Lorraine ate her tacos and still felt hungry, so she ordered a dozen more and another cerveza and thought ahead to her trip back to Black Mountain. She had come to a decision and she motioned for the swarthy man she had given a payment to to come over to her table. He sat his beer bottle on the table and then leaned back in his chair. “So Señora, you want to go ahead with this journey? It will be hard, you know.”
“I have given it some thought,” Lorraine responded. “And I really need to get back home. What do I have to do?”
The guy pulled a toothpick from behind his ear, and began digging at his teeth as he appeared to give her question some thought. “You will be walking and swimming and then walking some more. We need to find you something to wear. What you have on is pretty, but not practical. I will find you some boots and clothes.”
“That’s going to be a problem,” said Lorraine with a sigh. “I have very narrow feet and it’s hard to find shoes to fit. Believe it or not, I wear a triple A shoe with a six A heel. I have to buy very expensive shoes and sometimes Tops has to order my size special because they don’t always have what I want in my size.”
The man had been sucking on his beer and set the empty bottle on the table with a smack. “I’m sorry. Did you say something, señora?” he asked distractedly. “I must go now and find you some rugged clothes. Give me another one of your gems and I will trade it for good clothes for you.”
“OOOOOh,” sighed Lorraine. She hated to part with her jewelry, but she also wanted to get back home. She pulled out her Vuitton bag and rummaged around inside it, handling each jewel as it were a tiny bird’s egg. She didn’t dare lay them out on the table, because there were some unsavory-looking hombres stealing glances her way. They might hit her over the head and steal them all. She picked out a gaudy, jewel-encrusted cross and slipped it into her pocket. She would have to say bye-bye to this one, she feared. She handed it to her guy and felt sad and hopeful at the same time.
As she sat at the table for a long wait, nursing a Margarita, she spied him coming through the door with a nasty burlap sack in his hands. “I went ahead and got you your stuff, señora.” He set the bag on a chair and she stood to check out what he had brought. She was proud of her excellent taste and hoped this fellow had found some lovely embroidered peasant blouses for her. She could picture herself in a jaunty sombrero, too. She had to protect her skin at all cost.
The first thing that hit Lorraine, though, was the smell. Whether it was the bag itself or the contents of the bag, this thing smelled like bad body odor mixed with horse manure.
“No, no, no!” she cried. “I just can’t!”
“Si, señora, You can and you must. If you want to cross the border, you must wear these clothes.”
Lorraine peered tentatively aside the bag, and pulled out a pair of muddy leather boots. She held them up with her face twisted into a sneer. The boots were huge and the soles were worn down. She looked inside the boots, making sure there were no critters living in them. She removed her destroyed flats and stuck one foot into a boot. The sensation she felt when her foot touched the bottom of the boot was similar to how she had felt the few times she had gone bowling and had to put of those horrible rental bowling shoes. She just knew that athlete’s foot germs were packing up their stuff and moving in between her toes. “I told you!” she crowed. “Too wide.”
“Too bad,” was the answer.