The Tortilla Hike

Take me to your heathen
and should I take their wine
I shall lend me yours
and take them thine


One of the funniest things I have seen Ned do is stuff his comb between his lips and teeth while we crossed on the wrong light of a heavily crowded San Francisco intersection, and as the policeman directing the crowd from that side of the street we left blew his whistle, Ned whipped his rubber-lipped out-of-this-world grin at him just long enough for him to plainly see it before we escaped into the crowd on the other side of the street. He did this the day we were getting my Mexican visa.

Except for the peyote, my Mexican trip was no lark. If I grow younger I know I am not the charming youth of my earlier Mexico days, but even so, there was tension in Mexico which was not there a few years before. But ah, the peyote. I wish I had known the beauty of peyote years before. Tropical Mexico was my plan, but Louie Virgo had recently managed a poor man's trip through Mexico and he told me about the town which had the peyote available, and I flew from San Francisco to San Diego, rode the terribly long bus ride from Tijuana to Guadalajara and got out there for rest and peyote. Louie had also told me about the Indian town near Mexico city for the mushrooms but I had little money and was nervously spending what I had and I never made it there. I have heard the mushrooms are closer to LSD than is peyote so perhaps it is just as well because my trip is peyote. Anything one might say about LSD one may also say about peyote, but while I have yet to have access to a large quantity of peyote (or mescaline) I will say peyote has more rhythm than acid. Acid is quick hammering and peyote long plunging deep rhythm. Acid has more violence or immediate drama and peyote more premeditation or wisdom. Rhythm is wisdom. Rhythm is your response to that which is important to you. Life is cycle, vibration, the patterns of the peacock feather, or zebra or giraffe or any animal or your skin or the tree or the beach or the rock, waves, rhythms, and you are rhythm drawn and repulsed by everything there is and the more something will favor your environment the more it will draw you. While a psychedelic drug encourages your senses it should be true to your basic rhythm. Alcohol or heroin or tranquilizers are expected to repress your rhythm, allowing you less distinction between this, or that, compressing your responses onto more an equal plain, thus releasing inhibition, giving you a sort of blind adventure. The stimulants, by shooting all your responses to a more equalized plain, can give you the same sort of carefree adventure. LSD encourages your responses in their rhythm, while exciting them into a higher drama, and the danger is while you begin by seeing what you want in correct proportions you may carry a mood to an extreme, through over zealousness (or other shaky state) reach out and forsake wisdom or a trueness of rhythm. I have said acid is violent because it is a wild sensitivity a primitive man may not quite have until the moment of sensitivity when he breaks a dangerous enemy's skull. As nothing in existence is separated and nothing in existence ceases to move, for every stroke there is counter stroke, acid is a long right hand in some danger of being countered by a left hand. You feel loose as a cat but you are sometimes encouraged to jump to conclusions. Acid has a drama such as has the hero in For Whom the Bells Toll making love to his woman under the shadow of death and the earth shakes. Any of this you may say about peyote but the danger is a little less of the thrust carrying its longer stroke with such an abandon that you miss that long one. If peyote is slower it is more graceful and inclined to be subtle. Peyote colors, patterns and lines of other patterns are smoother, softer, shimmering but not glittering, and on my first experience with it in my hotel by the bus stop I saw the above comparison with old friend LSD and that peyote was my favorite.

