Neto Ruiz was his pueblo’s “gringo expert.” He’d been born “on the other side” just before his parents returned to Mexico. That cinched his “expertness.” Gringos didn’t made him furious.
Neto told me of the day a gringo brought Pepe Rios, his wife’s brother, to Neto’s one-room house. Pepe was bleeding down his left leg. “You should have taken him to that curandero, Don Mario,” I told the American. The gringo’s red hair was long, his voice loud. “Pepe said to bring him to you. That you are his brother.”
“We’re cuñados. He’s my wife’s brother.” I was surprised at the long-haired, furious gringo’s good Spanish. Pepe was slumped against the neck of his horse. “Go to the curer, Pepe. Don Mario can fix you. This gringo can’t.”
The morning breeze was up. Pepe was falling out of his saddle. I steadied him. “Help me,” I told the gringo. “Put him here.” We eased Pepe against a zapote tree. The gods could see him there. Maybe get this gringo to work some American cure. “Somebody stabbed him,” the gringo said.
“The knife broke off when I stabbed him this morning,“ I said, bending over. “Go to the curer, Pepe. Get fixed.”
Pepe grimaced, “You tried to cut off my balls, you bastard.”
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