Title: "Border Crossings"
Author: monimala
Fandom: "Once Upon a Time in Mexico"
Rating/Classification: AC for language, ficlet.
Disclaimer: All characters and concepts belong to Robert Rodriguez.
Summary: He has no eyes. So, he can't see what's right in front of him.
Notes: For Circe, my first attempt at a OUaTiM fic. The characterization might be off since I just saw it yesterday and then consumed quite a bit of whiskey afterwards.

"I have no EYES, Motherfucker," is his standard refrain. He's learned to say it in several different Mexican dialects. Pretty much as far as he usually gets is the "chinga" and the "madre" and there's a fist in his face, knocking off his sunglasses, and occasionally a dirty thumb in his sockets. Presumably to make sure he's not lying. Or just as a pre-cursor to the skull-fuckings he used to threaten pissants with when he could actually see.

A doctor in a clinic in Mexico City said that the nerve endings are dead, but that doesn't stop it from hurting like a sonofabitch. The lack of eyes. Not the skull-fucking. Thankfully, there's been none of that. Just moving from place to place with his hands in front of him, listening for bicycle bells.

The stupid kid with the Chiclets...whose name he still doesn't know, but he figures "Juan" works as well as "Fucking Brat" and trades off depending on his mood, still insists on being his own personal seeing eye dog and one night, when he's licking the lime and feeling the tequila burn on his lower lip, he says, "Take me to him."

"A quien?" To who?

"*Him*."

Him. Like Jesus. Or Mickey Mouse. An attraction for blind, ex-Agency *turistas* with nowhere to go but down.

"You have no eyes." It is a statement, not a question, when they reach the tiny village after a three day journey on a donkey cart that leaves splinters in his ass...and maybe in *the* ass, too.

"Would look like it, wouldn't it? Not that I can see, but I'm assuming you still can." He leaves off the 'motherfucker' chaser as the kid props him up against the wall.

A soft laugh. He's more aware of sounds now. Octaves. Inflections. And the haphazard strumming coming from the guitar. "We're all different kinds of blind, my friend."

He doesn't know why El calls him 'friend.' If he were the Mariachi, 'friend' would most definitely not be a word to be applied to the likes of world class fuck-up Agent Sands. His real name is Sheldon, but he'd really rather not share that with the other man. Of course, for all he knows, El's own real name is something far worse. Maybe he's named after two maiden aunts and six saints because his mamacita was hoping for a bouncing baby girl. Maybe he shot and killed his brother because hermano was in on the joke.

Maybe Sands is just slowly crossing the border to insanity and the Mariachi is border patrol. He pokes Juan with the toe of his boot, which the kid knows is a basic universal sign for 'find me some goddamned tequila'. He doesn't know what's going to happen when he runs out of cash...if Juan's just going to leave him propped up somewhere with his dick hanging out of his pants and disappear.

"So, why are you here?" Strumming. Still strumming. Notes that don't belong in a peppy Tex-Mex restaurant with a six piece hat-wearing band but do seem to fit these charming little pueblos where legends can hide out...and die. "Have you brought order to my country yet?" The question is mocking... and he's almost...*wounded*. Oh, he thought the big boy didn't *have* a sense of humor.

"I can't even piss a straight line anymore, El. Bring order to your country on your own time," he snaps, irritably, wondering how big this damn village is and how long it'll take to get a decent bottle of tequila.

"I did." Another laugh. Too quiet. Off to his left. He feels the whisper of cloth against his elbow.

"Right. Right, " he waves his hand dismissively, hits a broad shoulder. "Of course you did. That's what you larger-than-life legends do. Swoop out of the storybooks and clean up the riffraff and walk off into the sunset, leaving a thousand more stories in your wake."

"Did you really shoot the cook?"

"I did." He laughs. Too quiet.

They sit for a long time in silence.

The fucking brat doesn't come back. Not in twenty minutes. Not in an hour. Not in two.

"I have no EYES, Motherfucker," he growls, feeling his empty sockets throb.

The Mariachi slings an arm around him, ruffling his hair with his fingertips. "I have no heart," he confides. Strumming. Strumming.

Much later, when he tastes the locket hanging at the other man's throat, learns its shape with his tongue, he knows El is lying.

But he no longer craves tequila with lime.

He just craves balance.

And he thinks he's found it.

--end--

September 15, 2003.



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