Last night provided no options I deemed satisfying other than going to Viva Zapata and getting Luis to put together something I’d like. I loved it. I don’t know what it was. It had beef, onions, cheese, was served with refried beans and rice, and that narrowed it down to seventy-seven possibilities. If I order it again, I’m going to ask for “whatever it was that Luis made for me last time.”
Lo que Luis última vez. That’s what the online translater claims.
I read a little William Faulkner, and Luis stopped by to chat for a while about how business is slow and “people ain’t got no money, man, you know what I’m saying?” The gist of my reply was, “Well, maybe things will get better.”
Sometimes I wish there were ceiling fans. Then maybe I’d feel like I was in an old movie. But, then, everybody would have to be smoking. As it was, in the bar, no one was even drinking. If anyone had, I might have had a beer. I’d just finished the last draft (I swear!) of my third novel, and having the first draft of a beer seemed like the thing to do, but I didn’t because no one else was, and I’m not one to just have a single beer alone, so I settled for Diet Coke, and it was nice and healthy, and, perhaps, a good thing because Javier was complaining about how the cops chase away his business by hassling everybody.
We got two Mexican joints in town. I’ve eaten at the other one once. I just like Viva Zapata better. It’s authentic. It’s shabby. Sometimes there’s live music – not men in sombreros walking around from table to table, singing “Guantanamera,” but local country, folk and rock and roll – but not as regularly here lately. I’ve played many a song myself on Luis’s sound system. I told him I’d play any time he wanted, but I didn’t see much use in it because the kids want to watch other kids, and the people my age are more inclined to stay home and watch a ballgame on ESPN.
Luis nodded his head sadly, realizing the truth of what I said.
He said he was a good mind to move somewhere else, but his children wanted to stay here, and so he was giving it two more years, and if things didn’t get better, that was it.
“Twenty years!” he exclaimed. “D’you know that? We been here twenty years!” and I said, well, yes, I knew that because I’ve been having pollo fundido or a Number Twenty-Six for every one of them, and, occasionally, either a beeg margarita or several beeg beers. I like about everything Luis serves, and that’s why I got to where I just sit down in booth and tell him to make whatever he wanted me to eat. I’ve never been disappointed at his judgment regarding my palate.
He knows I like it hot but not too damn hot.
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