I found it quite easy to read and write under and by the same clarity the imagination could walk higher and if I were to have what is thought of as a bad trip my imagination would be more likely so stimulated under peyote than acid. Bad trips are rather late for me and I found I could get further out, but yet still conduct smaller matters, on peyote. I spent about three days in Guadalajara, bought all the peyote the herb dealer in the big market place had, took a train to Mexico City munching peyote as I watched the countryside go by, filled with virility and thought. So pleasant women dug me on sight. If they didn't they did if I looked at them for a while. Played this sport with large disdainful woman in restaurant before catching my train but maybe I was thinking maybe come back to her sometime. Without coming down enough I would get get patches of sleep and in Mexico City between stones got hung up with some Indians drinking pulque and missed my train south, so stayed up that night eating peyote when I felt like it, became very stoned hanging around the train station, seeing closer up my blood lusts and violence stored from the Bay Area, most people in Mexico now had been rather fearful of me and looking in the restroom mirrors at my calmly predatory face I realized no wonder I am scaring so many people, and how bare and intelligent was this human's lust to spill man's blood. Later a flash I allowed pass, not caring to get into the possibility, was that Frankie was in love with me. Toward dawn I was believing the jail break scene I had written that while back on acid, "Way It Was," is a true story, happening with friends and me in our last reincarnation. Fancying I had been through Mexico that previous cycle with the Texas Gang, there being only spiraling movement in the cosmos. I was the gun slinger again, remembered the comforting feel of my fingertips brushing the handles balanced heavy on my hips as I walked. Everybody knows when I get to feeling that good I get real good. From the high windows of the Mexico City train station I dug the dawn bursting and then walking to visit the University of Mexico I was not more stoned than I had ever been but I was higher than I had ever been. And I was untouchable, a rude bus driver a joke. I could see Time move in a circle, only way for it to move, like everything else, just the measurement between the motion, thought I. Take away the motion, or length, width, height. say, and you have no Time. I tended to be telepathic, but more interesting at the moment was sensing, by the rhythm of people, how someone walking ahead would turn, what they would do next. But these were mere thresholds. Having trouble finding the right bus I walked a time getting more and more of that incredible Mexico City smog and then took a bus, some of that stuff so solid it can blow through the bus window and blind you and no wonder those people are getting uptight. On the University campus I wandered about, thinking the way some of these people were looking at me they were unconsciously remembering me from the last life, and I dug the great murals, a couple of them especially as they expressed plenty rhythm and drama. thinking that on peyote I could learn to paint or anything I really wanted to do. I walked extremely relaxed, not the same as the cat like relaxation of acid, knowing it would be that should I run or do something strenuous physically, but my body was practically asleep, parts of my mind would seem to sleep and carry small dreams while necessary brain functioning went on. I paced the wide athletic area and reaching to a tree limb came very close regardless the little sleep I had been on to completing a one armed chin. I could feel the separation of my muscles, flex them individually for the good feeling, was thinking I could stay in shape on peyote and learn to live without sleep. The Yaqui Indians who could run for a couple of days and tire out deer ate peyote and whether they ate peyote on the run or whatever I felt so relaxed with it I felt I was good for a run of several miles at that moment. In the cafeteria had a cup of coffee, noticed though how pleasant it was it did tend to throw off my thought rhythm. I lazed about in such manner and by the early evening getting back to the train station had mainly come down, pleasantly weary and in love with peyote. Unlike all the acid I had been on, all of which would create hunger for more acid, peyote satisfies. With my late train ticket I bad some trouble with the train conductor, some sonofabitch who didn't like my sort of gringo or maybe any gringo, and I had to buy a new ticket but after sitting angrily a while thinking how it should be that the gang and I simply rob the train I got civilized enough to go over his head and complain and insist that he sign my old ticket, not planning to go back through Mexico City but just putting him to that trouble anyway, and lucky for that because I did go back through and take my signed ticket and get a refund. Meanwhile, headed for Plenque, Chiapas, I slept a good bit, sure I did, but also, passed a couple of nights, finished off my little store of peyote. Munching it slowly, only way to fly, finding it less and less nauseous, goes well in the body, has some nutritive value, can't eat it quickly but sitting chewing small pieces and letting them go down easy frightening a few people around me who see me eat that Indian stuff, one young frightened cat has sent his family and whoever down to another car and from a seat behind me is leaning eyes wild with fright over my shoulder and I turn to him chewing eyes wild with happiness. He went on his way. Conductors tried to get tough around me, pissed me off, me hating to mess with them. By the time I'd finished my meager store a group of laborers off some job had sat around me, not knowing I was stoned but one fat old cat who sat across the aisle from me was quite taken by me, frightened anyway, as night fell began to chant ranchero songs and howl. For some reason the lights in our car went out, leaving us in darkness, and I don't remember how it happened but these couple of pineapples on a string I had purchased from a vendor at one of the stops and stored in the compartment above me fell on the old guy in the temporary darkness, startled him for twenty or thirty years. I truly apologized and patted his shoulder but he was a little gone from his mind after that one. I was stoned when I got to Palenque, Chiapas.

