...Cal is dreaming of Corey and himself as summer struck children at their Grandfather's sprawling compound of houses and barns in rural New Hampshire. He dreams of standing beside her bed just before sunrise, shaking her gently, watching as her eyes slowly open and seek his in royal blue confirmation. He dreams of racing with her down the grassy path to their fresh water lake, quick stripping on the sandy shore, splash laughing with her into the sweet coolness beyond.
Then the dream heats and tangles and the drops of clear lake water gleaming on Corey's smooth tan body become drops of sweat as they ride, naked, together, astride a single pale gray horse along a strange beach on a hot moonless night, except they are no longer children. And then the dream, somehow, segues again, and it is ten days ago and Deanna is talking to a boy named Tomas on the beach north of Zihuatanejo, a thin boy with quick black eyes who rents them horses. They ride five kilometers through yucca and cottonwood to a local hot springs spa. A huge steaming pool has been formed by damming the mouth of an arroyo below the springs. The pool is lined with smooth slabs of cut stone and filled with Mexican families happily poaching in the sun. They take one of the private cabana de banos, a small room with a wooden bench and large stone tub set in the ground. Above the tub on the wall is a single massive iron lever and spout to admit the hot springs water. They strip down and smoke a joint and then Deanna lies in the tub on her back with her hips positioned under the huge spout.
"Turn it on."
Cal takes a heavy belt of rum from a silver hip flask and kneels beside the tub, one hand on the iron lever.
"Turn it on."
"Maybe we should wait just one minute more."
Sunlight from the one high window picks out swirls of fragrant smoke in the air and the tops of Deanna's knees poking above the tub. She begins to moan, and he watches the rosy kneecaps slowly move together and then apart. Soon, her whole body is in motion.
"Please. Enough. Please. Turn it on."
"Here we go, darling."
He throws the lever and the steaming water thunders down, cleaving her body and mind, building until she throws her head back and issues a keening cry which blends with and finally becomes the 1:00 A.M. alarm that blasts him awake...
Cal is on his feet, unsteady, still drunk and dressed in his rumpled cottons. Into the bathroom, cold water on the face, and then enough meth to make the non-stop drive possible, a good jolt, another, a swig of tequila to soften the raggedness, bag over the shoulder and out the door into the hall.
Quietly now, quietly, down the stairs, a squint around the corner at the front desk, the night man snoring quietly in front of a battered black and white TV, its screen filled with snow. Past the desk, casually now, easy, down the foyer stairs, and out the front door into the soft Mexican night. Done!
Cal's spirits lift. The night sky is powdered with stars; the bay gleams below. He quick steps down the hill toward his car with the sad eyed yellow stray at his side. He is considering taking the dog along. It looks like it needs to get out of Mexico at least as badly as he does. He is thinking of naming it Heisenberg, because it seems so uncertain. The gas tank, he remembers, is almost full, he still has the $100 traveler's check, and if he needs a small amount of additional cash to get the hell out of this country he knows people he can call, people other than Corey, because he swore to himself he would never again take money from her, truly a matter of retaining some remnant of honor at this point.
As he approaches the car he sees a large figure in shadow leaning against the rear fender, a figure who steps forward into the street light and he recognizes with a stab of terror as the giant Mexican assistant to Herr Schmidt.
The yellow stray beside him takes a street-smart look, backs off growling, and bolts into the night.
"Buenos noches, Senor Cross. We will go now to Senor Schmidt. You will drive."
"Ah...Roque is it? Yes...well, I don't have the money just yet. I promised Herr Schmidt 9:30. I was just...ah...taking a drive...couldn't sleep..."
"You have your maleta, your suitcase."
"I...ah...usually carry it with me. There are thieves...in the hotels..."
"You will drive."
Roque steps forward and wraps his hand around Cal's upper arm. Cal, who is just under six feet, finds his nose two inches short of the bristling chest hairs in the vee of Roque's silk shirt. He feels Roque's body heat and smells his sweet lime cologne. Then the giant hand squeezes, and Cal feels his arm go numb.
"Yes," Cal whispers. "Yes. I will drive. Of course."
Cal drives up into the hills behind Zihautanejo, his arm tingling, taking an occasional left or right at Roque's direction. After half an hour, they pass through a stone gate, down a long drive flanked with cottonwood trees, and halt in front of a walled adobe structure with orange tiled roofs and turrets. Roque leads Cal through a gate into a star brightened interior court, and then to a single story building close to the outer wall.
