Can So Do That

Now, what should have been the piece of proverbial cake was getting hold of Dr. MeiMei Chiang. Nee May Flower Chiang, how’s that for precious? The woman had an office in a government building in Chetumal. She’d actually had an appointment with her. What could be simpler than that? The hard part was supposed to come later, figuring out what it all meant.

Because Miss Mayflower is what it all came down to. All that McKenna “Time Wave Zero” stuff, and what it all comes down to is Year of Our Bygracious Lawd 2012, couple shopping days til Christmas and every single crypto-cycle she could parse hit barebottom zero on the same date a bunch of Indians decided to end their 5000-year calendar. So you go to the guy who wrote the book, right? Who turns out to be dead, possibly from brainrot due to conspicuous consumption of every rainjungle mind-melter he could lay hand to.

So you find the next book, which it turns out got wrote up by cute little MeiMeiFlower, who turns out suddenly got her ass gone and ain’t nobody round the office wants to talk about where it mighta decamped to. Conspicuous by their non-knowledge, you know. Horny Mexican geeks got no idea there was this fine-assed China doll working in the next playstation. Make you go “Hmmmmmm” sometimes.

So here Aphra sat, cooling her sculptural buns in this weird park and getting her head around the whole depth of this Three Cultures mural. One thing you gotta hand to those Spaniards, they were efficient. Instead of kill off all the Indians, then ship in slaves from Africa, causing untold problems for all concerned, they just cut out the middleman and slaved the Indians. Out there building forts on the West Coast while the Anglos were mucking around with Dan’l Boone. Best give it up for know-how and firepower. Which had kind of been the idea all along.

So she’s waiting for this Luis character to walk by for his coffee and yucky little cake stuff over there in the swank coffeehouse, serves freeze-dried coffee. Like he does every day this time, which she couldn’t help but notice since she’s had the whole place staked out while waiting for a turnover and failing to get back to the Cracker in Chief who’s paying the freight for this fuckup. Whiling away the time in this garden spot figuring out which way’d be best to wring out his snippy little ass. When who should fall by but the shy cutie from the office there, closet violet shrinking among the male hotshots. Didn’t even get her name.

Which turns out to be Lluvia. The picture there seems to be; she’s a bit hot on Luis. Also quite impressed by the elusive Doctor Chiang. Who she likes and appreciates and would prefer not to see sullied and debased by Luis, her immediate superior. Presumably because if there’s any sullying to be done on the Luis issue, she’d prefer being sole source.

So here she is, telling tales out of school. First whisking her off to this little… what the hell is this place, anyway? Internet café with candy and some really disturbing little comic books for school kids and beer for whoever, but also a taco shop with goofy tables made out of PVC barrels. Telling her all that soap opera shit between the lines, no idea what she’s broadcasting. Typical government employee, really. But also telling the tale on this roadtrip thing. Luis hauls MeiMei up to something called Cobá and comes back without. Not happy about it, either. And not the least bit talkative. But what we got: last seen.

Little Lluvia’s pretty adorable, by the way, especially all conflicted up on her loyalties and typical nice Mexican girl complications. Aphra wouldn’t have minded browsing more of what she could see in that typical lowcut, pushmepullyou bra there, but it would have been too much like jacklighting Bambi. That Catholic guilt trip stuff all over her, dribbling a crucifix in that peekaboo cleavage like she means it: keeping at bay us black-hearted vampire types.

What it’s worth, drop a few heavy hints that she could do much worse than shitcanning Luis, to include any and all fondest dreams in that general direction. He hasn’t hit on her by now, he’s too stupid to fool with. And FYI, honey, guys who take girls on rides out of town and don’t bring them back aren’t your best bet, anyway. But hey, can she give directions to this Cobá place? Which it turns out is an ex-place, really: big old Indian temples out in the bullrushes, near Tulum, which Aphra happened to recall is like another ruin that spawned a strip development along a wretched stretch of highway.

But snap… on her way up to Tulum in a shuttle van she’d just bought all the seats in, guess who rings her up? The Senator’s jewboy logistics wonk, that’s who. Telling her that lil MeiMei called home from a public long distance booth. Nobody home, left no message. But bottom line: from another local tourist ghetto called Isla Mujeres. Aphra gave a wolfish laugh that caught the driver’s eye and said, “Island of Women? I can so do that.”

Then she clapped her phone shut before Whosistein could ask what she’d turned up at her end. I’m a fourth quarter player, she thought. Best not be boring me with progress reports.

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