Way it was, now, in Chiapas. Quite a few years ago, and 1 can't remember when, I read in a National Geographic about a new Indian tribe having been discovered in tropical Mexico. In Palenque, finding from Pancho Amesquel they found the last tribe ("lost tribe") in nineteen fifty think it was, maybe it was a nineteen fifty issue I read, maybe I even read it around nineteen fifty. Packy Gunter recently asked me if this was another piece of my blown up legend, and I enjoyed telling him no. Packy, the boys got that one straight, I did go hunting up a bunch of Indians alter reading about them in an old National Geographic magazine years ago, whenever I read about them, and by the time I got down there they had already been Christianized. Yes, that one is straight.

Stan, remember him, lot of people like him and Baymer I just haven't been able to work in too much this book. Was telling Stan how I was going down to the Mexican jungle to find some pure souls. I figured there were probably still tribes they hadn't found yet. I wanted to find some people like in "At Play in the Fields of The Lord," some warrior sorts, turned on people, would have gone to Brazil but did have the money, but thought there should be some people down in the Mexican thicket who would like me, put up with me, let me plant some big grass crops, had the idea of building a haven for friends but meantime maybe get a few hauls of grass in shrimp boats across the Gulf of Mexico, sell it to one person or company, that sort of thing. Stan took me to this cat he knew who was drinking in one of the bohemian bars on San Pablo and University, guy who had been down there doing something. When I was introduced and talked to the guy I was very wiped out on some good grass but he gave me the name of Pancho Amesquel for a guide and told me to go to Palenque. He told me a few other things about Pancho, the Lacandoni Indians, the rough ways down there, he just wore a sheath knife himself, et cetera, but I was pretty stoned.

Palenque is this town outside a Mayan ruin site and it is only a couple or so years the highway to it has been completed, before that scientists and people had to fly in, now it is becoming popular with the tourists. Should you go there and want to look at the Mayan ruins or Mayan descendants the Lacandonies I recommend to you hip Pancho Amesquel. Pancho has been around and had an interesting life, worked long shoring and gambled in Seattle, Washington. But I will leave other pieces of his history between you and him. Anybody in town, particularly the cab drivers, may direct you to him, but he spends a lot of time in El Hotel Palenque, if that is not the big one. He has also married a widow who has a small ranch and he spends some time on his ranch, any cab driver can take you out there, a few miles out of town. Pancho is a shrewd, large set fellow getting along carefully into his years a burly Mexican handsomeness and he enjoys a good conversation.

People in El Hotel Palenque, if that's the one I was staying in, kept telling me he would be in tomorrow and that went on a few days until I understood a cab driver could take me to his ranch. I left the cab on the road and walked out to his little ranch and he was taking it easy in a hammock. I think he was pleased to have someone break the monotony. Sit down, sit down, he said. He didn't seem ruffled on my having so little money while wanting to make the Lacandoni trip. I explained how I wanted to live with them and must have talked about my reasons and Pancho was cool. He was taken by my eagerness or thought I should afford the experience. With the little monies I had left there wasn't much in it for him but he said, well, I don't see why we can't do it. I also had dysentery at the time and when he understood I was eating the brown pills like candy as I had long before learned to do when first settling to a period in Mexico he showed me the best remedy I have seen, lime juice, corn starch and water. It is mainly the corn starch and water of course, and you feel sluggish with it but it slows to a stop that immediate dissipation of getting settled in Mexico. As it took five hundred pesos to pay a pilot to fly you into the Lacandoni area Pancho wanted us to hang around the Mayan ruins outside town, which I had already visited trying to find him, in quest of other tourists willing to put in for the plane ride and see further ruins or even the Mayan descendants. It took a few days and I was a little tired of the ruins but we finally had a French girl and her boyfriend willing to make the trip to see more ruins and Pancho made certain I didn't mention the smaller share I was paying. He did have me pay about ten dollars American for a litter of about eight puppies bought from this woman whose husband worked around the ruins. I don't know exactly what he got out of it but he told me puppies would be a good gift for the Lacandonies who loved dogs. The puppies were very young, had not long had their eyes open. We carried them in a paste board box on