Her travails had shrunk her bladder. She had to pee. Ridiculously she looked around to make sure no one was watching. Of course not! She had never peed outside before -- and naked! She squatted and gratefully let go, the stream hitting the dirt, echoing loudly around her in the dark silence. In the dimness she watched the stream run down the little hill. The warm smell of urine wafted up to her face. She felt like an animal, peeing like this. And right after praying! When she shook the last few drops loose she wondered if she should cover it up. She decided to leave it like it was.
Her mind was clearer now. She stood bolt upright, all four feet eleven of her, breasts thrust out over her concave tummy, and decided she would make her way toward that highway on the other side of the basin. The lights of another truck, barely visible, reminded her where it was. Until now she didn’t know what direction to get home, or at least back to her barrio. She hadn’t paid much attention to the way to La Chiquita Peligrosa when one of the girls drove her there. But suddenly she had a definite feeling that the highway was Calhoun Boulevard, which led into town. And what would she do when she got there? She had hitchhiked before -- most kids around town did. She could not do that naked. But where there was a highway, there were stores and houses. Anything was better than rattlesnakes, poison ivy, foul water and rats. This time pacing herself, the naked girl began her long trot in that direction, watching her bare feet so that she stepped on only soft sand and not rocks or trash.
Now, louder thunder. And a cloudy flash of lightning only ten seconds later. She ran faster, arms pumping, feet thudding harder into the gritty sand. Now a few raindrops.
She would welcome a downpour, to clean off the dirt, and the slime from that horrible algae-filled pool. As she started sweating with her exertions the foul whiff returned. She radiated filth. Please God, wash me clean!
Alas, the rain was only a few drops. Then a loud crack to her right. In the corner of her eye she saw a jagged bolt hitting the ground!
She could not outrun an electrical storm. She had to find a low spot. She remembered hearing about a baseball game, at a high school not far away, where the pitcher got struck and killed because being on the mound he was the highest one up. To her left she saw a hollow and dove into it, a belly flop, all at once, sliding as if into home plate, her breasts tugged downward painfully as they got snagged under her.
Her hair prickled against her scalp with the sudden gathering of static electricity. The air around her crackled. Oh God, I’m about to get struck. So many thoughts ran through her head in that half-second. The prayer for last rites. She would thumb through the back of the Missal during Mass when she was bored. How did it start again? Auxilios espirituales --
She would be found dead the next morning. Unless the vultures got to her first. Her family grieved and also puzzled -- naked, in the middle of a vast pit?
She shrieked as lightning hit a hundred feet in front of her. Then she cried and cried, like she hadn’t in a long time, not even when she was six years old playing with her father’s hammer and accidentally hit her finger.
She cried and cried, not hearing the storm pass. Finally she had to catch her breath. There was no thunder or lightning now, just rain, drenching her from top to bottom, her hair, her shoulders, her arms, her butt, the backs of her thighs, her heels. Her legs were a little separated and she felt it running past her butthole and into her womanly cave. “Oh . . . Dios mío . . . “ No, she hadn’t been killed. She was alive. Maybe she died and came back? She was grateful for the rain on her bare backside, breathing air, the sensations of sand under her. She’d been given a second chance.
She said a prayer. “God, I will live a new life. I will stop lying and doing ‘puta’ things like dancing.” Rosa was nice, and like the big sister she never had, but she never should have let her talk her into the life of a dancer.
Somehow Rodrigo came into her thoughts. Being so degraded and traumatized, and shamed, she had something in common with him. She will make him her friend. He smiled at her once in the cafeteria and he must think I’m pretty.
As she came back to earth and her senses fully returned she noticed other things. Her mouth was filled with sand from when she flopped down. She tried to spit it out. And that nice smell of the ground when it starts to rain? Here the moisture only brought out the pit’s foulness. For the first time she noticed a pile of dog poop (or was it coyote poop?) a few feet in front of her and turned her head away.
Her breasts were uncomfortably crushed underneath her. She did not like having big boobs, or having to hunt around at the store for another 36DD bra. Rosa said it wasn’t the right size; she should be a 32G, and she offered to drive her to a bra store in Lordsburg where she could get properly fitted. “G”? The girl didn’t know they made letters that high. Ever since she started “developing”, in sixth grade, she’d had to cover up with layers so that the boys didn’t make fun of her. It was uncomfortable, especially on hot days.
Now the rain stopped. As is typical in these parts, wind started up and in a couple of minutes the clouds were blown away. There was no moon, and stars were starting to fade now that dawn was approaching. She felt the wind across her butt. She felt so exhausted, both in mind and body, by what she had been through, that she felt she could sleep here, naked under the stars, no blankets or pillows, face down on dirty sand. But she couldn’t do that of course. She was about to get up, laboriously, when a whiptail lizard ran in front of her. Before she could react it had scurried onto her butt and stayed there, its little claws digging into her skin.
Guadalupe was afraid to move. She had seen lizards before but was always a little scared of them. Did they bite? The little creature, perched on top of its newfound girl-mountain, seemed content to stay where it was. Minutes went by. Then it stepped a little forward. She prayed it didn’t jab one of its claws into her butthole, it was so close to it. Then it scampered down to her heel. She longed to kick it off but dared not. Her toes squirmed uneasily in the wet sand. Finally it hopped off.
Aiee!! A scorpion!