The sun knifed through the stained and bent Venetian blinds. The sun couldn’t set soon enough. He twisted the auger on the blinds to halt stilettos of beams that sliced through the long yellowed plastic slats. He yanked the sun-worn olive curtains together. Glittering dust lifted from the tattered swags.
The temperature was locked in at 110 degrees and it was only 4 p.m. The air was stifling hot. The sun continued its brutal beating, belt-whipping the dirt and concrete. The venomous air wouldn’t temper down enough for any man with a stitch of remaining common sense to walk to the corner bar until it was near 9 or 10 p.m.
Motels across the line (la lina) just south of the border provide a hombre with a healthy measure of anonymity. It can be a hidden curse. Inside the tiny filthy room the air was soupy and smelled of urine. The ceiling fan, absent one of four blades, clattered and shook violently. It tapped in tempo to his beating pulse. Sweat had beaded on his forehead and around his eyes. The moisture ring growing on his collar provided a small touch of coolness against his neck.
He firmly gripped the neck of the Jimador Blanco tequila bottle. With conviction he stated out loud, “It’ll be quick.” He held the bottle out at arms-length as if he was handing it to someone. But no one was there. He stared blankly at the wall. He folded his arm, placed the bottle at his lips and guzzled the remaining contents. He examined the empty bottle and with the skill of a professional baseball player, he pitched it overhand directly into the waiting corner. The crash was reminiscent of many wild parties hosted in the room, without the laughter. No one in adjacent rooms in the motel would be alarmed by the sound of shattering glass. Nor would they ever dare. Broken bottles, drunken screams, and occasional gunfire etched the pedigree of this place.
He picked up his holster from the grey Formica kitchen table. He unclipped the retention strap, slid the pistol from its black leather pouch and pointed the barrel towards his carefully opened mouth. The smooth-bore muzzle tapped against his front teeth. He exhaled and salty gunpowder bit his pallet. He firmed his grip around the weighted handle. He slid his index finger slowly around the curve of the trigger.
The Mexican police would find him sprawled on the hard packed dirt floor in this filthy three-peso motel room — a través de la línea. He murmured a mantra that found him during the past three days, “It is all lost. It is gone.” He gazed down the barrel and caught a glance at a cockroach scurrying up and over a large chip in the plaster. He dropped his gaze as if drawing forward intention through his third eye. With a hard exhale, he tightened his stomach and felt the beveled site of the pistol pressed against his upper lip. As if she were in the room watching, he stated, “This is all for you, my dear.” And, like the good Catholic altar boy that he once was, he prayerfully lowered his eyes and tutted a final breath of release. He squeezed the trigger tenderly while he maintained the authority that he once had when he pulled her close for a kiss when they first met. The cylinder rotated, ever — so — slowly. The hammer clapped against the firing pin. His head jetted backward. But there was no burst. Just the echo of the lonely clap that slapped against the walls. The pistol failed to eject. Deadened silence folded into the center of the room.
He lowered to the floor onto his knees as the pistol fell. A tear slid from the corner of his eye and traced down his cheek. A lump swelled in his throat. She was gone. There was nothing he could do about it. And he finally arrived at the end of his path. He lifted his eyes and welled with rage. Shaking his fists, he cursed at the top of his lungs “Chinga! Chinga La Madre Maria!”
But God did not hear him that day. So he crumpled on the floor and sobbed.
(c) 2018, Ron McFarland – All Rights Reserved