the piper cub which took off from a rugged field near an Indian family and their home. They had a bunch of puppies too and had let us have some milk for mine. As the parrot flies perhaps it was only about a hundred miles across the jungle to visit the Lacandonies but because of dark clouds before us the pilot wanted to put down into another grassy field by this little ranchero he knew. The pilot was a light complected and fat Mexican pilot who took kind of a cultural pride in referring to himself as mucho gordo. He was familiar with the people of the poor ranchero and he liked to play the lovable slob among them. He flopped into one of their hammocks and accepted their sweet corn drink with slob gusto, a big fat baby, but he could not really have been one of them because he made much more money than they did and was not a man to lend his money. The weather cleared enough and we took off again and the next close stop was the ruin site. Pancho did a lot or oratory for his tourists, both who had an interest in the ancient Mayans and their ruins, and the Indian caretaker had heard it before and had little interest but pretended he did and the fat pilot had no interest and made no pretense about it. The young French couple spoke good English, had lived in the United States, and Pancho does not have complete command of the English language but he had fair ability to fake it and toss phrases and little bits of bull shit about, sometimes after these demonstrations at the ruins of Palenque he would ask me, how am I doing, Bill, showing some concern about how he was doing and I would tell him it looked alright.

Because of the rain clouds over the Lacandoni area the caretaker of this landing strip and ruin site would take me to the Lacandonies rather than the pilot's flying me the last step. Pancho said he would see me there in a few days. There were several other guys around, a couple of them sons of the caretaker, one I remember best was around eighteen years, and after Pancho and the plane left I could see they were mainly a petty bunch of fellows, snickering at the puppies the first thing. One son would meet me person to person, the rest were blustering riff raff. I hiked with them to their humble ranchero not far away, one carrying my suitcase, me carrying the puppies, and there I had an humble meal and spent the night and the puppies were given a dish of bean soup with an egg mixed in. Seems these people usually feed their dogs beans. Most people cannot have honor and be poor at the same time. Food and shelter should be the least of these people's worries in the jungle but they would have difficulty acquiring more. So many humans are of the "If I can't fuck it piss on it" philosophy, are anal in the sense they have not left an impulse to put their crap back into them. and I believe the bisexual human being wants things and crap around him before he is able to have any real dignity and care for his fellow, poor men like this are dull and will often drink before they will eat. Of course there are bisexual hippies who grew up with things and crap around them and now search for identity and religion and I don't know much about them either. The older daughter of this household was possibly alright, and the one son whom I least remember, a quiet and reserved young man, was a good man, helped me set up my hammock, but though I wanted to get along and have some communication I sensed from the others a fearful snickering undercurrent, and then I had to sit up with the family that evening hearing out the youngish father's bull shit, talk about things he had done or whatever it was he talked about, and this eighteenish swaggering son of his would sit there rapping on my sleepy head about how physically powerful was this father going about doing whatever it was the father was talking about, the idea being, here, that I flatter people and pretend I wasn't two or three times as strong in my larger body as any of them, can't remember how many there were at the time. I tried hard to be friendly in honest way and they ran down the Lacandonies for being a bunch of dirty beggars and jeered at my gift of the puppies to them, telling me the Lacandonies would eat the puppies. The next morning we mounted mules, I, the father and loud mouthed young son, my suitcase tied on one side of my mule and the puppies after some dillydallying were put into a food sack and tied to the other side of the mule. They had argued that I leave the puppies there, then that I at least give them one as a gift, the woman of household getting into it with them trying to throw my calmness, like grabbing the food sack of pups and with a mock agitation not really tying it, and at the last moment one of these busy people sloppily strapped the howling puppies to my saddle. Then the woman of household wanted twenty pesos for two scanty meals and letting me sleep under their roof in my hammock. Forget what I was paying my yelling guides, seems it was thirty. I was in a bad mood by the time we set off and had