We met at the cafe. She was ten minutes early. I should know because I was spying on her from the covered basketball court. We walked down the Hwy about 100 meters. I spotted a little gift shop with the lights on and the door open. We went in. It was MushroomMania. And a bunch of wool clothing. Beanies, Scarves, Gloves etc. We tripped around the little store for several minutes. One would think somebody would either come in, or at least pop their head in from behind the curtains, and ask if we needed any help finding anything. So there we were. In this quaint little gift shop. And nobody appeared. So we left. The End.
We walked into a strange place that sort of had an Italian feel to it. I noticed a tall, scruffy, well built white guy that looked like Mario Cipollini. He was holding a cute baby that I assumed was his. The place was clean and strangely under-lit. ESPN Deportes was on the flatscreen hanging by cables from the ceiling. In the corner was a makeshift gift shop. Again, mushroom trinkets, wool clothing, I think you get it. One entire wall had three rows of wooden shelves that housed 75 different flavors of Mezcal. They were all corked in glass bottles. Another wall had a full sized black and white mural of Ayrton Senna. There was a beer fridge stocked with Indio. There was a Mexican couple eating food at one of the square wood tables.
Irene and I split a 40oz Indio, and sat down at a table overlooking the highway. I wasted no time at getting to the bottom of this trip.
“Who told you to find me here?, I inquired.
“You found me, remember?“ she answered.
“No, really. Who gave you the lowdown?”
“A man named Tino.”
“How many Tinos do you know?”
“Where are you from?”
“What do you do there?”
“I live at home and am in school. I’m going for my Masters at Stanford.”
“What are you studying?, I asked.
“Studying to be the next great Girl Friday,” she said.
We finished our 40, and decided to each try a shot of Mezcal. I slid in a cup of Hot Chocolate for safe measure. As we sipped our paint thinner, I decided to dig a little deeper.
“What did Tino tell you,?” I asked
“He told me that you need help.”
“Help with what?”
“You tell me. That’s why you found me.”
“It sounds like it,” she giggled.
Irene went off to use the outdoor toilet. I sipped the hot chocolate, and began doing my own math. Somebody must have told Tino that I needed help. Who knew Tino I thought? Too bizarre. Maybe Tino witnessed the incident that took place on my balcony last month. But even so, what led him to Irene? Who led him to Irene? There just had to be middle people between the two. Tino is not online. Tino doesn’t speak English. In fact, Tino is so far removed from my pathetic reality that his involvement in any of this is downright preposterous. The plot began to thicken just as Irene had returned from going potty.
The Mezcal was kickin’ like Bruce Lee. I decided not to ask the young girl any more questions. She was just doing what she was somehow being told to do. Perhaps this was(is) her dissertation, and I’m her case study. But still. WTF! Here was a pretty young woman that semi-randomly appeared out of nowhere, and she apparently wants to be my personal assistant. Like for her resume or something. Weird Shit. I just had to play this one out.
It was getting late. 10ish or thereabouts. Irene was tired I could tell. We had talked for a long time. She kept telling me how funny I was, and that I should write a book about Nothing. I told her about my run in with Jerry Seinfeld in NYC, and that I had always told myself that if I was ever walking in The City, that I would make sure I was carrying a business card with nothing on it, and to be sure to hand it to him if and when I saw him. And after handing him the blank business card, I was just going to move right along and not wait around for a reaction. Allow the funny man to digest my humor on his own terms. I told her that I had my golden opp one sunny afternoon in 2007, but that the only business card I had on me had my name and phone number on it, and handing that to him…Well that seemed pretty cattle call.
I sort of noticed she had stopped paying attention to my story about a quarter way through it. She then told me a story about how when she was young, she and one of her girl friends used to do this thing, or play this game, that when one person was telling a story that the other person thought was totally stupid and not worth having to listen to, then that person would pretend that the ceiling would all of a sudden open up, and that a flat screen TV would magically begin dropping. Obviously, a mystery TV appearing out of the ceiling during this stupid conversation would naturally(and purposely) divert your attention from having to listen any longer. And if that weren’t enough, and to make absolute sure the stupid storyteller got the message, you would also say the words, “Neeeeeeer Dink” to signify the two sounds a TV supposedly makes when it is A. being hydraulically lowered from the ceiling,(Neeeeeeer) and B. when it finally comes to a Stop.(Dink)
I told her that I was going to get on the 9am Van back down the hill in the morning, and perhaps we could meet again in the morning for coffee. We agreed on 8am. We shook hands. She walked up the hill. I walked down it. We both tuned around at the same time, and at the same time, said Merry Christmas. “Jinx 12345………”
It had to have been getting close to 11pm. I was starving. I went back to the restaurant that was on the premises of my Hotel & Cabañas. Again, the restaurant appeared to be closed. In fact, I would have bet my life on it being closed. But it wasn’t. Son of a Beehive. I sat down at a table setup for ten and ordered a Tlayuda con Tasajo. Another Hot Cocoa too. I sat there all alone. Sort of a Xmas to remember I kept thinking.