Chapter 36

I wake up with the glare of the sun in my eyes and spit some sand out of my mouth. My head throbs as I sit up. White and black spots dogfight in my front of my eyes. I feel sand down my shirt, and I see there are a couple of other people sleeping on the beach, having drunk too much at the bonfire last night too. I’m not sure if I know them or not. I look at my missing watch again.

I shoot up, standing, and look straight for where the bus should be. I see more stars swirling in my vision, but no bus. I immediately feel nauseas and dizzy.

I look for the ferry.

After I’m sure I won’t throw up, I stumble up to the road to the store where the bus dropped me off. There is no activity going on right now.

I run into the store, “Que Hora Es?” The poor man behind the counter, stocking cigarettes and fearing for his life, slowly points to the clock above his head. It’s nine thirty. Holy shit!  I’m late.

I look around for a bus schedule and try to tell the shop owner that I was on a bus and I need to get to the border. Even with the shock to my system of missing the bus, I’m still pretty groggy and not too sure if I’m speaking English or Spanish. He just looks at me like he’s scared that I’m crazy and might do something nuts at any moment. It must have been pretty tranquil in here before I barged in like a lunatic. I look around to see if there isn’t anyone else in here I can talk to.

I catch a look at myself in the reflection of the glass beer cooler door. I see what’s freaking him out, and it’s not the sudden burst of energy that entered the store. I’m a mess, and what is that on the side of my face? Oh shit! I must have fallen asleep with my mouth open and drooled or something. The whole right side of my face is plastered with wet sand from my cheek to my chin. I quickly brush it off, and then notice I have just dusted the candy display near the counter with sand, and what misses the candy spills onto the floor.

I begin to shake uncontrollably. He says something about four, or fourteen, or something. The Spanish that I’d been using all last night is presently being squeezed out my nose. I need a napkin. The store clerk is frozen in time, wide eyed and clutching a carton of Camel cigarettes. I leave the store in a snotty, sandy daze. I’m beginning to think Mexico doesn’t agree with me.

There are a bunch of cars in a large dirt lot off the road, next to the store. The ferry must have come and gone. How the heck did I miss all that? Four-o’clock for the next bus? What am I going to do until then?

I walk back to the bonfire area and find my paper bag with what is left of the fruit inside it. All the tortillas are gone. Looks like somebody got the munchies last night. No big. I’m more thirsty than hungry.

I begin peeling an orange when I notice a familiar, sandy face waking up not too far from me. It’s my friend . . . what’s-his-name, the guy who introduced me to the party and helped me miss my ferry. He gets up and stretches, like this is an every day occurrence to him, which I guess it could be. He stands up and walks over to me. “Hola Pancho, que te pasa?”

“No bien.”

“Yo tambien,” he says, rubbing his head and then his stomach. I reach in my paper bag and pull out a banana and toss it to him. He smiles and sits down next to me.

“Donde esta su autobus?” he asks.

“No se,” is all I can come up with. Probably far away, I guess.

He says some more Spanish and then stops in mid-sentence and smiles.

We sit there eating fruit for a few minutes and I watch some birds coasting on a light sea breeze. I wish I were a seagull.

Mike J Quinn About Mike J Quinn
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