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Chapter Twenty Five

Chapter Synopsis

The girls squeal and jump on Tacho when he arrives at the house. Matt doesn’t know how to deal with the girls so he goes across the alley to Carla’s and sleeps with her. Atómiko sits on the front porch thinking about America. He likes it a lot: the people, the clean air, the cars, but he misses his hut by the dump. He made everything in it with care and detail. Similarly, Chava was missing Tres Camarones. As he drove to see Nayeli he missed the heat, the shrimp, the alleys and especially Irma. Chava has dinner with the girls, Tacho, and El Brujo. After he pulls Nayeli aside and says he knows of a boy who may be better suited for their needs than him. They decide to go see him in the morning.

The next morning Chava picks up Nayeli to go meet Angel, and Tacho and Atómiko come along. Chava explains he met Angel when his car broke down. A van full of men stopped and out jumped Angel who fixed his car in a matter of minutes, refusing any payment. He explains he has only been to his camp a couple of times, but always makes sure to bring supplies, because it is very hard where he lives. They stop at a supermarket to get food for the camp. While inside Tacho and Nayeli are in the cereal aisle when two boys, Sully and Jimbo block their exit on either side. They harass Tacho and Nayeli, calling them wetback, illegals, and Tacho, a homo. Chava runs into Sully with his cart and pretends it was an accident.

They arrive at the camp and have to walk down a valley off the freeway to get to it. Upon entering Chava announces that they are friends and fellow Mexicans. They are met by the boss of the camp, Don Arturo who welcomes them to Camp Guadalupe. Don Arturo explains they pick flowers and crops for money, whatever is in season. There are 40 of them that live in the camp and they all split costs of food and supplies. Angel steps into the camp followed by Sully with a heavy chain, Jimbo with a bat, and four other unarmed boys. The boys threaten the campers and their visitors, calling them mud people and saying they ruin America. When no one responds Atómiko decides to stand up for them all. Atómiko and the boys have a confusing dialogue where there is Spanish the boys don’t understand and English Atómiko doesn’t understand, but eventually Atómiko takes his staff and cracks it across Sully’s face, breaking his nose. Angel pulls Sully and throws him into the creek. Nayeli takes down Jimbo and another boy who punches Tacho. Sully gets back up, but Atómiko knocks him right back down. He throws another thug into the campfire setting his hair ablaze. Jimbo gets back up and he and the two remaining thugs circle Nayeli and Atómiko. Tacho and Angel attack Jimbo from behind with his bat and a frying pan. Atómiko takes one of the thugs down hitting him in the throat and the solar plexus. With only one left, Nayeli jumps to him smiling with her fists raised. He runs out of the canyon screaming. Nayeli turns to Angel and asks if he would like a job.

The group arrives back home. Chava takes Angel to his house to shower and get new clothes. Nayeli cannot wait to tell Yolo about their day. Carla is in the front yard, soaking in the kiddie pool. She tells them La Vampi is gone with El Brujo and Matt and Yolo are inside. Nayeli walks in only to hear the sounds of Yolo and Matt having sex. She walks to his room and peers in the half open door, only to confirm what she has heard. Feeling betrayed she walks back out and Carla tells her Aunt Irma called earlier that day to say she had arrived in San Diego.

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