Rooms at the Desert Chihuaua were a cool eight
dollars each, when the price was translated into U.S.
currency. "Score!," shouted Craig, when he saw the
price. Damn, thought Angela, I could afford to get my
own damn room and not even sweat having to fight this
guy off all night.
For the price, the lobby was decorated well enough, a
kind of mixture between a tropical island motif and
something reminiscent of the Old West, as it has been
portrayed in Hollywood, at least. Potted palm trees
lined the walls, backed by wall-length mirrors that
gave the place a vast wasteland-type feel.
Haphazardly placed were pink flamingo sculptures, each
one in a unique stance, as if every flamingo in the
state of Nuevo Leon had been bought up by the mad
flamingo collector who obviously owned the place.
Quite out of place were the elegant, low glass coffee
tables flanked by black leather sitting chairs. As if
to offset the obvious fluke of taste, each table was
adorned by an exquisite giant cactus bouquet,
effectively preventing anyone from actually using the
tops of the tables for anything else lest they make a
wrong move and accidentally impale themselves with a
thousand various exotic cactus needles.
The reception desk was a piece of work in itself. It
looked quite out of place, being a giant and,
apparently, solid piece of carved mahogany wood that
looked like it had been imported from the palace of an
Indian prince, except for the fact that every orifice
in the thing that may have at one point carried a
precious gemstone of one sort or another was quite
empty, except for a precious few near the bottom where
enterprising children had deposited their various and
many-splendored colors of used chewing gum. Every inch
of the wood was a carved representation of either a
multi-limbed Indian Hindu goddess or else an elephant,
and from time to time in some parts of the desk, a
multi-limbed Indian Hindu goddess riding upon an
elephant. Above the desk was a nice collection of
Longhorn cattle heads, though a few of the horns had
started to droop and three or four were missing
Behind the desk and seated upon a tall three-legged
stool was an elegantly dressed man of Hispanic
appearance. He remained seated as Craig and Angela
approached, and he greeted them in full-on english.
"Hello, how are we doing today? Can I help you?"
Craig, on the other hand, decided it was an opportune
moment to practice the little bit of spanish he had
picked up in the various cheap mexican discos and
brothels he had frequented. The man behind the
counter obviously had no idea what he was saying,
except when he interrupted indignantly with "We do not
have those kind of services here, sir, this is a
After a few minutes, Angela felt this had gone on long enough and took
control of the situation. "Sir, weíd like two rooms
please. Por favor."
Craig looked like all the wind had been knocked out
of him. "Hey, Angie, the rooms here are big enough
for two! Whatís wrong, donít you love me anymore?"
He began to pout very effectively, as if he had taken
professional pouting lessons as a child, and looking
at this very cute, sad-faced boy in front of her
Angela felt herself quickly losing control of the
"Hey, Iím not quite that easy. How many dragons have
you slain for me lately?" Noticing Craigís frown she
added, "Itís a long trip, remember? Believe me, Iím
worth the wait." Then it was Angelaís turn to frown.
She felt she was playing some kind of game that she
didnít know the rules to, a game that she didnít
really want to be the type of person who played. A
tease, she? Now what was the point of that? Who was
she saving herself for, or protecting herself from?
She turned to the hotel clerk, who had been observing
them with great interest and amusement. "Sir, please
excuse us, we would like to know if your honeymoon
sweet is available. Iím sorry, but we do not have a
reservation. The wedding was rather a spontaneous
affair. You know how it is, young passion and all."
Sensing what was going on behind her, she quickly
turned around and glared at Craig just in time to
prevent him mouthing another "Score!" to the man at
Roberto Diego just smiled and picked up a large
skeleton key whose handleís end had been melted into a
globulous brass heart shape. "One honeymoon suite,
located on the top floor. Welcome to the Desert
Chihuahua, a finer hotel you will not find in all of
"Oh, but it goes without saying, senor," laughed
Angela as she grabbed the key and ran up the stairs,
Craig in hot pursuit.
When they reached the top of the stairs and had
located the innocuous looking door with "H.S." hand
carved into the middle of the door, Craig grabbed
Angela and swept her up into his arms. "We should do
this right", he said, in the most romantic voice he
could muster. "Itís bad luck not to carry the bride
across the threshold." Without resisting, Angela
casually twisted slightly in Craigís arms and unlocked
the door. He carried her inside and was about to
gently lay her on the bed when she flung her arms
around his neck and begged him not to put her down
just yet. The fact was that she had never been picked
up before, no one had ever wanted to pick her up. And
here was Craig treating her as though she was light as
a feather, not even one bead of sweat on his forehead.
Maybe somehow she had been transformed into a
feather, or else a pair of wings that suddenly had the
power to leave the ground whenever they desired. She
was suddenly overtaken with an urge to throw open the
windows and leap out into the wind that would surely
only sweep her upwards higher and higher into the
atmosphere. Feeling this she only held onto Craig
tighter, sensing that she had lost her grip not only
on the floor, but also to reality to an extent. She
did not know what leaps of faith she was capable of,
and she wasnít quite ready to find out.
After a little while, she motioned for Craig to put
her down, and when he grudgingly obliged they surveyed
the room together. The bed was medium-sized, with
bright pink sheets. Both the walls and the thick shag
carpet had a very dark, forest green color, which
worried Angela a little as she wondered if anyone
could really tell if the room was ever vacuumed, or
if instead the carpet held a sordid history of every
person that had ever stayed in this room. She thought
of her first roommate and shuddered to think of
trillions of microorganisms swarming through the
fibers of the carpet to get at her. Best not to think
The room wasnít huge, but there was space for two sets
of dressers and a tv, as well as a largish writing
desk upon which were a few sheets of the hotel
stationary and a couple of bottles of Perrier mineral
water. Craig flung himself into the bed with an
enormous "Aaaaaaahhh," as if he had journeyed ten
thousand miles. He turned towards Angela who was now
pacing around the room examining all its features in a
subtle effort to not get too close to the bed just
yet. "Iím glad you changed your mind," he said. "I
really think weíll have more fun if we stay together."
And then he went out on a limb: "And hey, donít feel
like thereís any pressure to do something that you
donít want to do. Iím not that much of a low-life. I
donít want it if you donít want it."
Even as he was saying those words, Angela couldnít
help but think that it looked like he was flexing.
Chapter 18 was first written November 24, 2001
It was last edited December 28, 2001