No Trains in Mexico
by James

"How did you get a whole boxcar to your self," I ask the two Mexican boys. They stare at me with blank, confused looks.

The box car resembles the chipped, multicolored interior of a lower-class, Mexican dormitory, with two unkept beds and an Indian-style throw rug.

Out the open door, at the rear of the room, I can see the sporatic shape of the train track strobing at breakneak speeds, then silently stopping as if in a silent movie.

I'd better go or I'll miss my stop."

I run as fast as I can, out the opposite door and through a passenger car filled with mustached business men, all absorbed in newspapers. Upon returning to my seat, I was instantly approached by a beautiful stewardess in some sort of airline flight suit.

Why do you run?" she asks in broken English.

I was aftraid I would miss my stop."

You will not miss your stop, but you must leave this train and wait for the next."

My father and I leave the train, quite confused, and dazed from the long trip and now the unexpected wait. We find ourselves in a small community in the middle of the Mexican desert. The community, to our suprise, is composed of American ex-patriots, hippies and freaks of every imaginable sort.

A man in a uniform and mask made of black and white, silk-screened metal, stitched together in no particular pattern, babbles at us in fake Spanish, ending in "
Habla espanol?"

No," I say, "and I don't think you do either."

Very good," he says, removing the stitched mask and black mop dredlocks to reveal a middle-aged, balding man.

Shall we have a drink?" he says.

We retire to a small, inconspicuous, hole-in-the-wall bar. He orders me and my father a drink. On stage, a lounge singer dressed as an Egyptian queen is surrounded by naked midget women singing to the song "I Can Dance."

The waitress brings a tray full of various-sized cups and shot glasses and sets three glasses in front of each of us -- one tall glass half full of an amber liquid, and two shot glasses, one filled with a coffee-like stuff, and the other with a substance resembling Elmer's glue.

Our host takes the lead and pours the contents of the two shot glasses into the large glass and slugs it down in one gulp.

I reach for the black liquid and somehow spill half of the contents of all three cups. I still manage to mix the elixer in the way I was shown. I drink most of the bitter mixture down, discovering that some of the concoction had coagulated into a large, white, slimy ball in the bottom of my glass.

Not a big deal, kid," he says. "Come help me give this little one a lesson."

The man rises and walks over to a small child I hadn't noticed. The little girl is sitting blindfolded in front of a television screen that had been somehow converted into a "learning device." Wires run from the box and are duct-taped to the child's fingertips, which are steaming.

"Now, just sit down behind the kid."

I do as I am told and the box lights up with laser-like brilliance. The man begins adjusting various levers and nobs, opens a valve, throws a switch. Such a powerful shock is sent throught the little girl that I am thrown back against the floor. I get up and am thrown down again. The child laughs hysterically and slowly rocks back and forth.

My attention is drawn to two small plastic kittens that have been placed atop the television machine. One is posed in a curled up sleeping position. The other sits at attention, batting at an invisible moth. Suddenly the upright kitten began to dance wildly around the other. The other wipes its plastic eyes and begins to move.

I suddenly realize that I have been drugged.

The man looks at me with a sly smile. "
You feel that drink yet, boy?"