The cowboy bible and other stories

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ContentsFictionThe Cowboy BibleCooler BurritosNon-FictionReissue of the Original Facsimileof the Remastered Country Bible’s Back CoverLike ’Em FatNotes for a New Theory for Mastering HairNeither Fiction nor Non-fictionThe Post-Norteño ConditionJuan Salazar’s DealerEpilogue IEpilogue II‌

For Celeste Velázquez,red-beaked little white dove

I could see the big neon Bible all lighted up on the preacher’s church. Maybe it’s lighted up tonight, too, with its yellow pages and red letters and big blue cross in the center. Maybe they light it up even if the preacher isn’t there.

John Kennedy TooleThe Neon Bible

‌Fiction‌The Cowboy Bible

For José Alfredo Jiménez Ortiz

I was born in a corner.In a wrestling ring. At Gómez Palace. I’m Lagunero. I’mrudo—a thug, a rascal. I’m a Menace.

I’ve always lived in San Pedro Amaro de la Purificación, in the state of Coahuila. The best Western of my childhood—Rue des Petites Epicuros, Paris, July of 19**—starred my father, masked, playing his old plastic sax on top of the ring. His name was Eusebio Laiseca, but he was known that night in Belgrano as Menace I, an RCA corporate shareholder. In addition to being a Greco-Roman wrestler and having a weakness for Raquel Welch’s ass, he formed part of the famousnorteñoduo, El Palomo and El Gorrión.

I first stepped in the Laguna Olympic Arena when I was five years old. I still remember my father, his back flat against the canvas, improvising some free jazz with his double quartet. That day, between the twelve strings and the four corners, before Don Cherry could jump off a post with his toy trumpet, I bared my obsessions. The first, the barrier created by my father’s mask (the mask he wore to fight was like aburladero, a wall that shelters fleeing bullfighters), and the second, the Bible he gave me when he defeated Santo, the Silver Mask. A Latin American paperback, bound in denim. A beauty, its color ranging from the intensity of Blue Demon’s mask to a Levi’s 501 fade. My father baptized it The Cowboy Bible*and I couldn’t let it go. It became my security blanket. I was the new Linus. The Linus of the neonring.

At sixteen, I saw two junkies die: Menace I and Menace II. My father left me his masks, his cape and his boots, handmade courtesy of some Anglosexual groupies. I didn’t drop out of school. I had a degree in analysis and in the discrepancies between Side B, the bonus track, and the hidden track. One night, as I was working on my thesis about the influence of MP3 technology on imitation wrestler suits, El Joven Murrieta announced the return of a legend on the ten o’clock news, the headlining appearance of Santo’s Son. That’s when I climbed into thering.

I debuted Sunday, December 21st. My godfather was Yelero Aguilar. A semifinal match. Australian relievers. The Ministers of Death I and II and Menace Jr. versus Tony Rodríguez, The Gentleman Falcon, and Little Falcon. Referee: Sergio Cordero.

We climbed into the ring accompanied by international cheerleaders. The Cousins, a female group from Argentina, sang,Watch your hands, Antonio, ’cuz Mama’s in the kitchen.Depeche Mode’s Never Let Me Down Again played in the background. That’s when I discovered my wrestling style, what would later be called Neo Vulgar Retro Kitsch. The kind of experimentation that had me playing Ministry with Rocío Banquells and Los Ángeles Negros, Los Terrícolas, and Los Caminantes, with María Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser.

No wrestling arena ever has AC, parking, or clean bathrooms. Since I had won the First contest at the Coahuila 2002 facilities with a set of cages I called First Adolescents, the critics called me a fan of Technologic, Daft Punk’s new video. Another group that was not too upset about my scandalous rise in popularity called me the boy genius of Lagunero painting.

