I ignore the two boys who'd entered the living room behind me until I hear yelping from Bruno the Lame Puppy. Polio, says the Mexican. In Mexico, says the Mexican, there are veterinarians, but when an animal gets sick, they say 'why bother, it's just an animal.
In America, say I the American, there are a people who pay a half year's salary to help their pets. Which is crazier?
The two boys behind are Piri (pronounced "Pe-de") the nephew, the son of Alejandro the Babaloa who right now is performing a ceremony for the Mexican's daughter with a troupe of other Babalaos. They wear white hats and have covered the doors in white sheets. Outside, two roosters lie bundled at the feet, two more chickens lie struggling in sacks.
The other boy is not from here, a stranger, and I quickly deduct a sort of veterinarian visiting from afar. Piri holds Bruno's head while the vet -a handsome, chiseled young lad wearing a brown beret of no religious significance, takes Bruno's hind leg and stabs it ungently with a syringe. They've been looking for someone to do this for a while now, even asking me after I arrived if I knew how to inject a dog. Vitamins, they say, a fleeting hope of relieving the polio. Bruno responds with muzzled yelps and peeing freely onto the tiled floor. The vet tracts the needle, Piri lets go, and it's done. the vet talks to Mario, though I understand little.
As the vet leaves, we finish eating and turn to the room, Cheche and her mother, her friend, Mario and me.
No one notices the urine on the floors, in due time it'll be mopped up with a rag. Bruno lies there like he has all day, like an old hound, except unlike a hound his head is up and erect and alert, watching the flies circle on and around him.
Now I'll try getting back online. I've been trying for two hours, since getting kicked off after sending one email and downloading one more (Harper's Weekly, pretty funny.) Since then the phone has been in use or the line has been busy or connected but dead. Right now, in this paragraph, it's the later, three minutes at 28.8 and exchanging a total of 34 bytes. This is too scientific to disclose.
Maybe I'm just not supposed to send email today.
We are sitting in the living room, taking turns with an Omron Model Hem-650 digital blood pressure monitoring device. Mine is 107 over 70, heart rate 74. Mario's is 124 over 80. His ex wife's is 114 over 78. No one can explain to us what these numbers means.
Now I have a connection...