For all practical purposes, it was just the two of us in the little bar in Las Tres Mujeres, New Mexico. There were five other guys in the place, but two of them had passed out, two were more legitimately asleep, and the fifth was an intensely quiet drunk off in his own little world. That left me and the Mexican-American bar owner named Germán.

The bar, El Cantinero Solo, boasted few modern amenities save the cooler for the cerveza and the satellite TV. The drunks didn’t seem to mind so I overlooked it too.

The TV was showing an American newscast; a superannuated U.S. senator was halfway through a sound bite. I’d been mildly captivated by the fifth drunk and caught only the last part of it.

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