Monday, March 23, 2020

Once Upon a Chicle in Mexico

Originally published on Funny in Five-Hundred. One of my favorite things that I have ever written.

El Gringo walked down the boardwalk. The waves roared crashing into the sands. Wind blew his dark brown hair across his face. He walked ahead of me casually, but I knew his blue eyes darted back and forth between the beach and the building along the road. His hands swayed to the front and to the back. Looking closer as I walked behind him I saw them trembling. His unbuttoned Kahuna shirt flapped in the wind. The straw fedora he usually wore was in one of his hands.

I ran next to him. “Uh,” I started. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to take back what’s rightfully yours,” he muttered.

“Come on! Let’s just leave it alone,” I protested.

He turned to me with a snarl. “I’m not letting justice go unserved.” 

When the boardwalk intersected the street that led to the small old chapel, we turned to walk side by side. El Gringo’s leather shoes scrapped on the asphalt leading to the white building with the arch that held a single bell. My running shoes just squished under my weight. Sweat was building up around the collar of my t-shirt. My camo cargo shorts were beginning to chafe my crotch.

The boys sitting on the steps of the church covered their eyes since the sun was now at our backs. A breeze kicked up dust as we walked towards them. El Gringo’s face looked harder than I had ever seen it. His upper lip quivered with rage. A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead over his eyebrow down his nose and fell onto his white tank top.

Their eyes went wide when they saw us stop directly in front of them. We cast shadows down on them.

Someone began plucking at a guitar from one of the homes near us.

“Niños!” he shouted. He pointed at me with his thumb. “My amigo here…”

“Si señor?” one asked. He came up to us with big brown eyes.

“He asked for spearmint not peppermint!” El Gringo roared.

The boy’s lips quivered. He fished in his small bag and brought out a package of aqua colored gum. I handed the white package back to him.

“Lo siento señor,” he said to me.

El Gringo turned toward the setting sun. He placed his straw hat on his head and began walking back to the beach. I watched him disappear down the road. He walked with the swagger that justice had been served.

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