October 10, 2019
Author: Chilton Williamson

I heard from my Mexican-American friend, Sócrates Villa, today. He phoned around mid-morning from El Paso and we spoke for 90 minutes.

Sócrates is having a frustrating time getting his volunteer immigration patrol brigade started on the Rio.  Several days ago he put out an emergency call to the five young men he’s succeeded so far  in bringing into the Muchachos Orgullosos to assemble at his house carrying their assault weapons with them. Beto O’Rourke was scheduled to appear that afternoon at a rally in the plaza in downtown El Paso, and Sócrates saw an opportunity for the Muchachos to turn out in force and shout him down. Of the five, three (including his son Dubya) showed up, only to discover  that the candidate had canceled the event on account of fundraising problems, a nearly exhausted bank  account, and a lack of media interest.  Sóc sent his boys home with instructions nevertheless to remain on high alert, and made inquiries into the situation among his local spies.

Thus he learned that Beto had left town two days before and crossed the river into Ciudad Juárez, where he’s been riding a skateboard along Avenida Juárez from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the footbridge across the Rio Grande, dressed as a Tarahumara Indian with his face painted brown and holding out a Folger’s coffee can to the American tourists and native citizens passing by on the sidewalk.  He’s promising the latter to erase the international border on Day One of his presidency, while holding out the prospect of a limitless supply of domestic workers willing to work for five dollars a day to the former.

According to Sóc, Beto was challenged by a couple of Juárez cops resembling Mexican road agents from the 1930s and 40s who accused him of creating a public disturbance and forced him to take refuge in the Kentucky Bar at the foot of the bridge. The Kentucky is popular among American soldiers from Fort Bliss across the river, and the local bullfight aficionados who buy their tickets there. The tabernero was kind to Beto, and even bought him a cervesa or three before the federales got bored standing around outside and went away. A couple of  wealthy hacendados  at the bar offered him a million American dollars in cash if he’d  attempt a few pases with a young fighting bull, still only a calf, one of them was raising for the ring.

Beto didn’t know that a future fighting bull must never be allowed to see a human being standing on his own two feet at ground  level until he encounters one in the ring on the afternoon of the corrida.  Even so  the proposition didn’t interest him, and he’ll be returning to El Paso with not more than a few hundred pesos in coin he’s collected in the coffee can. Life as one of society’s underdogs can be brutal. But Beto has pledged himself to change all that, after he’s received the Democratic nomination for president and gone on to beat Donald Trump. No more underdogs—or “assault” weapons–after that.

Right now the five—or is it three?—Muchachos are getting restless, hanging around El Paso with nothing much to do. I fear Sóc, and Beto, have their work cut out for them.

 

10 October 2019