Episode IX – A nice, refreshing interlude.

It was a slightly smoggy day, one of those fall days where the sun idles down and glides off the paint of the car as you cruise across the freeways under the endless blue sky above. We were on our way to Mexico for the big performance, and we were feeling quite copasetic. In the lead car were Mr. Trombone and Ms. Skins, and all of the drums. Hot Chops drove the rest of us in his battered blue Datsun station wagon. We crossed into Mexico with no problems. As far as I could tell, it never was a problem to get into Mexico. We let the lead car head down to the site to begin setting up, as the two of them were the responsible band members. The rest of us were lazy gringos with time to spare. We pulled over just off Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana, the main drag for fun in the city, and decided to stretch our legs a little from the brutal forty five minutes or so we had been in the car.

Since Hot Chops’ Datsun was a supreme piece of junk, we were worried about it being stolen. This was not a concern specific to being in Mexico. It was a constant concern because it looked like you could jam a flat screwdriver in the starter and get the engine to catch by turning it. To allay our fears, we gave some guy twenty bucks to watch the car. This gesture upped our collective ante; now the car could be stolen and we would be out twenty bucks. With our vehicle secured, we set out to find a good bar to eat some lunch in. No one paid any attention to our attire because there were much more interesting things going on. There was that drunken guy that had just wandered into the street and had been bumped by a car that didn’t stop, despite him staggering after it cursing in both English and Spanish. Then there was another guy waiving a condom and gesticulating wildly at a woman who was most likely not his wife or girlfriend. This was not to speak of the booming loud music coming from all the bars, the myriad of street merchants, as well as the crush of people coming and going. Our matching all black outfits in this context was beyond passé.

Nevertheless, Baselicious’ eyes looked as though they would spontaneously combust if we went much further. Calmly, we steered him into the closest dive and pulled up mostly clean stools to a table. On the table was a tepid bowl of salsa surrounded by a couple of lazy flies. Mr. Mysterious glanced at it as we waited, and then that crazy grin appeared. “I’ll pay anyone that drinks that bowl of salsa fifty dollars.” He proclaimed. Hot Chops and I looked at each other, and then stopped Basealicious from harassing the waitress in broken bad Spanish. We told him just to order in English, because at least then he would make a bit of sense. Once she had gone, I looked at the table and contemplated my options.

“What the hell.” I said as suavely as I could manage. “I’ll do it.” Without further thought, I lifted the sticky bowl to my mouth. A putrid odor caught my nostrils cloyingly as the substance rushed into my mouth. I exhaled and counted as the air rushed out of my lungs. By the time I had reached seventeen alligators, the bowl was empty.

“Want some water to wash that down?” Mysterious questioned me with an evil grin.

“Do I look that stupid?” I spat back, trying to ignore any tastes that crept into my brain.

“Definitely.” Hot Chops said, smiling. “You are going to be so sick.”

“Hey guys…” Basealicious began.

“Seen it.” The rest of us responded in unison in bored tones.

I hoped that whatever had been in that bowl was entirely edible and, hopefully would not impose any harmful effects on my long term life expectancy. A look to my left confirmed that Basealicious was watching the events transpiring in the bar and on the street with a slack jaw. All of the rest of us could do was laugh at his naiveté, and hope that the flies from the salsa didn’t take up residence in his mouth. The rest of lunch was as uneventful as lunch in a dive bar on Avenida Revolucion could be. On the way back to the car, we had to get Basealicious away from the clutches of a seedy gentleman advertising what he termed euphemistically, “Donkey Show”. The downside of rescuing him was that we then had to explain what exactly was going to transpire in the show. In the midst of our innuendoes and half-muttered comments, we arrived to find the car intact and in the same spot. In order to keep our good karma going, we tipped our watcher another five bucks and headed down to our performance.