With tears in his eyes and his hand covering his mouth Sal turned around to see what the commotion was about. He noticed two long haired obviously Native American men standing at the entrance of the cantina. Then he heard Mona yell;
“Well I’ll be go to hell, it’s Greneudo Productions! What are you subversives doing out of custody? I though the fed’s locked you boys up and threw away the key”
Still smiling Antonia retorted;
“Yeah, when they discovered we liked the free food and no rent they threw us out. Miguel found a love interest and almost stayed”
At that moment Miguel punched Antonio in the side and vehemently said;
“No way, that was your romance Antonio. I saw how you was blowing kisses to that trustee. Gawd, you was the one singing for them”
For a moment they both stared at each other in silence then the duo broke out in hysterical laughter then Antonio continued with their story.
“I think we blew the cops minds since they tried to intimidate us by tossing us in the holding cell with all those killers and street people. Holay, they were more real then the people on the outside. That really freaked out the guards when they found us making prayers for the prisoners in the cell. It was cool since all the inmates thanked us for offering our prayers to them.
LOL, Even the jailhouse snitch thanked us for the prayer”
Mona walked up to Antonia and Miguel and gave them each a hug and a kiss. It was obvious the pair were her very close friends as well as popular in this group of people. The crowd resumed in the festivities as Mona and her friends caught up on old gossip.
“So really, what finally happened to you guys after the bust?” said Mona.
“They dropped the charges after the ACLU stepped in with a copy of the Constitution in their hands. We had a right to assembly and we did have a permit. But I think it was the army of news reporters that really cinched it for us or Antonio would be carving hearts out of soap right now”
Then Antonio whispered to Mona;
“Who is that guy covering his mouth and staring at you? He does not look to happy”
Immediately Mona motioned for Sal to come and join the group then she said;
“Antonio, Miguel I’d like you to meet my friend Fran, I mean Sal. Sal, I’d like you to meet my brothers Antonio and Miguel, they are totally insane”
Sal walked up to them and said;
“They can’t be any more insane than you Mona. Hi I’m Sal, it’s nice to meet the both of you”
“Are you guys heading up to El Rito for the gathering this week?” Antonio queried.
With an astonished look on her face Mona said;
“El Rito? We just blew into town today after fighting a snow storm. This is the first time I’ve been in Trinidad. I’m still amazed I ran into you guys”
“Mona, you and Sal are invited to our gathering at El Rito this weekend. You have to come, it’s been a long time and I think you’d really like it there.
Miguel, I think we just found our fry-bread queen. Mona can make fry-bread to die for eh.
Oh, by the way, you’ve just been drafted so you have to come now” quipped Antonio.
Curiously Sal asked;
“I’m a bit confused, what is El Rito, a bar or something?”
In a more serious tone Antonio explained;
“Oh no, El Rito is not a bar. Fact is it’s far from that my friend. El Rito is the home of my ancestors. It’s the place my people settled after the riots in the Pueblos in Taos New Mexico back in the 1800’s. It’s a very sacred place for us”
“Mona, what brings you to this neck of the woods? This is a long way from Oklahoma for you isn’t it?”
“We are looking for a place called Cibola and its up in the mountains somewhere around here. Check this map out”
Antonio grabbed the map and studied it intently. He showed it to Miguel then said;
“Look right here Miguel, it shows El Rito. Wow, this is wild, where did you find this eh?”
Somewhat embarrassed she said;
“Oh it’s a long story but here we are and maybe you can help us find this place since you live here”
“Well if I knew where Cibola was I would not be driving my rez truck. You’re looking for the Seven Cities of Gold. But first things first, where are you guys staying?” Antonio said.
Sal chimed in;
“We just got here and this is our first stop. Where is a good motel for us to stay at?”
With a look of surprise Antonio said;
“You guys are with us now so you don’t have to worry about any motel. We are headed to Indian Betty and Phil’s house then we will head to the casa”
Mona’s eyes got big as she responded to Antonio’s answer;
“Indian Betty and Phil Talking Bear, you mean they live here too? Gawd, I have not seen them in ages. This is unbelievable”
“Mona, you need to get out more. They lived here forever and there are other people you know who live up the river you might want to see as well. They will be at El Rito.
You guys follow us to Betty and Phil’s. What are you driving?” said Antonio.
With pride Sal said;
“That’s my Harley outside”
Almost on queue Antonio and Miguel started laughing and Antonio said;
“We were wondering who was crazy enough to ride a motorcycle in a spring snow storm. And to think you thought Mona was crazy”
After a short drive across the Victorian town they all arrived at Phil’s shop. Mavericks rig was parked outside along with the normal assortment of vehicles.
Betty and Rivkah along with the other guests in the house heard the noise of the vehicles as they approached. Phil and Maverick came out of the shop when they heard the commotion as well.
Antonio and Miguel lead the procession as everyone came together. Wiping her hands on her apron Betty walked up to Antonio and Miguel and gave them a warm hug. Then Betty spotted Mona and said;
“Oh my goodness, look Phil its Mona. Get over here girl, I want to take a look at you”
Phil was elated to see Mona and he came to Betty’s side and joined in a family hug. Mona was moved fore she had tears flowing from her eyes as she came to Betty. It was a very warm and loving reunion for the three of them.
Then Maverick stepped out of the Shadows looking directly at Mona. Then Mona saw Maverick and returned the stare. There was no words for a moment that seemed to last a lifetime. Then in unison Mona and Maverick said each others names;
Everyone including the dogs fell silent as Mona and Maverick gazed at each other. Rivkah and Sal felt very awkward and the silence was deafening.
Catching the moment Betty rallied everyone except Mona and Maverick into the house for coffee and small talk. It was obvious Mona and Maverick knew each other. It was also obvious they were both surprised to see each other.
Once in the house Betty recruited Rivkah to help her make coffee and break out some cake. As Rivkah was getting the coffee cups from the cabinet she quietly asked who Mona was.
In a very hushed tone Betty said;
“Mona is the sister of Maverick’s wife”
Creativity is the byproduct of a fertile mind