And there was a number of smaller children gathered around the refreshments. Indicating what exactly. All manner of beasts: insects that sting, grit in your mouth,a waterfall, a conundrum, a yellow daisy. Meats on a plate, cold little boats of celery, a plea for dignity. A shadow of a man cast against a cement wall and seed-heads rattling against a windowpane of dusty glass in a hacienda remote from the town square where Eduardo no longer goes, nor is welcome. Innocent of larger ambitions, the girl sings to herself as she walks along the brokendown and empty sidewalks, thinking always of the sadness of the mandolin as played by her blind uncle in the tavern owned by her grandfather who is dead three years Monday next. Cassiopea. Interliminal. Aggregate. Epistle to the Apostle Paul. Agemmemnon sneers over a glass of bourbon, says “I refute it
thus.” And stubs out his cigarette. A Lincoln Continental, maroon and elderly, glides by the open door. Mariachi music leaks loudly from the cracked windows and a white-sleeved arm waves. In slow motion.

Lulu cracks a nut for a blue Macaw, murmurs a lulaby for her baby, rocks the bassinet with her bare foot and watches the football game on her black and white TV, her mind a sweet blank. Outside a man in a red sweater clutches his chest and leans against a honeysuckle-choked chainlink fence next to Nestor’s house. Nestor left the hose running in his yard and the water spills out over the sidewalk. There is a thin scrim of dust floating on top of the water and it swirls into intricate patterns which no one at present is looking at. Even the yellow dog trotting by is too intent on his walk to take notice. The sound of a gunshot makes the dog start. He seems to have stuttered or timewarped two inches to his left instantaneously.
Now he crosses the street, nervous. His small pink tongue juts out from between his teeth like an afterthought. The boy who named the dog ‘measles’ is craving a cherry snowcone. His throat is swollen and his eyes feel like sandpaper. Snot is crusted around his nostrils and shiny ribbons like snail tracks of snot are smeared on his t-shirt. He thinks about how good that cherry snowcone would taste right now.

The Lincoln Continental turns left on Vicksburg and is not seen in these parts again.