Luis parked the truck behind the building so it wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention. The old motel was long abandoned and just far enough away from the road to give them some privacy so they can plan and work. Most of all the old Adobe Motel and Spa offered them a place to sleep. Jorge wanted to knock a wall down in the back so they could pull the truck inside away from view. Luis could see running a place like this back home then he remembered their home was gone and everyone that mattered was dead. They planned on staying in this place for as long as they could or until they were finished. Jorge had two MRE meals ready to eat opened and ready to eat. The American combat rations were made to eat without any kind of cooking source with special packs that heat when water is added. They took as much of this food as they could so they could stay in the field without any unnecessary human contact. Luis pulled Jorge’s head back and kissed him while he slipped the pizza MRE away from Jorge leaving him the chicken and rice. Jorge said, “ass hole.”
They finished eating and sat near a radio listening to a local station while drinking from a bottle of cheap tequila and making love. Luis wondered how much longer they could keep doing this. How long until they were caught or killed. Jorge thought about what they would do or are going to do when the cartel left the border. They talked about going home and dealing with what was left of their town and maybe find their families remains. He could see a future that was nothing but an unrealistic dream to Luis. Jorge’s family never knew about how he felt or anything about his life after he left to join the army. When he was discharged, he and Luis were friends but not much more. It would be over two years before the two became more than just friends and it was a first for the both. Neither of them planned on ever going home until there was no longer a home to go back to. They fell asleep and, in the morning, they packed the truck and moved on.
The motel felt wrong. They wanted fewer walls and more ways to escape. If they were caught squatting in the old motel, their fake papers could be questioned while two men camping would draw less attention. Jorge went to set a fire to destroy any evidence of their stay, but Luis stopped him saying, “that will draw just as much attention.” Jorge lit the bottle of diesel and tossed it into the open doorway. The two drove away and went for about an hour before Jorge said, “fuck them all. If they could keep their problems on their side of the border, then none of it would have happened. If I could, I would burn this country down to the ground.”
“Yes, I do…… what? I don’t know…... No, it’s empty,” Wendy hung up the phone. She turned to Cathy and said, “the Adobe is burning.” Cathy put her cup of coffee down and asked, “what?” Wendy grabbed her coat and said, “that was the fire department on the phone, the motel is on fire.” She grabbed the keys to one of the trucks and said, “I’m going over to see what the fuck is going on. I’ll call you from there let everyone know what’s going on.” Wendy didn’t wait for a response she just went out the door as Cathy watched. There was no local television news, but the radio news was talking about the loss of a landmark with the fire. By the time the call-in show was speculating on arson, everyone was awake and listening. Wendy called the show saying how she didn’t have the insurance the other callers were claiming, and the police and fire departments said there were signs of squatters and arson. The callers turned from blaming Wendy without saying her name to blaming illegals and the war on the border. About the time someone asked if they found a Quran in the motel Cathy turned the radio off saying, “what a bunch of fucking idiots.”
Darrel got behind the wheel of the 1986 Chevy cargo van he and Scott were rebuilding and drove to the shop that does all their paint jobs. Hector Estrus know in the painting community as Steady E for his flawless freehand pinstriping met Darrel at the door to his shop. He said, “it’s gonna be hard to beat that last job Big D.” Darrel smiled and said, “you are going to hate this one. I mean gouge out your eyes, offer to pay me to hide it kind of hate.” Hector looked the van over and said, “this needs something like a penguin riding a unicorn across a rainbow or some sort of shit.” Darrel said, “hot pink with lots of bright neon green pinstriping.” Hector smiled then started to laugh. Darren smiled and said, “no really that’s the paint.” Hector said, “let me do what I do, and just maybe we can do something.” Over the next four weeks, Hector painted the body of the van the hot pink with the roof a pearl white. Along the top and the skirt, he added neon green pinstripes. Along the sides of the van, he added a two-foot strip bordered by a pearl pinstripe with an elaborate series of vines and roses all in the pearl. He painted the rims white with neon green pinstriping, and a pearl rose on the hood surrounded by the neon green pinstripe. He left it unsigned hoping no one would know the work was his even as his efforts made him smile with just a little pride.