constant trouble with my bag hanging on one side and the sack of unhappy puppies on the other, the mule was off balance and the puppies began to worm out of the food sack and my suitcase came loose and I held it on the saddle in front of me. The father and in particular his loud mouthed son were yelling at me to keep up with them. Pancho had advised me on what gear to bring, hammock and mosquito net and a machete mainly. Had bought a good poncho for a blanket. The machete was a broken but resharpened one I had agreed to buy off one of the guys who work around the Palenque ruins and I had tied it in my belt and lost it as the mule sloshed through the jungle. It was probably amusing to these jungle folk that I carry a resharpened machete in my belt. This was the rainy season and much of the jungle floor was swamped with water. I had been very polite with the jungle folk, needing all their help I could get, but I lost my politeness with them. In a few hours we encountered a Lacandoni Indian, a stocky fellow dressed in khakies out hunting with a twenty-two rifle. He was young and larger than most and had his hair short. I was to find many do have long hair and wear Indian garb but it is usually the older generation who leave their hair long. I had been told they hunt with twenty-twos and a few shotguns and sell their bows and arrows to the tourists and are the most primitive people remaining in Mexico. Whatever was in store I was eager to meet them and be rid of such fools as these damned jungled folk who had been yelling at me. The tension in Mexico had been a surprise to me, even as I had been forewarned by hippies and people who had gone to Mexico, I had felt I would get along with Mexicans about as well as I always had but most of the people I had met had been unfriendly. The father was not as afraid of me and shook my hand but the loud mouthed son would barely glance at me on our parting. The young Lacandoni spoke Spanish. He efficiently hacked thin strips of bark off a tree and used the strips to bind my suitcase to his forehead and I followed him through the jungle to a river with a canoe. I boarded the canoe with him, he paddled across and we went on our way. We hiked through more marsh and jungle and on the edge of a clearing stopped and he called out. There was answering call and we entered a path and children greeted us and hugged the puppies. This was Chief Obregon's thatch roof house. Chief Obregon was chief of the last tribe to be found by civilized man. He is the kind of Indian I had wanted the Indians to be, spontaneous, lively, full of heart, and husky, the strongest built of any of the Lacandonies, there were taller Indians but none with his robustness, I don't know how old he was but the old guy was black haired and in great health. He has refused to accept Christianity. The wife with him looked young and was slender and pretty and lighter skinned than I am. They liked the puppies. Obregon jumped merrily about and made little noises. He wanted a puppy and I let him have it. He was a free spirit, my kind of Indian.

I was taken further down the trail to the main camp. Thatch roof buildings spread freely from one another, possibly a dozen or so, paths and chickens and the like, to a driven Virgo an Indian village. One thatch roof had a hammock or two strung but no walls, a type of communal gathering place, though Pepe Chambor and family who lived next door cooked their meals and spent much of their time here. When directly taken to this thatch shelter I gave a bit of a speech in Spanish, about my civilization falling, as many years ago theirs also had, and I was wanting to stay with them for this reason. There were several women squatting doing things and a couple of men hanging by, besides the children, and they are reasonable people but whether they got the gist this first day of what I had to say or not I don't know and have trouble remembering it myself. In a short while I put it to rest and settled down among them, someone helped me string up my hammock. I was not in the best of bodily health and sprawled in my hammock and that is where I spent the major part of the following week. Pepe Chambor and other men came in that evening from hunting and I treated a small group to instant coffee I had carried and they all became very conversational on the coffee though talking mostly among themselves, having a couple cups apiece with white sugar, they had sugar, and I was there and that was that. There were some little girls, one of note who had a Spanish name, Teresa. around ten years old, I had been communicating with more closely, had given them some pictures from my wallet and the puppies of course, and I saw immediately that Teresa had it, a strong life force such as Obregon, and unlike the other children--mainly girls, the tribe had a female majority--who were just a little fearful of me Teresa had to see everything I had brought in my suitcase. For some reason I happened to have with me a necklace Frankie had forgotten and this first day Teresa