The Cowboy Bible is like Black Mathematics or like a Little Brown Book. Before each match, I’d open the Bible in the dressing room in front of an altar dedicated to Yemayá, Eleguá, Changó, Ochún, and Obatalá. As a sacrifice I would offer up whatever pop single was playing on the radio and then I’d eat a chicken heart. When it came to Santería, I was privileged. The Cuban gods protected me in combat.

Because Gómez Palacio has always been the exquisite and proud birthplace of so many celebrity wrestlers, my solo and group shows grew in proportion to my detractors. The boxing and wrestling commissioner, in a sublime move, sentenced me to tour the Torreón-Gómez-Lerdo circuit.

The Ministers and I were victors everywhere. At the Municipal Auditorium, the crash cathedral, we unmasked the masked Diaboliques I, II, and III. They were triplets who worked at a butcher shop in downtown Gómez Patricio. My agent, making sure we had a dramatic line-up, got us a stellar fight, our last as the Three Musketeers, because he knew I needed to abandon the classic power trio format—bass, drums, guitar—in order to launch myself as a soloist.

My first individual performance was at the Laguna Coliseum. Wrestling fans are no different than film fans or ballet buffs. They are dying to say fuck you to the referee, to piss on the linesman. That’s when I started to suffer from withdrawal. It happened during hand-to-hand combat against the Great Markus. In the darkness of my dressing room, naked and possessed, I had sacrificed a Mecano single. I was going through cold turkey because of The Ministers’ absence. As I climbed into the ring, I showed the Cowboy Bible off to the audience, to the firefighters, to the cops, to the press. I put my hand on my heart and promised to abide by Murphy’s Law. The bell rang and the Great Markus said, Just take off your shitty little Wranglers and let’s play billiards. I won by knocking him down, twice. The first and secondtime.

My opponents were always rudos or exotics. My manager and Little Saint Jude Thaddeus—all that yakking’s gonna win you a smacking—said that a gladiator like me, who can take on Whoppers and Dagwoods with ease, should not waste his talents on conventional choreography. Blood should splatter the seats and stain the blonds.

The existential angst trailing these little rubber wrestlers who’d never even broken out of their packaging moved me to write and positioned me not only as the city’s youngest visual art critic but, to date, the only one. My column, Contemporanea, is still running Thursdays in theMilenio Lagunanewspaper. As arbiter of visual arts, I was unsparing. I became a local tyrant.

My next exhibition was at the Plaza de Toros. I confronted Blue Panther, the Lagunero teacher. An italic rain was falling at the start of the show, and the lusty ring girls refused to go out without an umbrella. I left the dressing room holding an inflatable doll. The ovation was thunderous. It looked like Santos Modelo territory, headquarters for the Santos Laguna Warriors. There hadn’t been anything like this in wrestling since Hurricane Ramírez went out with Tonina Jackson. The Plaza is an appropriate place for experimentation. The bullring arena and the elements allow for a greater expansion of jazz–rock fusion and for trying out a few things withfunk.

A mini-tour through San Pedroslavia and Pancho I. Mamadero prepared me for a more extensive trek through the barrio sands of Piernas Negras, San Pedrosburgo, Monterrey, and Estación Marte. I played almost every position: catcher, center fielder, and soliton. I was ready to take part in a riot of atomic magnitude to benefit the Red Cross, and I owed everything to my manager and the Holy Child Anacleto.

Because of my nasty glamor skills at the mixer, the turntable and scratching, the Public Records Office proposed giving me the state youth award. I was up against artists, rockers, writers, but the sitting government gave it to me for my timeless contributions to the people’s welfare. Still, a vocal community protested—especially the tiny frivolous faction of distinguished society ladies I called The Casserole Vanguard and reviled as chewy Ponderosa-brand wieners, uptight damsels who raised the profile of the engraving workshop to the rank of artistic affiliation. Then they just gave the award to a wrestler. A rudo. It was so fucked up, they should have given it to Martín Mantra.

Naturally, the award gave me the air of a pop star. The kind of envy provoked by all Laguneros inspired my detractors into even more taunting, and they gave me an appropriate, unbeatable, leonine nickname that was the truest of all: LaDiva.

