Spring 2011 — THE POTOMAC

Like Water from Cactus:

or, three views of a single crime on the Arizona—Mexico border

  Brett Alan Sanders

The almost sardonic allusion in one of the following accounts to a mythological Garden of the Rio Grande flowing beneath the soil of the Arizonian desert is strangely evocative (one can only suppose quite by accident!) not only of Hispanicist John A. Crow's discussion, in Spain: The Root and the Flower, of the mystical ecstasies that the relative trickle of the Guadalquivir must have produced in the Moorish conquerors of Al—Andalus, but in the language of the Holy Qu'ran itself: "God has promised to believers ... gardens under which rivers flow." (Dr. Zoraida M. Cervantes, professor of Arabic studies, Autonomous University of the Free Balkanized Republic of Arizona)

They come down on him for failure to yield at that corner stop sign, coasting through it like nobody's business. That's not the way I saw it — I'm telling you right now, mi amigo — but that's the shit that pinche police officer was letting fly with as he come sauntering over. Some big cojones, you know what I'm saying? Hitching up his belt like some goddamn fucking immigration cop? Cinching up those tea bags like the chingada his mama and the puta lady governor with her open—season—on—illegals legislation? They jumped on him anyhow, insists that lard—ass patrolman, for blasting through a stop sign they weren't even nowheres near seeing. They come driving around the block nearly a goddamn century later and he's already parked. Halfway out of the car and headed for the taqueria. Ordered two nopal and lengua—de—vaca tacos, half a pitcher of cheap Mexican cerveza to wash them down, and he's halfway through with all that by the time they fucking mosey up — ho say can you see, they're saying, by this dawn's early light, that little greaser standing there eating that greasy beaner food? Hey greaser—boy, they say, you got your papers in order? We been watching you, see, watched you sail through that stop sign, like you're too good to follow civilized Amerizonian laws, and my partner here saying to me, something about that boy just don't seem right, there ought to be a law against him, you know what I mean, and then it occurs to us both that come to think of it there is a law, and boy you just don't look like you belong in this country.

That's when I beat the hell out of there, you know what I'm saying, mi amigo? Later I hear how it all went down. Boy got a little too saucy. Cactus juice dripping down his chinny—chin—chin from that nopalito taco, you get the picture, and before you got time to say chinga—tu—mama—la—puta—la—chingada—la—mamohetana they got him spread—eagle across one of them little reinforced—plastic tables with his face stuffed into someone's fucking burrito. Hands cuffed behind his head, then, they hustle him off to the back of their black—and—white ice—cream—sundae cop car with its flavor—of—the—day merry—chino cherry on top, down on the floor with a jab or two — on the sly — to his own aching bags, if you get my point. The candy—assed gordito who done all the talking's meanwhile ripping through the pages of some terrorist—type manual the perp had on him, with some big plans to blow the whole pinche lot of us to kingdom come. Listen, mi amigo, you can believe me, I got this little jewel from my main man Enrique, who got it from the goddamn donkey's mouth himself, poor old pothead Joaquin whose burrito got smashed up inside the little haji's screaming nostrils. Look to me like this time the pinche policia just happen accidental—like on some bonafide Mohammedan conspirator, man, like the fucking raghead hijo de la chingada was all holed up in our little community so's he could pass himself off as just another hijo de mojadito like any other desert wetback, child of immigrant parents wading through the seeping moist sands of this goddamn Aridzonian desert. In the hand he wasn't eating with he had that book, its pages all filled up with foreign jibber—jabber, the picture of some pinche jihadist suicide bomber on its cover. Inside — if you don't believe me just ask Enrique, his homeboy Joaqin swears up and down on the whitewashed bones of the chingada his santa madre that he seen them — inside of that book there were these little pornos, sketches of the putas—their—belly—dancing—mail—order—brides, with only their faces covered with shawls or burqas or something. Representations, no doubt, of the luscious virgins those pinche Arab Obama—ladins got waiting for them in some goddamn Al—lah—la Land in the Jardin del Rio Grande, flowing somewhere under these desert sands somewhere in their fucking fried—brain—taquito imaginations.

They were out patrolling, halfway through another tombstone shift, that time of night when only the riff—raff's up and about — the riff—raff and all the rest of us who, with these foreigners all over the place, ain't got no choice but to be out peddling our wares at that hour of the darksome night. Yeah, okay, that's me all right: poetess of the midnight effing hour, selling my round white ass and honeyed tits to whoever's calling, irrespective of race, creed, or party line. You said it and I ain't denying. Just so long as it helps me keep up with my rent and puts a safe stash of reefer in the fridge. Girl's gotta take care of herself these days.

Like I was saying, anyway, it was a couple hours after they picked up that socialist bastard, that pusher of foreign revolutionary propaganda, of what some talking heads on the Free BR—Ass channel are always calling slithering reptilian bilingualism — or liberal Quebecker separatism — or empty—headed multiculturalist balkanization or the like — that the tall quiet one of those two cops showed up at my window. Soon as he'd made his little show of rattling at its loosely mounted pane, mock—shouting "Po—LEESE!" before busting in the front door with the key I'd long ago made for him, the old geezer I'd been dry—humping for what seems like the last millennium of seconds scarcely had time to catch hold of a corner of his britches and tumble out that same window before his place on the bed was taken.

Tall—Blond—and—Handsome collapsed into my ever welcoming arms and began unburdening himself of his frustrations, all the while making absent—minded love to his favorite of my once—perky breasts. While I with the hand not occupied in holding my head up, in an attitude of sympathetic attention to his every tortured word, tickled his sagging sac and began the tedious work of making his poker stand up and salute me. The sun, meanwhile, casting its first tentative glow on the eastern horizon, while this big lug of a law—and—order guardian of the Arizona—Mexico border almost cries over the contents of the trunk of that beat—up old jalopy the jungle—swinging howler monkey was driving. The tiny space of it a veritable warehouse of revolutionary secrets and plottings.

Si, conozco al muchacho. I know him all right. Yes, just as you say. I met him, as I already told you in my deposition, down at the community college. Yes, you know the place. That bastion of subversive scholarship where, till just the other day, the pinche profes were getting away with exposing the Dark as well as Bright Side of the Moon of domestic and foreign policies of our now—fractured Mother Republic. That's where I met him, yes. And ever since then I have often joined him in poring over the very "tracts" (so—called) that the FBR's finest so perspicaciously unearthed while searching the car — where he kept them, to be sure, quite out in the open. You could even call them the substance of our shared religion, I won't deny it, the center of all the plotting that I, his free—thinking girlfriend and cohort, was promiscuously engaged in with him, and for more of which I was just sitting down to at the very moment your proto—fascist peacekeepers determined to grab him up for the unforgivable subversion of reading — in the original and vile language of Pan—American revolution, to boot! — a medical—school student's and future Marxist freedom fighter's youthful motorcycle diaries. That's why the good officers arrested him, isn't it? Never mind the polite fiction of "lawful contact," the minor traffic violation that if it did happen you and I both know never deeply concerned them. That's not why they approached him and that's not why they grabbed him up, is it? Hmmm. Eating Mexican food and drinking Mexican beer while reading the pinche revolutionary shitbag Che Guevara, scum of the earth and causeur of all our problems in this Mother of all End Times of Western Civ. Now, that's one that I bet even this distinguished kangaroo court has never found on any of its previous dockets. But I am apparently out of order. My bad. Apparently we are no longer concerned here with questions of truth and justice.

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