Roque takes Cal's bag and directs him down a corridor and into a ten by twelve foot windowless room furnished with a cot and an empty bowl. An iron grating has been cut into the door for light and air.
"Senor Schmidt will see you manana."
"Ah...yes, well, there's really no need for this, Roque, no need at all. Really a misunderstanding, the whole thing. I need a bathroom, and also a drink if possible, a good stiff one, and I wonder if you could leave me my bag..."
Roque points to the bowl. "This is for your bathroom."
He pulls the door closed and slides the bolt home.
Cal paces the cell, back and forth, his mind bright with terror. He is now profoundly sorry he took the Methedrine, which at the moment is applying a kind of torque, an unholy spin to his paranoia. He begins to search his clothes, and finds two black beauties, two Demerols, and a Valium crushed together in a shirt pocket. He chokes them down with spittle. While waiting for the drugs to kick in he roams his mind for something to think about beyond his present circumstances and finally fixes on the night a week ago when Deanna left him, the night when the mix of alcohol, drugs, and local fruits and vegetables finally caught up with him and handed him a 103 degree fever and nonstop vomiting and diarrhea. The room became a hot, hellish cage filled with soiled sheets and towels, medicine bottles, Metaxa and tequila bottles, trash baskets spilling out crumpled tissues, toilet overflowing. Deanna was already fed up — with him, his drinking, the trip. And after two days on sick watch, she was stomping around seething.
"Everybody gets this. It's nothing."
"Give me a break. I feel like shit."
"How do you expect to get over it when you're sucking on a bottle of Metaxa all day? What are you trying to do, drown the fucking virus?"
"Put a lid on it."
"Give me the car keys. I'll go to Tres Cabras. Maybe listen to some music."
The opium in the Mexican paregoric kicks in and Cal sees himself drift off into damp, fever twisted dreams, roiling dreams he cannot recapture from within the dream he is now having. Then the fever breaks and Cal sees himself awaken, lucid, thirsty, and restless. Deanna is still out. He drinks a cold Carta Blanca from the tiny room fridge, then another, then hooks three fingers around a third and walks out onto the beach.
Cal sees himself walking toward the far point of the beach crescent, away from the town. The night is filled with banal beauty, white caps gleaming in three quarter moonlight, dark, shifting clouds and gentle surf. He feels light headed. Down the beach he can just make out the corral where Tomas keeps the horses he and Deanna rent, and beyond it, the shack where Tomas lives. As he approaches, he sees the Toyota parked behind the shack and a dim glow through the open front window. Then, by the light of a kerosene lamp, he sees Deanna from the rear, naked, astride Tomas. The dream brings the image back with vivid clarity. He watches the supple muscular lines of her back as she grinds into Tomas. He is arrested momentarily, caught by the toned, high tech perfection of her body. Then he rips open the flimsy front door.
Deanna turns, dismounts, and stands imperiously, glistening with sex juices and sweat. Tomas, terrified, bolts out the back door, his slender cock flapping like a foolish afterthought.
"Nice. Really nice."
"You've been too drunk or too sick to do me properly for a week, Cal. What did you expect?"
"I didn't expect you to fuck third world children."
"He's a delicious little slut, if you want the truth. Quite innocent, but his instincts are filthy. Whimpers like a girl when I rim him."
Deanna's tone is bright and casual, but Cal can see she is fighting for control, fighting tears, and Cal is fighting too, fighting his own anger, because he knows Deanna and her needs and he knows this is partially his own doing.
"This is not what we agreed to, Deanna. This is... bent."
Deanna's fine Appalachian features contort with rage, her dark eyebrows pulling down and together.
"You dare say that to me? You?"
"Deanna, don't...I'm telling you..."
"No you're not, Cal. I'm telling you. I'm outta here. I'll see you in New York if you sober up long enough to make it back."
She stoops and picks up a pair of flimsy, peach silk panties, dangles them from one finger.
"Or maybe you can ask Corey to bail you out again."
Cal knows Deanna knows this is clearly over the line. He is choking with rage, but he cannot suppress a flush of lust as he watches her yank on her shorts and halter top. Deanna steps by him and slams the shack door so hard she rips off one of the hinges...
After two hours, the drugs finally do their job and Cal goes under.