And you kill them
their necks. There's an art to it."
pilots the rented Suburban, fellow traveler Dan Strimple, a Dallas-based
driving range owner and teaching pro, tries out his first Spanish phrases.
Strimple tends to wing it when he's out of his element, so he's thrilled to
learn that a number of Spanish words can be formed by simply adding an o or an
a to the English word: cr�dito, cemento, sexo.
"How do you
say I want," Strimple asks. "How do you say with you?"
He digests for a
moment, then declares, "Yo quiero sexo con usted."
Freeman turns south on Ruta 85, dodging speeding trucks overloaded with sugar
cane. He drives unerringly to this place he used to know but doesn't anymore.
Covadonga's face has changed beyond imagining, like a long-lost friend who has
let himself go. propiedad federal, a sign says. What the hell does that mean?
As the Suburban creeps along a dark, primeval path, Freeman mutters
"Jeez," then "Wow." Tree branches with white flowers scratch
the sides of the car. Saplings tickle it underneath. The hotel is a phantom
amid the aggressive jungle. At the end of the path is Andr�s Morales, the
caddie who never left. Now he's the pro.
"Heel-bare?" he addresses Freeman. "I can't believe you're
They hug. �Benito
est� aqu�? Freeman asks. No. Gilbert's caddie, a rough man who was never
without his white straw cowboy hat and a burning cigarette, is dead. Too much
cerveza, too much fumar, Andr�s explains. And Mundo? Avery's caddie also is
muerto. But Raymundo, Gilbert's mother's caddie, is the credit manager at the
Ford dealership in Valles, and in a moment he pulls up on his motorcycle to
exchange hugs and laughter. Back in the day, Raymundo would find tees to match
the color of Louise's outfits and hand her a color-coordinated peg with her
driver. His English was excellent; he wrote the Freemans a letter every
screech in the giant India laurel above our heads, and the conversation stops.
Andr�s observes the sadness in Gilbert's eyes. Is it the death of the caddies
or the fingers of rust and rot grasping the once white clubhouse and the hotel?
"Covadonga," Andr�s says softly, "almost gone."
life consists of four stages. The last stage, the flying part, usually lasts
only a week or two. A generation of butterflies is called a flight. In the
tropics, in the summer, there is flight after flight, and death and life mingle