The battle between the volunteers for the Oblivion Cross was scheduled for Gomitos. At the Olímpico Laguna. A deluxe finale. Vintage relievers. Santo’s Son, Fishman, Doctor Wagner, and Aquarius versus Scarlett Pimpernel, Sexypisces, Super Super Super Super Porky, Silver Arm, and MenaceJr.

In order to tend to the son of the guy who filmed the psalms as if he were a favorite Taco Bell client, I drew a pentacle on my dressing room door and dropped a Mariana Ochoa CD in the middle. When I found out I’d be playing a few arm-wrestling tournaments with my foremost rival, I appealed to all the magic asanterowrestler can scramble up on Skype.

As was to be expected by now, I appeared onstage with the Cowboy Bible held high. For ambient sound, there was Juan Salazar’s rendition of Amor de la calle. The fight was filmed for television. Wrestling’s heavy division meets wrestling’s heavy division. The fight got ratings that rivaled religious fanatical DJs. We were disqualified. To the beat of rudos rudos rudos, Dr. Assassin leapt from the second row dressed in civilian clothes, and we kicked Santo’s Son’s ass until we tore his mask and confiscated the martyr’s blood, urged on by the screams of the crowd: Fuck him, fuck that fucking dwarf.

I took the mic for our team and challenged Santo’s Son. Every saint deserves a chapel. The crowd. The crowd. I dared him to risk his belt. The defeated dwarf came up to the booth and grabbed the mic. I accept. I accept, Menace Jr. You’re nothing. You’re only good with a team. Menace Jr., by yourself, you are nothing. With those love handles of yours, no surgeon will take you on. You’re nothing.

The silver dwarf’s many performance dates had the promoters scheduling our show for after he got back from a two-month tour of Japan with Savoy Brown. My agent and little Saint Jude Singsong concluded we had to do some maintenance on our equipment, get a new life preserver, oil the joints, and change some of the padding. The point was to make a profit. And to get in shape after the insult about my weight and show up at the gig with more experience under mybelt.

The first prized mask I grabbed was the Purchase Award at the DCCCXLVIII New Art Biennale in the state of Coahuila. After that, the display cases on the kitchen counter in my house grew in number and variety. After only a month and a half of training with a coach, my value on the market shot up. I invested in Thai pyrotechnics and started smoking $245 cigars. They were splendid.

Then I got myself a scalp. The Coahuila State Journalism Prize. My free pass: Prolific-plus. Agruperahit. A blend of Lidia Ávila and Martha Villalobos, the naughtiest, most savage, and bloodiest of the lesbian wrestlers in the porno industry.

The second prized mask I earned for myself was a scholarship from the Coahuila State Foundation for Afternoon Sewing and Arts Research. The project was the writing of a complete essay, the definitive book that would explain the relationship between my theoretical concepts about comeback wrestling, architorture, and electronic music at ranch weddings.

I made my final preparations the weekend the silver dwarf returned. It was at the French Alliance gallery. I called the exhibitionTo Die in the Desert. The press indulged me. According to the malicious gossips, the coverage was generous. But that’s a lie. The press merely recognized my talent. The phrase for which they most detested me came from Ignacio Echevarría inEl País: Menace Jr., the hip-hop empire’s absolute magnate.

I freaked out that masked dwarf. Before he’d gone on tour, I was just a little unrefined brown sugar cube, but now I was a motorized mafioso terrorist. He’d need something a little more dangerous than a whip and a chair to avoid getting his little pocket trumpet of a head poppedoff.

Certain celebrity weddings had recently taken over the entertainment media and established an overwhelming tedium. They sold the fight as a vile mise-en-scène to a network that decided to hit its competition in the balls by broadcasting it via an open channel. No pay-per-viewhere.

The spectacle was called The Cursed Spring. The arena was packed. Yuri’s voice got lost on home theater speakers among the barking vendors and the famished crowd, delirious and drunk. Beerpop. Noxious lunches. Gorditas with cholera.

