The woman reentered the house, dragging the dog be-hind her, very white and fat, with lifeless eyes and flabby body.
“Look at those cheeks, Sergeant! Don’t get riled, light of my life: I swear I’ll turn your home into a dovecot, see?” “By God!” he said, breaking off into song:
“Don’t look so haughty, dear,
Banish all fears,
Kiss me and melt to me,
I’ll drink up your tears!”
His alcoholic tenor trailed off into the night.
“Tell me what they call this ranch, woman?” the ser-geant asked.
“Limon,” the woman replied curtly, carrying wood to the fire and fanning the coals.
“So we’re in Limon, eh, the famous Demetrio Macias’ country, eh? Do you hear that, Lieutenant? We’re in Limon.”
“Limon? What the hell do I care? If I’m bound for hell, Sergeant, I might as well go there now. I don’t mind, now that I’ve found as good a remount as this! Look at the cheeks on the darling, look at them! There’s a pair of ripe red apples for a fellow to bite into!”
“I’ll wager you know Macias the bandit, lady? I was in the pen with him at Escobedo, once.”
“Bring me a bottle of tequila, Sergeant: I’ve decided to spend the night with this charming lady. . . . What’s that? The colonel? . . . Why in God’s name talk about the colonel now? He can go straight to hell, for all I care. And if he doesn’t like it, it’s all right with me. Come on, Sergeant, tell the corporal outside to unsaddle the horses and feed them. I’ll stay here all night. Here, my girl, you let the sergeant fry the eggs and warm up the tortillas; you come here to me. See this wallet full of nice new bills? They’re all for you, darling. Sure, I want you to have them. Figure it out for yourself. I’m drunk, see: I’ve a bit of a load on and that’s why I’m kind of hoarse, you might call it. I left half my gullet down Guadalajara way, and I’ve been spitting the other half out all the way up here. Oh well, who cares? But I want you to have that money, see, dearie? Hey, Sergeant, where’s my bottle? Now, little girl, come here and pour yourself a drink. You won’t, eh? Aw, come on! Afraid of your—er—hus-band . . . or whatever he is, huh? Well, if he’s skulking in some hole, you tell him to come out. What the hell do I care? I’m not scared of rats, see!” Suddenly a white shadow loomed on the threshold.
“Demetrio Macias!” the sergeant cried as he stepped back in terror.
The lieutenant stood up, silent, cold and motionless as a statue.
“Shoot them!” the woman croaked.
“Oh, come, you’ll surely spare us! I didn’t know you were there. I’ll always stand up for a brave man.”
Demetrio stood his ground, looking them up and down, an insolent and disdainful smile wrinkling his face.