by Jim Foreman
The man who roasts the pig for the Saturday night barbecue at the Serenidad Hotel struck a match to the little pile of twigs under the mesquite logs stacked neatly in the cooker. It was only about noon but it takes several hours for the wood to burn down to the nice bed of glowing coals which gives the meat its special flavor and tenderness. In the meantime, he secured a whole pig to the spit which he would place over the coals at two in the afternoon. When the cooking began, he would tend the fire and turn the pig without stopping for the next six hours. He gladly accepted Joe Bob's offer of a cold beer, because even though it was December, the weather is always warm in Mulege and cooking the pig was hot work.
People would wander past, stopping to sniff the aroma of the burning mesquite and roasting pig. Waiters were busy arranging the tables under the palapa to accommodate the sold-out crowd for the feast. Each table was numbered and tickets were limited to exactly the number of chairs available. The blender in the bar was spinning in overdrive as it whipped out one Margarita after another for the thirsty crowd. They have three sizes of Margarita at the Serenidad; Chica, Grande and Mucho Macho. Few people can walk after more than a couple Mucho Machos.
A constant flow of airplanes appeared from the north, circled and landed on the hotel's private strip. They were able to taxi up and park right in front of their rooms. Most of the pilots had flown four hundred air miles from Southern California mainly to attend the Saturday night pig roast.
It was still half an hour before serving was to begin at eight but people were already moving into position to be at the head of the line. Most everyone had a drink in their hands and happy conversation flowed up and down the line. The first plate was filled at the stroke of eight and the line moved quickly past the long table loaded with all sorts of traditional Mexican foods. The servers at the Serenidad were most efficient and within ten minutes, all one hundred thirty people had filled their plates and found their seats at the proper tables.
"Howdy, Joe Bob Puckett's the name and football is my game," said Joe Bob as he began the introductions around the table. "You may have heard of me, I played for Dallas, the Jets and the Rams. Right now, I'm a free agent and just waiting to see which team comes up with the best offer. Me and this little lady come from Fort Worth, Texas. She was the prettiest cheerleader that Paschal High ever had."
"My name is LuAnn Poovey," said the pretty blonde seated beside him.
"I'm Rebecca Crenshaw and I come from Chicago," said the rather attractive lady who looked to be around forty years of age.
"My name is Ginger Wilson and I come from a town in Kansas so small that you probably never heard of it."
"You're the young lady traveling with that strange man dressed in black, aren't you? Where is he tonight?" Rebecca asked Ginger.
"You mean the Reverend?" said Ginger. "Yes, I'm traveling with him but he refuses to set foot in any place where they serve liquor. He's having a can of sardines or something to eat out in the van."
"You mean that he's a preacher?" asked Rebecca. "I thought he was some kind of coot."
"You're pretty close," replied Ginger. "He does have some rather strange ideas, especially when it comes to what all he considers to be sin."
"He sure is missing some good eating here," said Joe Bob as he attacked the ribs stacked like cordwood on his plate.
"Just what do you do with the Reverend?" asked Rebecca. "Are you his daughter or something?"
"No, I just travel with him and help him when he preaches. He claims that he is a Child of God and was born from an Immaculate Conception."
"Do you believe that he was?" asked Rebecca.
"Well, he has a birth certificate that says that he was, but you never know about those things."
"He came up to me on the ferry and said that he wanted to talk to me about sin. I thought that he was either crazy or some sort of dirty old man so I told him to go to Hell."
Maria Ortiz is with you, isn't she? We met on the ferry and I like her. Where is she tonight," asked Ginger.
"Her family lives here in Mulege and she's spending Christmas with them," replied Rebecca.
"I'm going back for seconds," said Joe Bob, who had polished off his first plate. "This is mighty good eating."
While they were eating, a small group of musicians began to wander among the tables, stopping for a moment to play for each group of people. Their instruments consisted of a violin, two horns, a mandolin and a huge, doghouse guitar. there was also an electric lap guitar but since he was plugged into an amplifier, he had to stay seated. The violinist looked like a caricature of Don Quixote while the one with the guitar looked like his sidekick, Sancho Panza.