First up on the widescreen was Santo’s Son. His mentor was El Solitario. Mine was mini Espectrito. I left the rudo dressing room saturated with smoke. I’d made an offer of three Pandora LPs I’d burned between convulsions, untranslatable chants, prayers from postcards picked up on the highway.

I went dressed as a Cartesian seminarist. As soon as the guy in charge of composing the soundtrack to reflect the wrestling audience’s passions saw me take a step toward the ring, he put on a song by the great Sonora Dinamita:

Ae ae ae ae.

Ae ae.

Ae ae ae ae.

Ae ae.

Cry, heart, cry.

Cry, heart, cry.

Cry, heart, cry, ’cuz your Lagunero ain’t coming back.

There’ll be two or three takedowns with no time limits to win the national welterweight championship. From the extreme rudos, the pride of the Lagunero District, La Diva, also known as Menace Jr. From the technical team, The Silver Mask, also known as Santo’sSon.

Your Lagunero’s going, babe.

Going and not coming back.

Your Lagunero’s going, babe.

Going and not coming back.

Before any sound was heard, before the bell rang, a boy came up to the ropes to take a photo with me and a very sexy lady came over to give me a kiss. The place was divided. The dwarf’s popularity didn’t convince the rowdy thugs in the nosebleed seats, those guys who were only familiar with mortadella for lunch.

As soon as the action started, I planted myself between the four posts, opened my Cowboy Bible and began to preach in Yoruba: Black tongue, son of Menace, cumbianchero. I had the crowd spellbound, they were with me: Kill him. Kill him, Menace Jr. The sermon continued:

Jesus gonna be here.

Gonna be here soon.

You gotta keep the devil

Way down in the hole.

I beat Santo’s Son with three takedowns. They didn’t disqualify his suicide block, or a single hold, or even his straddling me. Cowboy Bible and belt in hand, I filled the mic with my maniac street preacher voice: Hey you, dwarf, campy film star, I challenge you to a match, just mask versus mask, no referee. Just us. Whipping our leather, whipping our courage. The star of so many ridiculous scripts responded: I accept, Menace Jr. Next week, right here, just one takedown.

Thursday, a day of tributes for the illustrious sport in Gomitos, we received notice that we were banished from the Olímpico Laguna. The reason given was that the first-division crowds threw too much stuff into the field. It happens frequently in soccer. So the match would take place behind closed doors and be broadcast on a national network.

The arena was empty. Just the second-string sound engineers hanging around their systems. We went up to the ring at the same time. Each one took his position at his corner. Behind the turntables.

It wasn’t a fun or dramatic match. My opponent wiped the floor with me. He was his father’s son. His collection of European vinyl was his advantage. It was huge. Broad. More than 2,500 records ready to go and fill a whole night of raving.

I did my best to get the most out of what I had, but no matter what kind of juxtapositions or genre acrobatics I played or sampled, no matter my programming or effects, the dwarf and his skills totally outdid me. All his equipment was first-rate. The needles, the earphones: Everything was imported.

The sacrilege I’d committed two hours earlier of breaking dozens of records proved irrelevant. The Cowboy Bible didn’t respond either. I tore at it, implored it, cursed it, and still failed.

I didn’t wait for word from the authorities to take off my mask; I failed and did it myself in front of the cameras. I said my name, declared my profession as a sociologist, and handed the trophy over to the winner.

On my way to the rudo dressing room, I placed the Cowboy Bible on the third seat of the front row and walked away with the idea that I might challenge Santo’s Son in about a month, mask versus hairpiece, in my hometown, in San Pedro, Bahía.

*a.k.a. The Country Bible.

‌Cooler Burritos

La Cuauhnáuacwas the most famous bar in the district for three reasons: The first was the house’s special brew, the second was the name, and the third was the burritos they sold outside.

