9. As they turned 16 years old, the cousins heard much from and about a new upstart in competition named Monty whose last name was Montalvo and from whom many foul rumors concerning the cousins had originated. Ana and her antics had alienated enough of their customer base that they sided with Monty and laughed as they shared the insulting falsehoods to each other about Juan and Ana. Some said that Ana was, in fact, not attracted to men at all and was, indeed, a closet lesbian. This was, according to Monty and those who spread his gossip, the reason that she could never be found with any boy other than her cousin and why she had been so effective selling cocaine, for even her connection, according to the rumors, was a manly, shorthaired Mexican woman who worked for the cartels and from whom Ana enjoyed great favor as the stud woman’s much younger and beautiful lover. There was hearsay, also from Monty, that contradicted this. It implied that the cousins’ relationship was more than familial. Versions of this varied depending on who told it. Some said that secretly they’d attempted to get married and made no mention of a child. Others never said anything about a marriage but proclaimed that when Juan and Ana were still 13 years old, they’d had a child together. And this child was taken from them by the state being the result of their incestuous love affair. Still, some versions of the bruit said that the child was never taken by the state at all. They said it was born a mangled mess of twisted limbs and a misshaped head, a result of the inbreeding, and had died the very night it was born. Some whispered that the infant’s remains were buried by Juan and Ana in the forest around Valle Escondido. For Ana, the must grotesque and insufferable of all the lies coming from their competitor said that she only wore skirts to hide the fact that she’d been born with male genitalia. It was purported that she’d been born a hermaphrodite. And as if such vulgar conjecture weren’t horrible enough, there were multiple standing bets among Monty’s minions which speculated not only about the existence of such testicles, but their size and shape and even the odor they emanated. Many of the cousins’ customers and cohorts knew better. For Taos is small, and there is no way that such things could be hidden among the native-born, but this Monty had only moved to town from Colorado Springs the summer before. His brother was a police officer named Jose Montalvo, and a week after Juan and Ana had someone call Monty to meet by the Old Blinking Light and the cousins shot up his car in the darkness, Officer J. Montalvo pulled the cousins over. They were at the northside Allsup’s getting some chimichangas. Juan’s orange soda had just exploded as he opened it when the red and blue lights flashed behind them. They pulled over in the Kit Carson Trailer Park. It was lucky for them that they were not out doing business, so nothing could be found, no gun, no drugs, nothing. Monty’s older brother made it clear who he was and why he had stopped them. “Next time, I’ll call the dogs. And next time, you’ll be in possession. My brother says hello.” He said, flashing his light in their eyes and laughing and leaving back to his car. On a Sunday at 1 a.m. and the Monday night following at 11:52, gun shots blasted from the dirt driveway up to Cherry’s trailer. A bullet shattered Ana’s window and thudded in the wall above her head. Another put a hole in her bedroom door. Other of the projectiles deflated the tires of their trusty Pontiac and shattered its windows and busted the radiator. Cherry kicked them out. They purchased another vehicle—a wood-paneled van—and holed up at a bed and breakfast owned by a white hippy lady in Sipapu. From their room, Ana made plans to thwart the territorial advances of Monty and the help he was getting from his brother. It was told her that Jose Montalvo drove a yellow Datsun and rented an apartment behind the northside Guadalajara Grille, so she prepackaged a sandwich bag full of smaller bagged increments of the powder and visited the Datsun under cover of a frozen night and stuffed the bags of drugs into the small, shelved space under the driver seat. After that, she and Juan drove to Santa Fe, where they found and rented a trailer on Cerrillos in an immigrant trailer park. They would start anew in Santa Fe, and after a week of being there, Ana called her old relative—the detective Gilbert Sandoval—and told him over the payphone receiver that she was the worried older sister of a young boy who’d been caught up in the world of drugs. She said she knew that her little brother’s supplier sold cocaine and kept a cache of drugs hidden under the front seat of his yellow Datsun which he kept parked in front of a small, squatty apartment behind the northside Guadalajara Grille. Old Gilbert spoke sincerely saying that he would do his best to find out what was going on, and in another week, Ana and Juan heard from one of their old customers that drug dogs had been walked behind the vehicle and signaled and a warranted was executed on the vehicle. The news even showed up in the Santa Fe paper. It said the investigation was ongoing and other parties were expected to be involved in a drug ring. As that January ended, Juan and Ana became desperate. Sales were way down, and except for a few faithful customers with whom they corresponded over their newly purchased Nokia cellphone and met in Pojoaque and at the Camel Rock Casino. Sometimes, Juan goaded Ana to suck it up and ask Michael or Antonia for help up in Chimayo, but she always responded the same. “Juan, this only works the way it does, because it is this way. We can’t go sit on top of him and Antonia’s man’s business in Española, que no?” “Yeah. You’re right. You’re right,” Juan responded, but both of them could not ignore the depleted income and struggle to feel good about their time in Santa