said with the familiarity of a woman used to her way with me to give these beads to her so I did. Every now and then in the following days she would want to go through my suitcase again and I would let her. For about a year I had not been wearing my beaten glasses, one ear piece having dropped off, but I had to show her what I looked like with them on. But with them off the wolf will show and the Lacandonies overall did not like having me there. Pancho had somewhat led me off, told me for a certain few pesos the Lacandonies would build me a house, maybe give me a woman. The men were averagely around five feet two, should that be a part of it, and Christianized and bigoted in the Christianity and I would answer them that I was not a Christian, interested but disappointed to see them already caught in the world I wanted to be free of, and they wanted money, more money than I could pay to build me a house. El Presidente of the village, an intelligent long haired young fellow, would only say he didn't know to my requests of living there and raising my own chickens, but he was conscientious and after some consultation with the others he led me to a thatch roof frame out from the other houses on edge of a corn field clearing and told me I could have it. I would go there to scribble on a tablet, in the early day tell Pepe I was going to go do a little work on my book - and he easily understood though was not yet literate himself - and would walk through the small village, trying not to come close to a woman here or there because they were apt to shriek and run like children, and alone under the roof I would scribble or play with some piles of termites, watch them quickly rebuild a shelter after I pissed and tore through it, and I would listen to the jungle world of insects or go down to a branch from the larger river and bathe. The animals were nearly all killed out in the Mexican jungle, Pepe said it was because of foreigners hunting, whatever I never saw monkeys or animals and apparently there are too many people about, Pepe and company would take off in the day with their twenty-twos and Pepe might bring an animal back, an armadillo or some small beast slain by his evening return, and it would go into the pot for a soup. Tortillas and their meat soups were, besides a few bananas, all that I ate there. I ate dog soup one evening, chicken about twice, and always with plenty of tortillas, and one night all we ate were tortillas. I grew very tired of that much corn in my body. I was thinking I should never like tortillas again. I don't know why they wouldn't eat more of their chickens, their chickens ran all over, scratching and reproducing and laying eggs no telling where, and they had the worst looking dogs I have seen. The puppies I had brung were a tragedy, in two days suffering from blankets of fleas, wailing, wretched. The camp dogs lay about, gobbling whatever bones and tortillas thrown to them, mangy, thin, too weak and nervous to do more than lie in the dust all day and bark hysterically at any noise in the night, such as me every time I got up in the night and stepped over the corn fed dogs I had all ten of them in a fit when I came back. A couple of these misled beasts might play a little in the coolness of dusk and they were all happy to see the evening return of Pepe. The dog we had was not bad at all. The night after we had eaten only tortillas, eating the meat giving me some camaraderie feeling for Pepe and family, this matter about meat, and guess it was surprisingly so tender because such thin dogs just ate their tortillas and lay in the dust, and the surviving dogs were just as eager for the bones and any scraps of their relatives as they were for chicken or armadillo. I recognized one of the bodies of the puppies thrown into the pot. So there was hardly opportunity for me to learn to hunt in the jungle as I had planned and when in a couple of days I had Pepe take me fishing that did not turn out either. I found, after having told the loudmouthed son and family back there I would fish with the Lacandonies, my fishing tackle, kept in a pocket of my California knapsack which I had taken with me, was stolen by the loudmouthed son, had to be him, a spool of nylon line and some fish hooks Pancho had me to buy. Pancho had given me an optimistic view of the fishing. Pepe lent me extra nylon line and hook he had and we went off quickly through the thicket down to the river where he had a canoe and we fished up and down in places and I could catch absolutely nothing while somehow Pepe was able in two or three hours to pick up three smallish fish, then he said, through the deadness of an old man's eyes masking his awareness of my frustration and heavy disappointment at finding I was still no use in any way, why don't we go back. We had fish soup that night and from that day my hopes were low and my sadness and boredom increasing. The only way I could help was using my arms to the iron maize grinder for Teresa or Obregon's sister who lived with Pepe's family.