1The special brew was sotol cured with tarbush, mint, peppermint, guava, and pumpkin seeds.2Its name came from the mythical sunkencity.3And the burritos were made from machaca. A basicdiet.

Of all the bars downtown, La Cuauhnáuac had the distinction of having among its clientele a drunkard who had established the record for imbibing the most cups of sotol in a single sitting: eighteen. Double shots. The indisputable ace, who had held the championship belt for two consecutive years, was The Cowboy Bible, a burrito vendor.

What made the brew so good was that it lost all its coarseness after it was cured. The guava gave it a killer taste. When people tried it they immediately loved the flavor. It went down smoothly. Three minutes later they asked for a second round, and six shots later they left on their hands and knees.

The brew became a big hit. A reporter forEl Norte, while investigating an article about public transportation, became curious when she saw so many people congregating around the joint. Her reportorial instinct suggested scandal, yellow journalism, but when she went in she suffered the disappointment of finding personable treatment and a friendly environment.

The bartender served her a single shot. She drank it cautiously, but the guava flavor eased her fear. She ordered another and another and another. After the fourth, she fell asleep at the bar. It was only five in the afternoon. When she awakened, her watch read twelve midnight. It took her a moment to come to and she decided her watch was broken. But no. Outside, the night confirmed that she was the broken one. The bar was still bubbling with activity. She was relieved to discover she had not been raped. And it wasn’t as if the others there didn’t want to: The place was jammed with exactly the kind of sexually repressed perverts typical of a place that sold five-peso drinks, but they were all afraid of the bartender. Though not exactly the bartender, but the machete he had behind the bar. The guy in charge of the brothel hated it when they bothered his clients and, besides, he was a ladies’ man, always ready to defend the femmes, whether they were fatales or not. The reporter ordered another sotol, pulled a notebook out of her purse and began taking notes.

The next day, there was an article inEl Norte’s center spread. La Cuauhnáuac took up an entire page. The article attracted a new clientele. Among these were drinking aficionados, aspiring intellectuals, alcoholic college students, and an infinite number of weird and lazy self-taught trumpet players.

When all the other bars in the area that sold sotol saw this new popularity, they imitated La Cuauhnáuac’s style of curing it, but not one was able to copy the recipe precisely. The ingredients were the same, but as in all things gourmet, the ultimate success was attributed to the bartender’s masturbatinghand.

All that rock and roll didn’t last long. In less than six months, La Cuauhnáuac had stopped placing on the fashion lists. There was still a considerable crowd, but gone were the characters who had shown up during the apogee of its popularity and given the bar that trendy touch. A place free of prejudice. Showbizzy.

In order to keep the bar’s popularity from fading, the bartender reached out to the girl reporter and asked a favor: to save the bar from anonymity by creating the first La Cuauhnáuac contest. It was a competition to see who could drink the most cups of sotol in a single sitting. They established three prizes. The first was five thousand pesos, the second three thousand, and the third two thousand.

The announcement attracted the attention of everyone that could still be seduced by that kind of folklore. Twenty-three contestants signed up, but the competition didn’t last more than a half-hour. With a total of eighteen double shots, and without vomiting, The Cowboy Bible took first place.

The following year, during the second annual contest, The Cowboy Bible won again. He didn’t need to repeat the record, because his closest rival had lost consciousness at the thirteenth cup. On the fourteenth, The Cowboy Bible paused and toasted with abeer.

In its third year, the contest got a little darker. The bars in the area had suffered a downturn, and some had closed. The more stubborn ones had used the contest as a betting game. At the beginning, in the second year of the competition, the bets had been between five and ten thousand pesos, but things got out of control when the local mafia got involved in the business. Bored with boxing, underground dogfights, and roulette, they found out about this peculiar contest and moved a certain percentage of their winnings to target sotol, their new blood.

For the third edition of the contest, the cash awards increased. First place was now ten thousand pesos, second was five, and third was three. Expectations also grew. The enthusiastic reporter promoted the spectacle, and they now anticipated about two thousand curiosity seekers. Three months ahead of time, they had to draw up a VIP list. The bar only had a capacity of sixty.

