
Robbie Coltrane, I say. Jesus, he's speaking Spanish.
So were you, says Brutus. Having a nightmare?
Just a little snooze, I say. Was wondering what it'd be like to be hijacked in Mexico.
What? says Brutus. Be held for ransom, get your ear cut off?
Something like that, I say. What's the movie?
Message In A Bottle, says Brutus.
Any good? I say.
Nah, says Brutus.
Looks sorta interesting, I say.
It sucks, man, says Brutus.
How would you know? I say. You like The Matrix.
So cool, says Brutus. Keenu Reeves is from Toronto.
So? I say.
I live in Toronto, says Brutus. Keenu got the mojo.
You're a mass of sensation, I say. Get dragged behind a pickup, you'd think it was cool.
Piss off, says Brutus. Go back to your dream.
Two Crimes »»»»
© Lawrence Russell
Culture Court 2000