filled in.

When I didn't feed the dogs my food they dragged a seagull up from the beach, tore it apart, and ate it in front of us. Pedro came out and kicked at them and they scattered, but the Russians weren't upset. I went to the balcony edge, thinking I might throw up, but there I saw Chuy greeting a limousine. Carlos poked his head out of the driver's seat and looked up. He was wearing a chauffeur's cap over his tiny glasses.

"Hey, I thought you muchachos were driving on through up the coast?"

"Hola, Carlos," Yusef answered. "What's up? What you be doing here? We thinking we going to meet you maybe day after
and stay here tonight. We be going to call you later. We been tired, want to sleep, maybe have little vacation. Too much drinking tequila last night."

"Amigos, look, we gotta keep to a schedule here, things are arranged at the border."

"Oh, no, Carlos, we just rest here for a while. We getting late start, now we run into Sondra and cousin's beautiful style, old motel, so quiet here."

My head was throbbing. I took a deep breath and vaguely wondered who might be in the back of the limousine. I didn't want to think too hard, but I wasn't having a good feeling about all this activity. Then another vehicle pulled up. It was a new,

customized black SUV with California plates filled with nine people. A mother, two sons and their wives, and four teenage daughters piled out into the driveway.

"Hey, we got a reservation here, this is the American Motel, right?" One man yelled up at me in that tone of voice that meant he owned things, maybe a company, and was used to getting his way. The other man, in a Hawaiian shirt, immediately began unloading expensive fishing gear. They were handsome, well-groomed, and already tan in that wealthy, well-fed way. But the women had a feral, nervous look, clutching their clothes and bags, fingering their hair. Chuy arrived to help, eyeing the four daughters, all twice his height, calling each one 'mamacita.' The dogs were circling the limousine and growling, hair prickling on their backs.

"The owner's going to return in a while. So maybe you all want to rest on the terrace and get some food, a beer?" I called down. I took a look around at Carlos, the Russians, and now this family. "I mean, hey, I'm just a guest here too. I need to go lie down and sleep so if you all want to just make yourselves..."

The back door to the limousine suddenly clicked open and bare feet followed by long, mahogany legs wrapped in a tiny, fringed suede skirt slid out. Thick black braids fell from under an army cap em-
broidered with 'U.S. School of the America's, Fort Benning, Georgia.' She wore a shrunken army jacket with cut-off sleeves and a choker of emeralds. The dogs were in a frenzy and barking. She pulled out a tiny gun, shot at the dirt, and they ran off. Then she pulled on a leash and a baby black jaguar rolled out of the car into the dust.

"This is La Zamba," Carlos said to every- one, and Zamba moved up the steps as if she owned them.

One of the wives, a tall blonde with careful hair and tailored jeans, took over. "We made a reservation several weeks ago and we need our rooms arranged. We reserved three rooms, two for ourselves and one for the children and their grandmother. We paid in advance and," she glanced at an expensive watch, "we're actually late. Drove all night and morning and we want to rest and eat."

The grandmother ignored everything and just stared into space. The husbands were holding their fishing gear and watching Zamba. The daughters moved closer together.

I yelled at Chuy unloading luggage, "Stop that, Chuy. Go find Shawn on the beach, pronto."

Chuy went racing out the driveway as a
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