Plans began to spring up with the spontaneity that money allows. San Pedro, a capo and the biggest and heaviest of the drug barons on the scene, planned to take over the bar in order to manage the bets. It wouldn’t take much effort to take over the place. He had the money to buy it, and if the owner refused to sell it, he could kill him, make him disappear. Later, he decided against it. He preferred the actual competition.

The fight for the money was set. Don Lucha Libre was the cash cow. He was the cocaine monster on the east side of the city. He controlled part of downtown, managed the bets, and kept the balance in his favor. The Cowboy Bible was part of his cartel. He was hispet.

Everybody knew The Cowboy Bible was unbeatable in any duel that involved swigging the special brew, but that did not affect the contest’s immense popularity. A skillful mouth-to-mouth campaign had it that San Pedro would provide a worthy rival, a steely trueblood.

But that was a lie. He was simply feeling them out. San Pedro wanted to top Don Lucha Libre, but he knew that fighting in the bar was out of the question. The moment he went after any of the event’s central figures, everything would fall apart. The bettors would disappear, and there would be no profits that year, no luck. Thus the bluff, the distraction.

The Cowboy Bible was at his peak as an inebriant. His ability to hold his liquor was a matter of record. He’d begun to drink at fourteen, and his talent had never diminished. No one could understand how he’d developed such a capacity. Two months before the contest he decided to have a trial run. There was no distinction between the first and the twelfth glass. He was tipping his fourteenth when the bartender (also his manager) stopped him. Stop, he said. That’s enough. Take a shower. The test suggested that on a good afternoon The Cowboy Bible could put away twenty or thirty double shots.

San Pedro wanted very much to be the new gambling marquis. He had everything he needed for the role: contacts in the judiciary, a wide-tire truck in the preferred baroque style of the drug barons, and credit in Sinaloa. The only thing stopping him was Don Lucha Libre. The aging minotaur had years in the business, and it would not be easy to take over the labyrinth built on the downtown streets by his pushers.

In order to become the new Christopher Columbus of wholesale distribution and blind weigh-in, San Pedro planned to bribe one of Don Lucha Libre’s intimates. The list of untouchables included the bartender and, obviously, the aspirant to the title. The only available target was Sussy, The Cowboy Bible’s wife. With great sacrifice, the woman made burritos so that her husband could go against God and make a living as a drunk. San Pedro had only one card, and he playedit.

As it turned out, Sussy was easy. She hated her husband’s celebrity. She angrily remembered when they had begun the burrito business together. The Cowboy Bible was a natural-born drinker. She’d chosen to put up with the situation and didn’t care one bit that he was an alcoholic. She trusted their profits could support his pastime. They never did too badly, as burritos were better than tamales and less hassle. Their first day, they got up early. Sussy prepared the stew, and he went to get a cooler. It was blue. Brand name Iglú. It had enough room for two hundred burritos wrapped in parchment paper.

The Cowboy Bible had known the bartender at La Cuauhnáuac since infancy; they’d been in elementary school and done military service together. When the future champion found out his buddy had a dive, he became a star client. Then the bartender gave him a chance to set up outside and sell his burritos. From the very first night on, the drunks would empty the cooler.

But their apparent prosperity was deceiving. About half their profits would disappear when they paid the tab The Cowboy Bible ran up at the bar. He was good at fueling up. When he got famous, he refused to help make the burritos. Sussy had made a last-ditch effort to save him from such a lack of productivity, but it was useless. The Cowboy Bible had become an underground rock star and spent all day at La Cuauhnáuac with a beer in one hand, wearing dark glasses, long hair, a two-week-old beard, sandals, and shorts.

