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Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Synopsis

The group contemplates what to do next. They decide to head west and try to find an American hotel. The pregnant woman tells them in America they can flush the toilet paper down the toilet, but nobody believes her because they know it goes in the basket by the sink. Exhausted they move forward with thoughts of Hollywood and Disneyland in their minds.

A quarter of a mile later, the group walks around a corner and are blinded by headlights from a US border patrol truck. They are told to stay where they are. Out of nowhere they hear a cry of “Yankee bastards!”. They all look to the south to see Atómiko at the edge of the fence. He does some daring staff moves, while the agents watch, entertained and cries, “I am Atómiko!” he raises his staff and yells, “Nayeli Rules!”. He turns, runs and sticks his staff into the dirt and pole vaults over the wall. Everyone is stunned.

They are herded back into the truck when Agent Smith asks Candelaria, the pregnant woman, if he had seen her last week, to which she replies he had. She jokes that Agent Smith never stops working and he says he has Sundays off to which she replies she will try again on Sunday. Driving back to the station they see two agents beating a boy to a pulp. Agent Smith seems embarrassed and says he must have done something very bad. They are transferred to a bus full of other people joking and laughing with each other. The bus begins to move and they are told they will have a short interview, be registered and released.


The crowd of people are herded off the bus and split into two groups. Nayeli is separated from the others. They enter the pen and most everyone is staring at the ground. Nayeli watches the agents and is impressed with what efficiency they work. She sees a woman agent and is fascinated. She sees a black man and is entranced. She has never seen a black man except for in the movies. She stares at his skin, amazed at how it shines. He asks her if she is looking at him and she says yes. He asks her why and she replies “It is…your skin. It is…beautiful.” Agent Smith comes along and tells Arnie that she is Nayeli and she rules. Arnie opens the gate and tells her he’s going to get her processed.