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343 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2009
"True, the occasional hurricane devastated the lowlying forest and semitropical jungle and reformed the beaches. Often, parts of the town were washed away or carried out to sea. But the interior clock of evolution in Tres Camarones was set only to these cataclyms of nature."
"It shook her, this place. It was awful. Tragic. Yet. . . it moved her. The sorrow she felt. It was profound. It was moving, somehow. The sorrow of the terrible abandoned garbage dump and the abandoned garbage dump and the sad graves and the lonesome shacks made her feel something so far inside herself that she could not define it or place it. She was so disturbed that it gave her the strangest comfort, as though something she had suspected about life all along was being confirmed, and the sorrow she felt in her bed at night was reflected by this soil."
"Suddenly, a mayfly hatch burst out of the gorge. Millions of mayflies. Gold, shimmering, they rose from the water of the Colorado in swirls, wafting like metallic snow blowing up into the sky, silent. Nayeii could not stop laughing. 'Look how beautiful!' she cried. 'This is some kind of sign. No? God making a miracle for us."
The ZZs were her favorites, and even when Matt had gone missionary on her, run off to Mexico to save the Mexicans, the ZZ Twins had hung around her house, keeping her company in his absence, keeping the bad guys at bay. They spoke that weird surfer talk that she had never quite translated. Once, when she'd asked Zemaski how he was feeling, he said, "I'm creachin' the bouf."
She had laughed for weeks about that one.
Two years later, she'd been hunting through the library's cast-off $1.00 sale table when she glanced at their computers and ventured to access the Internet. The librarian helped her search the phrase "creachin' the bouf." The best translation they could come up with was "I am a fool for the light comedic opera." She liked to think that's what Zemaski meant, though she knew it wasn't.
"These beans are grown here in Sinaloa," he said proudly. "The best frijoles in the world! Right near Culiacán. Then they're sold to the United States. Then they sell them back to us." He shrugged. "It gets expensive."
Tía Irma took a long time to replace the glasses in the purse.
"That," she finally proclaimed, "is the stupidest thing anyone has ever said to me."
He smiled, hoping she would not strike him with that purse.
"NAFTA," he said.
Irma stormed out of the stall and spied a Guatemalan woman picking through the spoiled fruit.
"What are you doing? she snapped.
"Provisions. For the journey north," the woman replied. She made the mistake of extending her hand and saying, "I have come so far, but I have so far to go. Alms, señora. Have mercy."
"Go back where you came from!" Irma bellowed. "Mexico is for Mexicans."