“Que mas?” the girl said, swishing her black hair over her ear. "Que mas?"
She turned from me, held her arms above her head, and rocked her hips. She pulled her hair up off her neck. Gold hoops hung from her ears. She switched her weight to each hip, calf, and stiletto heel, rocking slowly.
My sweaty glass of tequila and lime juice offered particular escape. San Diego loomed a hundred miles to the north, but my problems were here with me on that barstool. I lifted the sleeve of my cheap souvenir T-shirt to scan under the bandage for any sign of sepsis. I sniffed the goo on the gauze; it smelled of honey, not meat, which meant I didn’t have to see the old lady who kept medicine in her trailer around the arroyo. It also meant I could further tincture my blood with the alcohol. I rolled the tumbler up until the ice sloshed my face, dribbling booze onto my shirt.
I sucked at my shirt when the girl turned and ran her palms across my shorts and hooked her thumbs on the pocket snaps. “Que mas?”
“Nada. D’todo. Tranquilar.”
She pouted. I shook the last of the booze into my mouth and set the glass on the bar. Wires and bungee cords suspended a television from the ceiling. The TV played an American cartoon movie about ants. Spanish words in black boxes scrolled along the bottom. When the ants leaned in to whisper to each other, the black boxes read “escuchame,” and when the grubby cartoon boots of an exterminator threatened to crush the colony in the grass, the cartoon ants’ mouths opened wide and the black box read “CORRER!”
“La luz,” the girl said. “La luz.”
“No,” I said. “Tequila.” The bartender filled my glass and I drained half of it.
The girl pouted and clacked her severe shoes against the scuffed wood floor, away from me. She stood at the table of a big man; she leaned in like the ants telling secrets. She pointed to me. He stood and clomped his chunky boots toward me.
I gulped at the drink, slammed the glass down, and peeked under my bandage. From my pocket I slung pink and blue bills across the bar. His boots clomped faster. I sprang from the stool, my mind repeating one word, “CORRER! CORRER!”
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, July 10
Saved by the Bell
TBS 8:00 a.m.
This is the hardest math equation in the world. It makes exactly zero sense. I’m pulling my hair out; my notebooks fill up with scribbles and formulae. Nothing works. If you can figure it out, please help. It goes like this: Root beer = good. Frosted Mini-Wheats = good. Root beer + Frosted Mini-Wheats in the same bowl = bad. Please help. Please. Please.
Is Colon Detox Hype?
FSW 9:30 a.m.
WHOA! This amount of friskiness at this time of the morning is untoward. FSW is like that cheerleader who sneaks a water bottle full of vodka to practices because she hates her mom and wants someone to intervene. Colon programming before noon is clearly a cry for help.
Friday, July 11
ABC 8:00 p.m.
Finally, a dance-contest show. Now if only the networks would produce something about crime scenes, lawyers, and hospitals.
Saturday, July 12
TNT 6:30 a.m.
Last time Kip and I hung out, we discussed the realism of the A-Team. “It’s absurd to consider B.A. Baracus an elite commando if every time he had to fly he required tranquilization. Was he a ground-attack-only elite commando? Did he never jump into a helicopter or plane?” Kip’s wife must’ve agreed with my assertion and had her own ideas about the show’s writers because she entered the room, rolled her eyes, and turned to walk back out, muttering something about “imbeciles.”
USA 8:00 p.m.
Here is the running script in my head while I watch Jurassic Park: “Damn, Jeff Goldblum’s an ass. Oh, look, a cartoon dinosaur. Jeez, Goldblum’s an ass. I don’t mean his character, either; I mean the man, Jeff Goldblum, is one walking ass with ears. Dinosaur. Goldblum’s an ass. Dinosaur. Ass.”
Sunday, July 13
Miss Universe 2008
NBC 9:00 p.m.
Someone named Mel B. will cohost this show with Jerry Springer. Why does my mouth taste like I just tried to suck a penny out of a brass spittoon of vinegar through an old garden hose? Oh, the taste goes away when I don’t think of this show. Weird. Now it’s back. Now it’s gone. Huh.
Monday, July 14
The Middleman: Flying Fish Zombification Family 10:00 p.m.
What a personal conflict this show proposes. I’m intrigued by anything zombie-related but repulsed by all things “family,” including (especially!) television dedicated to it. I may make someone watch this and then report to me. I can’t handle the dichotomy. It’s making my teeth itch.
Tuesday, July 15
Untamed and Uncut
Animal Planet 9:00 p.m.
Not so much a show about jungle cats as it is a recount of my high school years. I wonder if they’ll show that “thing” I had about aluminum foil and Roy Orbison. Ah, memories... I can still smell the VapoRub.
Wednesday, July 16
Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of The Dark Knight
History 9:00 p.m.
History! It’s important to remember our past! History is rich with life, struggle, beauty, and decay. Without debate, discussion, and analysis of history, we’re doomed.... What? Batman? Even better! History’s stupid. Let’s talk about Batman! Go away, stupid history. Go away.
Extreme Truck Stops
Travel 9:00 p.m.
That screeching sound is from the smoking tires of the truck speeding away with Travel Channel’s relevance.