EL CHUCO Y QUE I was in El Paso, Texas, a small town only a few thousand miles north of Mexico City, and a few million from New York, when things got a little out of hand. James Apollo and the Sweet Unknown were playing a joint called the Wherehouse (which was an apt description) in what looked like the outskirts of El Paso, but really, all of El Paso looks like the outskirts of El Paso. The sidewalks are made of old sheet metal and the populace is mostly tumbleweeds. But not entirely tumbleweeds. The band and I rolled into town around 3pm and went to grab a quick bite before soundcheck. I approached the counter of a little deli, behind a large man, two cannons for arms, tiny head on a huge neck and two tiny black bullets for eyes, screaming at the you mexican kid behind the counter, DON'T GET NO AIDS ON MY SANDWICH, FAGGOT! Then he turned around to look at me and gave me the laugh and i'll strangle you stare so I saved my snickering for later. Now to be fair, I had just walked in, and perhaps the sandwich maker had just spilled a large cannister of AIDS, but in any case the large man got his point across and stalked out. The band and I found a quiet table and consumed our sandwiches without further incident. At the show that night there was one doe-eyed mexican princess who demanded, upon learning of our consistent homelessness, that we all stay at her place that evening. A fate which sounded infinitely better than the truckstop parking lot I was banking on. I accepted. She had a large apartment and proceeded to play songs, pass around instruments, show me pictures of her family, etc. The band all spread out on bedrolls and plush carpeting. I passed one picture in a frame and stopped cold. Her and a man. She looked happy. The man looked stern. Two tiny black bullets stared up at me. And who is this? I enquired. oh, mi esposo Damn. He seemed like the kind of guy who might get the wrong idea about hospitality. And, well, everything. She said he worked nights and wouldn’t be back til 6am. I set my alarm for 5 and had everyone else in the band do the same. At 5:50AM I woke in a panic and screamed at everyone else to get a move on. They knew the score. We got out in a hurry. The five of us were at the bottom of the apartment stairs when the door opened and two tired looking bullets passed right through me and on up the stairs to their happy home. And the five of us were in the van when those two bullets closed contentedly upon the break of another day. And the five of us went and had breakfast at a Dennys a hundred miles away where they don't serve sandwiches in the morning and they don’t serve AIDS ever. And none of the five of us have been back to El Paso since.