When San Pedro approached Sussy, she turned out to be an excellent businesswoman and not much of a comfort to her husband. She was willing to cooperate but wanted a percentage of the pot—not just a generous cut, but the principal cut. San Pedro’s response was immediate: No way. Not only would he deny her such a sum, but he also refused to let her bet. That turf was reserved for the heaviest people; not even the nasty narco-retailers were allowed to bet. Only the heaviest heavies, and maybe one or two eccentrics who had a green light to bring trailers over the border, were on the list. To add a stranger would provoke suspicion. The cook would surely know that such an ingredient could ruin thestew.

Sussy told San Pedro to stop pretending, that he could include her at the betting tables. If you want to win, set me up. It was an insinuation, an insult directed at the drug baron. But he wasn’t bothered. He remembered the rules of the underworld: No sympathy for the devil. They closed the deal—a slot at the third table. They’d unleashed the dog. Sussy had committed herself to eliminating her husband. That poor sucker wouldn’t even be able to get up the day of the contest.

At the start of the year, the bartender suggested The Cowboy Bible go on a diet, a safeguard for his stomach. Never. The Cowboy Bible wouldn’t take any precautions. Men didn’t do that. For three years, he had been nourished on machaca burritos and would not modify his regimen. Sussy’s seasoning had made him what he was. The burritos were his SpecialK.

The burritos’ fame was almost as great as that of La Cuauhnáuac. They were known throughout the western side of the city. And as usually happens, they had been given the chance to expand their business. The first big order came from a young PAN loyalist who thought it would be cool to serve Sussy’s ice cooler burritos on her birthday.

Sussy had not counted on anyone to help her. The Cowboy Bible had said he would, but then refused: I’m hungover,vieja. You go at it, and if you manage to stay up all night, you’ll finish them. Whether more or fewer burritos, Sussy took care of the orders. In the meantime, The Cowboy Bible spent each afternoon shadowboxing at La Cuauhnáuac. The contest date was nearing. Rumors about an opponent who was up to snuff meant he had to increase his training.

In the next two weeks, the master burrito micro-industry went off the charts. The birthday girl told all her friends that the burritos from La Cuauhnáuac were fantastic. In order to keep up with trends, several very chic girls from her school asked their daddies for burrito parties. I can make them for you, one mother told her daughter. No, absolutely not. But it’s no big deal,hija. No, mama, they have to be street burritos. Do you understand?

The list of orders grew and Sussy could not keep up by herself. A week from the contest, the publicity campaign ramped up. The drug baron wanted his own Las Vegas at the corner of Madero and Villagrán, and he invested even more in propaganda. The Cowboy Bible dedicated the following week to finishing his training on the hill at La Campana.

San Pedro began to pressure Sussy, because The Cowboy Bible had not interrupted his training. It was looking like he would reign again as the idol of the gutless, the consul of the lumpen-depraved, the idiot drinker who would cost San Pedro thousands of pesos. It’s time to force a change, he said. We can’tlose.

Sussy wasn’t sure she’d be able to keep up her end of the deal. Preparing the burritos exhausted her, left her too wasted to plan the conspiracy they needed to perpetrate against the father of her non-existent children. She didn’t know what to do to keep herviejofrom showing up at the contest.

But then The Cowboy Bible returned from La Campana in a physical condition that assured their victory. Don Lucha Libre wanted to underwrite a trip for him to Liberia so that he wouldn’t turn into a pimp, but they reconsidered, since his opponent had surely not even arrived in Villa Juárez to prepare himself. With a little visit to the Formula 1 spa, surely The Cowboy Bible’s motor would be able to get somerest.

Finally the day of the contest arrived. The excitement spread all over the city’s downtown. At ten in the morning, a parade officially kicked off the madness. A caravan sponsored by Coca-Cola led the way, polar bears included. Those in charge of logistics warned the narco that he’d look foolish. We don’t give a damn, we have more than enough bears, they taunted. For them, it was Christmas and New Year’s all year long. Besides, how would we be noticed without these red trucks? When have people not turned around to look at the colored lights on the damn trucks, soda cans painted on the sides?

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