Monday, May 28, 2007

ON THE BORDER

By Duncan Hindleman


It was no ordinary cake that sat in the back of the battered old delivery van. It was a triple-tiered buttercream cake, covered in a latticework of white icing and brightly colored confectionery flowers. It was, by any reasonable standards, a very large and magnificent cake.

"That's a big cake," the border guard informed the driver of the van. "A real big cake. Big enough to hide an exotic dancer, I'd say."

"That's ridiculous," Jesus Gutierrez replied, casually lighting a cigarette. "Don't you know anything? This is a wedding cake, not a stripper cake."

"Are you sure?" the guard asked him. "We've been seeing a lot of unlicensed adult entertainers in these parts. With frosting in their hair."

"Well, I wouldn't know anything about that," Gutierrez said.

The guard leaned in through the driver's side window until the two men were practically nose-to-nose. "Look," he growled, "do you really expect me to believe that a lady in a thong bikini won't be leaping out of that cake tonight?"

Gutierrez politely turned his head away and exhaled two thin tendrils of smoke. "Go ahead, see for yourself," he said, waving his hand languidly in the direction of the cake. "Tear it to pieces. You'll find a chocolate mousse filling, and nothing more. Then you can call the Polancos in Tucson and explain why there's no cake for their daughter's wedding.

"Perhaps," he continued, shaking his head sadly, "perhaps they can offer their guests an assortment of doughnuts instead."

The guard clenched his jaw in disgust. Every last one of his law-enforcement instincts told him this smooth-talking panadero was lying. But if he destroyed yet another cake without finding a scantily clad woman inside, his career was as good as over. And he couldn't take that chance, not with a wife and three young children and a paraplegic llama to support.

And so, with great reluctance, the guard motioned Gutierrez through the border crossing. The two men stared knowingly at each other as the van's engine sputtered to life. There was a belch of black exhaust, and then the scofflaw and his cargo began rumbling north.

Inside the cake, the famous stripping dwarf triplets of Hermosillo quickly resumed their light-hearted game of Pinochle. Things were not so pleasant, however, for Juanita ― leggy, huge-breasted Juanita, curled up in a tight ball of flesh and sequins, waiting anxiously for that moment when she could finally burst forth from the nearby empanada.

(Author Duncan Hindleman describes himself only as a "chalupa-crazy Scorpio.")

6 comments:

Hugh Jorgan said...

I dunno, chalupa-crazy Duncan. My instincts told me that your use of the word "empanada" was incorrect in this context. I checked it out and submit the following proof:

~a turnover or mold of pastry filled with chopped or ground meat, vegetables, fruit, etc., and usually baked or fried.

~a Spanish or Latin-American turnover with a flaky crust and a spicy or sweet filling.

"empanada." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 29 May. 2007. Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/empanada.

Maybe you could say "she could finally burst forth from the giant loaf."

Duncan Hindleman (author) said...

In this case, the filling was both spicy and sweet.

wilson said...

my wedding is going to feature a vast array of avant-garde doughnuts and with any luck a woman.

sasefina said...

Give us more stories about pastry. And mexicans.

Duncan Hindleman (author) said...

Perhaps you will enjoy my forthcoming "Tender is the Marranito."

wilson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.