by Jerry Vilhotti
The train station master man left. They were alone.
Johnny took another swig from the tequila bottle and whispered, “Jesus, are we the only ones in Mexico going north?”
Linda Ann did not hear him; having escaped into a deep sleep
Johnny decided to step outside to see if others were coming. About a hundreds yards away he could make out four uniformed guys carrying rifles walking briskly toward where he was standing; he could have sworn they were wearing fierce expressions too.
“Christ, they’re taking back Texas and the US of A!” he whispered as he retreated backward; yet, keeping them in his sights.
When they came within a hundred feet, they stopped and cocked their guns — making the ugly sound bite into Johnny’s stomach; feeling how Bonny and Clyde felt while getting riddled with a thousand bullets. Now he fully retreated to wake up his wife saying: ”Don’t panic! We got to look like tourists! Four soldiers with big guns are coming our way!”
Linda Ann stirred just a bit. He repeated himself though a bit louder — drawing the word gun out to its fullest emphasis. This made her blue-green eyes widen to begin a stare at the front entrance while her strawberry blonde hair moved nervously.
Johnny took the Mexican hat off that he bought at the old Indian market in San Miguel Allende — so his curly hair would be more visible. He placed his shoulder bag under the bench; fearing they might think he had a gun inside and begin shooting before asking questions as was done in some USA cities, towns and villages. He pretended a sedate conversation with Linda Ann that lasted a full ten minutes with much head nodding and hand movements shaping a meaning from words not being heard nor making much sense.
“Linda, I’m going to see what’s happening,” he said now wishing he had ordered six breakfasts — fearing he was never going to eat again; seeing his body shuddering from the effects of bullets entering it from all kinds of directions.
He peeked out to the side and not ten feet away was a soldier standing at attention; holding his rifle against his chest.
“The train will be coming soon, Linda. Midnight!” he said more to the soldier than to his wife. Then nonchalantly, he went back to sit. After five minutes of staring at the entrance: imagining all kinds of charging positions — with machetes twirling around heads, Johnny decided he would go see what was keeping them. He swore he felt Zapata and Pancho nearby.
“Nobody out here! They’re gone! Let’s go stand on the platform,” he said regaining his macho composure.
The train came promptly.
Their toilet was broken but this trip back they could see out of their compartment window and once again they missed their complimentary meal when Johnny insisted that on this train they would most likely have two sittings since it was much bigger than the one they had come down on and so finished shaving as the bell continued to toll for them and when they came out they were told the dining car with all the different vending machines had been left back at the last stop. He was wrong again. He was one hungry looking tourist but he was still alive!