Wednesday, September 12, 2007


A Time in the Desert 1973


The best thing about the Tucson sunset was how it was able to spread directly over the horizon causing many silhouettes of three armed cacti to leisurely spring up. Minutes after the sun died down, I could hear the desert settling like a silk blanket over brittle leaves. For three years, these sharp prickles were my nightly companions.


But one evening that changed.


The finely tuned sounds of the desert behaving like scattered dust particles suddenly faded. A Sumo built Latino about 6’ 4” stepped out of a faded blue Dodge truck. Dressed in dark brown cowboy boots with silver tips and a black denim jacket that had seen better repairs.


Enrique was on time.


Through goggle-like tinted shades, he squinted at my 1964 green Oldsmobile station wagon like a hungry coyote set to pounce on any warm thing that moved. This was my prize vehicle being sent to another place!


This baby was blessed with power brakes, windows, and steering. The air conditioning that slung under the AM FM radio was my first. As the daily heat soared upward while traveling through the Arizona desert, the Olds was fit for an emir.


Enrique knew that too. “The ad said $600. I’ll give you $500, if I like it.”


When he spoke about money, he gestured with both hands. On the left hand were the letters L-O-V-E etched on each finger. On the right hand, were the letters H-A-T-E.


“Let’s take this cab for a spin,” he commanded.


Driving with just his right hand, the letters H-A-T-E glistened in the moon light. He drove quickly, but not fast.


He asked, “Will this make it to Colorado?


Before I could answer, he started to speak about Latino solidarity in Tucson and Nogales. He wanted to know if Asian people backed brown people in their fight for social justice. Then he clenched both fists and said, “If Latinos and Asians come together, we are united like these fists!”


Before I could reply, he turned onto my street and lurched behind his truck.


With his L-O-V-E hand, he gave me $500, signed the transfer paper, and told a blond woman in his truck to take off.


As he disappeared into the desert air, I wondered if he thought Asians were part of the right hand or the left.


1 comment:

Jack said...

Hey Tony,

Nice blog. Keep posting!

How's life in Toronto?