Rebecca especially noticed the mandolin player. He was around her age, had jet black hair, a pencil-thin moustache and the deepest brown eyes she had ever seen. He was dressed in a skin-tight suit that reminded her of the suits of lights she had seen bull fighters wearing when she and her late husband had visited Spain, except that it didn't have all the decoration.
When the musicians approached the table where Joe Bob and the three women were sitting, the mandolin player said something in Spanish to the other musicians and they began to play a beautiful Mexican love song. He gazed deep into Rebecca's eyes and began to sing. While she didn't understand a word that he was saying, it was obvious to her and everyone else that it was a love song and he was singing it just for her. The musicians didn't leave their table until he had finished the song.
"Well peaches, peaches, shake my tree. Looks like you found yourself a real Latin lover there, Miz Becky." whispered Joe Bob after they moved to another table.
"Is he ever good looking," said Ginger. "I'd have absolutely melted if he had been singing to me like that."
"He could park his boots under my bed any old time that he wants to," said LuAnn. "If I ever heard a let's-go-jump-in-bed song before, that was it."
"Slip him your room number," said Ginger. "Something with a cute butt like that doesn't come along every night."
"Will all of you stop talking like that," said Rebecca. "You're making me blush."
"Use it or lose it. That's my philosophy," said Joe Bob as he licked the barbeque sauce from his fingers.
In all her life, Rebecca had never given any thought to whether men had cute butts or not but for some reason, she had trouble keeping her thoughts and eyes from wandering to the way he filled out those tight pants.
After the meal was finished, everyone went into the lounge where the musicians began playing on a dais behind a small dance floor. After the band had played and sang a few numbers, the mandolin player laid down his instrument and came to their table. The band begun to play slow, romantic music. He bowed to Rebecca and asked in halting English, "Beautiful Senora, please to dance with me, por favor?"
"Here's your chance," said LuAnn.
"Go for it!" urged Ginger.
He was an excellent dancer and held Rebecca close as he guided her across the floor. When the music stopped and he escorted her back to the table, her face was flushed and she was breathing hard.
"I'm all out of breath," she said.
"I got out of breath just watching," said LuAnn.
"Did you give him your room number?" asked Ginger.
"Of course I didn't," replied Rebecca. "What kind of woman do you think that I am?"
"Well, for one thing. I think that you are one hell of a good looking woman who has a chance to get lucky and have a lot of fun tonight if you will just let it happen," said Joe Bob.
"I've never done anything like that in my life and wouldn't know how to go about it," said Rebecca.
"Getting him to your room or what to do after he is there?" teased LuAnn.
"I couldn't just go up to a strange man and ask him if he would like to come to my room. Suppose he said no, I'd be mortified."
"After the way that he held you and looked into your eyes while you were dancing, wild horses couldn't keep him away if you give him half a chance," said LuAnn. "I half expected him to drag you right off the dance floor."
"All you have to do is write the name of your room on a cocktail napkin and hand it to him with a nice smile when you leave. I'm sure he'll know what to do after that," said Joe Bob.
Rebecca really liked the way that his muscular chest filled the fancy jacket that he was wearing, then she noticed his silver belt buckle. It was a work of art, hand carved and fitted with large turquoise stones. When she let her eyes drop a bit more, she became very much aware of the nice way that he filled out the front of his tight pants. She remembered how firm that bulge had felt when it pressed against her while they were dancing. Her breasts tingled and she felt a warm wet sensation between her legs, something that hadn't happened to her in years. Suddenly she became aware that she was actually staring at a man's crotch and having erotic fantasies about what it would take to fill pants out like that. She darted her eyes away and felt her face flush.
The musicians stopped playing at midnight and began to put their instruments away in their cases.
"Now's the time," urged Ginger as she took a pen from her purse, laid it on top of a cocktail napkin and slid it across the table.
Rebecca sat there looking at the napkin for a considerable length of time before she finally picked up the pen and wrote "San Javier" on it.
"Good, now fold it once, walk over to him, look him straight in the eyes, smile and say that you really liked his music. Put the note in his hand without looking at it and go directly to your room," said Joe Bob.
"You seem to know a lot about staging a seduction," said LuAnn. "Have you had lots of practice?"
"Just enough to know what a man likes," replied Joe Bob.