Fe. “We’ll get back to Taos, eventually. I promise. We just have to wait till things blow over, until our boy is arrested and put away. Then, we’ll return to get our glory, cousin. I promise.” And so, they sat outside of bars in their van and solicited the young white and well-to-do artsy types downtown, standing in the snow and smoking cigarettes and pot in their leather shoes. Some of the men had twirly mustaches, and some of the women wore rings in their noses and had hair in their armpits. They reeked of patchouli and burnt sage. Others, though, were richer and lived on their daddy’s money or trust funds. They were dropouts from universities in places like Tempe, Arizona or Boulder, Colorado. And it wasn’t long before a tall, black-haired girl with big blue eyes and an even bigger nose parked her car outside of their trailer and slept in Juan’s bed and lay around lazily all day. Sometimes, Tiffy—as she called herself and short for Tiffany—helped them sell their product, and other times, she used the money her father sent her to buy it herself. Other times, she earned her stash of cocaine from Juan with her strange white flesh. But still, times were hard. Sales were down. A connection they’d made through Tiffy had connected them to another buyer who went by the name Scratch or Scratchy. He was reliably in need of an ounce or more toward the end of every work week when he came up from Albuquerque. In many ways, this guy seemed a godsend, but as they met him more and more, Ana became leery of him. She’d had a nightmare about him, and in her own mind, she silently called him ‘The Worm.’ There was something about him that scared her, though she couldn’t place it. He had creases in his face and was short with wild looking eyes and strong teeth and hands. They met him at night in the snow on the side of the road in Bernalillo or in the afternoon in Dollar Store parking lots. He only talked to Juan, but long after they’d left him, his looks and stares would stay with Ana who kept her hand on a pistol in the front seat at every deal they did. On a few occasions, Juan relayed messages back to Ana from the man about how pretty she looked and that if she was ever hungry for an expensive dinner, he’d be happy to take her out. One day, Juan jumped back into the front seat of their van, and Ana asked, “Got the cash or what?” “Got the feria right here, cousin!” And shook her head and pulled her lip back in disgusted uncertainty, watching Scratch’s taillights pulling out of the parking lot and driving off into the sunset. “What, Ana? Ain’t this cherry?” “It’s cherry… but…” “But what?” “But… I don’t know about this guy.” “Don’t know about him?” “Yeah, Juan. Why’s he so splotchy? Huh? Why’s he look so crazy?” “He’s a whiteboy, Ana. C’mon. You know that.” “I see a lot of whiteboys. None of them look like him. He looks like a worm to me.” “A la verga!” Juan drew the words out in exaggeration. “What?” “You like the money or what?” “Doesn’t matter if I like it. We need it.” “Exactly.” “What did he say?” “What did he say? Oh cousin, I see what’s going on here.” “What?” “You want to know what he said? A la verga! You’re a funny one, cousin.” “Okay. So, he didn’t say anything.” “Well, if you hate him so much, then what you wanna know what he says for?” Ana shrugged, understanding that she was showing Juan a hand she didn’t know she held. Juan went on, “He asked what kind of gun you were holding onto and said for you not to shoot him.” Ana laughed loudly and asked, “Well, what did you say?” “I told him it was just a nine.” “Funny,” she said and touched her lips for a moment. She looked through the window as they drove north to Santa Fe. “Yeah, Ana. Better get a grip on yourself.” “Pshh… whatever.” But what she had just revealed to Juan was also just revealed to her at that same moment. Ana didn’t know what her feelings were until Juan saw it. Then, she knew. Then, she understood what she was experiencing, and now, as they drove, she pressed her toes through her shoes and into the floorboard. Her knees bounced. Her cheeks pulled the corners of her mouth up into a smile that she couldn’t help, and in spite of all her giddiness, she said what she still thought, “Yeah, Juan. But I still think he’s gross. I still think he’s a worm.”
Day 193 - Santa Fe, NM to Pojoaque, NM - 20 miles - Tonto, We Have Surrounded An Indian
So I left Stephanie's house in the morning and went north. I had a pretty uneventful day. I passed by Camel Rock, which is a pretty cool rock formation (pictures on my instagram). I had trouble finding a place to spend the night, so in the end I spent the night in a slightly secluded area at a Native American Casino. Most of the Pojoaque valley is owned by some native American tribes, usually called Puebloan people in this region. The title of this is just poking fun at the fact that they aren't Indian, but I am. There were really just two notable things, this day was my mom's birthday (a few days past at the time I'm writing this), and I didn't have phone service. I unfortunately couldn't wish my mom a happy birthday on her birthday. It I had service in the morning as I was leaving Santa Fe and had intended to talk to my mom after I had finished walking for the day so I could have a conversation with her. By midday I had no service and lacked it since. That's my excuse for why this post was late. It was a really cold night, one of the few on this trip I wished I was indoors. I usually like to just sleep in my underwear and a shirt, but when it's really cold I usually keep on most of my layers. I didn't do that on this night though because I didn't think it'd get that cold. I haven't talked about the books I've been reading in a while. Over the last few days I've been reading the Caspak Trilogy. I finished book 1 the day before, and book two on this day. I also started book 3.
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