Pepe had about two young wives plus possibly Obregon's older sister. He was a middle age and had wit and was very professed in his Christianity. Next to the thatch shelter he and family ate under and I continued to sleep under was a comfortable appearing modern sort of house with a tin roof and a fence around it which the missionary lived in when he came by. The Lacandonies are not Catholics but are some form of Protestant. Pepe was more tolerant of my freer beliefs than were the others but we did not communicate too well - it was like so many other situations I have sponged, glad to have the day with only the women around - until out of boredom I talked with a young Lacandoni about my smoking marijuana and desiring to grow marijuana in the jungle, and the young fellow saw fit to let Pepe in on it and Pepe went for it but only that we keep it secret. Other than Obregon, whom I only had one or two more good talks with, enough to see that Obregon was a sharp old fellow, this young guy was the only other Lacandoni telling me he was proud to repudiate Christianity, told me one evening that he dranked, he smoked. I asked if he had smoked marijuana, he informed me had had with some gringo tourists. He seemed a bright personality and liked my idea of growing a big crop, taking it by plane or mule to the coast, and by boat to Texas. So we let Pepe in on it. From then Pepe and I had a little more in common, he was more adventurous than I had known, just doing best things for his family, Christianity made some sense for his family and brought them some clothing. Pepe said should I mail him the seeds he would secretly plant them. The amount of money I modestly suggested was in it was hard for him to believe. Now I could feel some accomplishment by my mad trip into the Mexican jungle. Wild Bill turns on the Lacandoni nation (in time). The Mayans rise again. Nothing of the romantic had turned out, I was ill fed and weak from insect bites. After four years without mosquitoes I seem very susceptible to their poison and the mosquitoes in the jungle were fierce, and as I slept in the mosquito net they bit my back through the underside of my hammock. There was a breed of gnat came in swarms in the day, which bit and was bad as the mosquitoes. Worse than any of it was my boredom. There was nothing there for me to do, had not even the animals I had looked forward to seeing in the jungle. Pepe had a couple of saucy pet parrots. Pepe was somewhat a leader and sometimes in the evening a small group would gather to get a little high on my coffee and chat. Pepe and his little girls were learning to read with text books, pencil and tablet. There was one young Lacandoni who smoked cigarettes habitually and was so seriously teaching himself to read he had lost his wit. The Lacandonies had some guttural expressions but they were becoming less psychedelic due the structured civilization in the name of Christianity which had taken the rest of their surrounding world.

I was going to wait for a pilot, with maybe Pancho along, to land in the strip next to the village, and as I did not have remaining money amounting to plane fare but had written my father and requested he send me an order for fifty I would talk the pilot into taking me out of there on credit. This was Pepe's idea. Planes frequently landed but in the few days after I had made the decision to leave only one landed and it was full up with Mexican tourists. Next the young Lacandoni pagan wanted to guide me out. He was so interested in making a little money guiding me out, into talking me into getting out that way, telling me I would have no chance at all of making it without a guide, we talked into the night and by the time he talked me into it he was willing to accept the small amount I was able to pay him. Later he shied out of it, didn't see me more. Next thing this other young fellow, one I should have known better than to trust, would take me out, discuss the price with me after we got to my hotel where my money waited. From that hotel I had written numerous old friends asking for bits of money - an old Mexico habit of mine which is never to avail - as stock that I secure a haven for all the clan and now thought I might have money orders in the hotel but I wasn't sure, but now my mind had taken it I was going to hike out guide or no guide or no money, I had been bored most of my life and too long. I would just keep a machete handy for possible jaguars. Shades of Danny MeConchie, the Lacandonies left machetes rusting in the dust. Nobody was after the Lacandonies nowadays of course. I should have known better than trusting this other young fellow by his manner he took around me but I had not paid him mind because I had little interest in one more young Christian type Indian who demonstrated nothing out of ordinary. He was a common friendly bigot. He was a man of industry and would study me for weaknesses, asked me why did I lie in the hammock all day, so I was tired why was I always tired, he was just another lost bastard. Surprisingly, the Lacandonies were aware of the racial situation and various troubles in the United States, and Olive the great talker had told them his love for the black woman Sophia. The evil young man snickered to me, is she very black? Very black and very beautiful I informed his worth. Now like I say, I was not pissed off at him at the time. I had concluded, leaving Berkeley, that people were people and mainly stupid, even Negroes. In the jungle it was more the same. People are people and mainly stupid. even Lacandoni Indians. Now maybe someday I will be my wondrous merciful nineteen year old poet of my first novel again and love people for their