Rebecca walked up to the mandolin player, smiled sweetly and slipped the folded note into his hand, saying, "I loved your music." As she walked toward the door, the man with the electric guitar picked out "La Cucaracha" one note at a time while the one with the doghouse guitar kept cadence with her every step by thumping on it. In a moment of wild abandon, she swung her hips seductively, looked over her shoulder at the mandolin player and smiled.
Rebecca walked quickly to her room, changed into the slinkiest nightgown that she had with her and slipped into a robe. Just as she finished changing, a soft tapping came at her door.
"What am I doing?" she asked herself. "Why did I ever let those kids talk me into this?"
She had invited the man to her room, so it would be rude not to let him in. She could always change her mind and ask him to leave. Rebecca opened the door and there stood the musician, holding two glasses and a cold bottle of champagne. "Come in," she said with a smile.
He set the glasses on the table, popped the cork on the champagne, poured the two glasses full and handed one to her. He raised his glass to hers and said, "Salute" then drank half of it in one swallow.
His tight jacket must have had fifty small buttons down the front because it seemed to Rebecca that it took him forever to unbutton all of them. He slipped out of his jacket, folded it neatly and laid it across the back of a chair. This seemed to be the proper time for Rebecca to take off her robe, so she let it slip slowly from her shoulders and drop seductively to the floor. She turned the sheet back and sat on the edge of the bed.
He turned his back to her, dropped his trousers and underwear to his knees and sat down beside her. Then he laid her back on the bed, gave her a quick kiss, lifted her nightgown and spread her legs. A few quick thrusts and it was over. His heavy breathing in her face smelled of beer and cigarettes.
While Rebecca's anticipation had created a considerable amount of enthusiasm, she had expected at least some foreplay before they had sex. Between her trepidation and the speed with which it was over, she not only didn't have an orgasm; she failed to find any pleasure at all in the encounter.
He pulled up his pants, picked up his jacket and started for the door.
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" she asked, hoping that there would be more to the night than what had just happened.
He picked up his glass, gulped the remainder of champagne and replied, "La esposa espera."
Rebecca didn't understand what he had said and was in a quandary as to why the man had departed so rapidly. "Didn't I satisfy him or what?" she asked herself. She had to remember what he had said so she could ask Maria what it meant. But then, it might be something so personal that Maria would be shocked. Rebecca gave a considerable amount of thought to what had happened and decided that she must ask Maria, no matter how embarrassing it might be.
She took a shower to get his smell off her then lay in the darkness thinking about her first attempt at a romantic encounter with a sexy Latin lover and decided that she had grossly overestimated what it would be like. In fact, the whole episode had been rather degrading, he hadn't even taken his boots off. "I suppose the only thing that could have made it more demeaning would be if he had left a twenty on the dresser," she mused as she drifted off to sleep.
It was barely sunrise when Rebecca was awakened by the sound of an airplane engine starting outside her window. She listened to it taxi away, then roar past a few minutes later as it took off. She could hear the voices of people outside her window and decided that there was no way she would be able to get any more sleep so she dressed and went to the restaurant. A man sweeping the floor said it wouldn't open until eight. She walked to the end of the runway then back along the river past a row of small adobe houses until she came to a man and two women trying to push a boat across the sandy beach and into the water. She didn't know why she did it but it just seemed like the right thing to do. She kicked off her sandals and helped them shove the boat into the water.
The man hopped aboard as the boat began to float and pulled on the starting rope. The engine coughed and came to life, belching a cloud of blue smoke and showering them with muddy water. "Muchas Gracias," he shouted as he pulled away from the shore.
When Rebecca paid her bill on Monday morning she noticed that the bottle of champagne had been added to it. Then she drove to Maria's house to pick her up. As they drove away, Rebecca asked, "Did you have a nice Christmas?"
"Oh, Si Senora Crenshaw. It was the very best Christmas in all my life. I thank you so much for bringing me," replied Maria. "And Mama says Muchas Gracias for the gifts that you brought to her."
As they drove along the highway leading southward from Mulege, Rebecca finally asked Maria, "Could you tell me in English what La esposa espera, means."
Maria looked at her and replied, "The wife is waiting. Why do you ask?"
"Oh, it was just something that heard someone say last night and was wondering what it meant."