Inside the shack, Cayetana found a chair and a bed frame
made of wood and ropes. There was a machete under the bed. A
pregnant girl from distant Escuinapa was there, waiting.
Cayetana didn't know her, but she let her move in, since the
girl was afraid that she would lose her infant to coyotes if
she had it outside. Cayetana accepted the girl's blessing, then
swung the machete a few times. She liked the big blade. She
started to walk home.
The sun was already setting. She didn't like that. The dark
frightened her. That road was also scary. It wound between
black cottonwoods and gray willows. Crickets, frogs, night
birds, bats, coyotes, and ranch dogstheir sounds accompanied
her through the dark. When she had to peeand since the child
had sprouted inside her, she had to pee all the timeshe
squatted in the middle of the road and held the machete above
her head, ready to kill any demon or bandit that dared leap out
at her. An owl hooted in a tree behind her, and that made her
She came around a bend and saw a small campfire off to the
side of the road. It was on the south side. That was a good
omennorth was the direction of death. Or was it west? But
south was all right.
A man stood by the fire, holding a wooden bowl. He was
chewing, and he watched her approach. A horse looked over his
shoulder, more interested in the bowl than in her. Her stomach
growled and her mouth watered. She hadn't eaten in a day. She
should have hidden in the bushes, but he had already seen her.
"Buenas noches," she called.
He looked up as if noticing the darkness for the first time.
"It is," he agreed. Then: "Don't hit me with that
"This is for bandidos."
"Son cabrones," she explained. "And I'll kill the first
one that tries anything."
"Excellent," he said.
He put food in his mouth.
"I don't think you can kill a ghost," he said.
"We'll see about that," she said, flashing her blade.
The small fire crackled.
"What are you eating?" she asked.
"Cherries? What are cherries?"
He held one up. In the faint fire glow, it looked like a
small heart full of blood.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...