The long-limbed, pale man in a white suit and hat’s entrance into the cantina was framed in a sky purpled by the setting sun. He flicked off his sunglasses, the only dark thing about him, and swaggered to a barstool.
“Una cerveza, por favor. In a bottle. ¿Comprende? I don’t know the Spanish for ‘bottle.’ Do you speak English?”
“I know some English,” the teen behind the bar said. “You want your beer in a bottle.”
“Si, claro, niño,” grinned the pale man, showing his teeth as he slapped some coins on the bar. “It’ll be nice to speak something other than Spanish, I’ll tell you. It’ll be relaxing for me and a relief for you. My Español es muy malo.”
The teen chuckled and handed him his beer, sweeping the man’s payment off the counter. “Do you want chips and salsa, señor?”
“Hell, no!” the man said. “This country is just as sweltering at midnight as it is at noon – I’m guessing, because just imagine someone with my complexion outside at noon – and you people eat spicy food. I’ll never understand it.”
He stood and paced around the empty cantina, observing its decor. “You haven’t got the usual velvet Jesus paintings, with that garish burning heart.”
“I apologize, señor.”
“No, no. Don’t feel bad. Your national icon was getting a little – well, tiresome would be a polite way to say it.”
The teen chuckled again, which made the man turn and cock his head. “Now, what would tu madre think of that?”
“There are many things, señor, that my mother would not like. But she is dead.”
“It happens, niño. I’m all alone myself in this world,” said the man, swigging from his bottle and sitting back on the stool.
“¿Verdad?” said the boy, now the one to cock his head to the side. Then he leapt across the counter, seizing the man by his shirt and nose, and sunk his teeth deep into the man’s neck. Red sprayed across the man’s white suit.
The boy left the twitching body on the floor and returned momentarily with several empty bottles. Holding one up to the man’s hemorrhaging neck, the teen said, “‘Botella,’ señor.”