sake. On the other finger, maybe never, releases of sex and love may not do it. I am like they tell you a Mexican is, a man does me an ill turn and I take a lot of trouble putting it away, even if it is a woman instead of a man. Should I see this Lacandoni again I will be at no disadvantages and I will not touch him and will speak to him or not speak to him and though his fiber might be stronger than many his toes are going to shake. I'll just have a quiet look at him to see what is in him and his toes will shake some more. Actually, I rather bettered him, he had thought a gringo who spent his day in the hammock ought to break in the jungle if you ran him hard - everybody knows gringoes can't walk far. I did see the morning we started out, we with another old Lacandoni who had been friendly to me and a tall for the country and slender Mexican I had not seen before, by his yelling and sudden lack of friendliness, he had a small man's need to bring down a bigger man. For a Lacandoni he was averaged height but was deep chested and better built than most men and he could move like hell in the jungle. I had the heaviest and most awkward load, my suitcase, jamming it alter them, trying to carry the thing on my head, bending and weaving on the trail made by little people, over stumps, under logs, down and up and along and through, very much water and places only five feet high in the foliage. A few times I thought perhaps I had lost them and just as well and would try to pick the right path and if soon enough there he was not up trail yelling with a grudge all three of them would start yelling in order for me to get on the right one. Mid day we all took a rest and he asked me how much I would be willing to pay him by the time we got to my hotel days away in Palenque. Though we had agreed to discuss it in Palenque now he wanted me to tell him I would give him five hundred pesos. He was angry when I told him I would not have five hundred pesos to give him and he threatened to leave me in the jungle. I told him to go on and the Mexican said they were all good people and wouldn't leave me there. I had been a good sport and often keeping up even with my suitcase and the other two of trio were also getting tired and I guess the Mexican liked me at this point, thought I was in shape for fifteen rounds and no sense in everybody busting their ass. The suitcase had been too difficult and I took the pack from it and put my few clothes I had with me in the back pack - the Lacandoni women had washed my dirty clothes for me and as payment stolen a few - and my papers plus a large sack of tortillas Obregon's sister had made for me went into a straw shoulder bag I carried. The young evil one carried the empty suitcase for a period plus his shoulder sack and a twenty-two rifle he planned to sell in one of the towns, but the suitcase was too much for him and he gave it up whereupon the Mexican took it, tied it across his forehead, a bad piece to carry but though it was falling apart under the dripping jungle he foolishly hoped to sell it. The pace had slowed and I had an easier time but wearing only a type of loafer moccasins my Berkeley type wear (had found these hard souled moccasins easier to climb California hills with than Penny's sneakers, bought a new pair before going into Mexico), I was taking these things on and off depending whether we were in water and slush or banging my white man's bare feet over roots, and my big size, nearly ten inches higher than five feet, was a hindrance dipping and dodging on the jungle paths, and I did not know how to walk in the sucking mud as they did, I noticed. It sprains your ankle to pull it out of the sucking mud. It must be hell fighting those little Viet Cong over there, I thought, for the first time feeling a true sympathy for my poor countrymen, we big clumsy gringoes. Even in the northern mountains size matters, there are cracks and corners and I felt I had a pretty good size for that environment, that a hundred forty to two hundred pounds is a decent sized man in non tropical mountains and a bigger man better stay more on the plains. The jungle stuff, was hard on Bill Olive. I can get better at it but if I ever have to go after a little jungle bastard like this one, especially with guns, it will be hard. We made the next Lacandoni village early that evening, the old Lacandoni was very tired and the Mexican was pretty tired but the one I choose as enemy was showing no fatigue by his double time. I was quite tired but the main problem was aching ankles from the sucking mud, and next to that was my undernourished white man's body. Those people can travel on corn much better than I can. I better get my high protein. Soy flour or peanuts will do it but I better get it. Still intending to break me - at some point the Mexican too turned hoping to see me show weakness and I saw the old Lacandoni was vicious and had been afraid of me from the first - they let me sleep through the supper they had in the meeting house of this village - the agreement had been to share food with me and I would pay back for it and I remember something about eggs as I dozed on the planks I had taken in the place lent us for the night. Early that morning we moved out, my ankles were swollen and the young Lacandoni, who had perhaps started to like me, was worked up and yelling anew seeing me limp. Now this shit went on into the middle of that day and we had stopped to rest at a fair sized ranchero, smiling Bill Olive coming an hour or more behind them after a river drink and shit. I was consuming much water, once rather than beat my way down to the river had drank muddy water out of a horse hoof print, too there was mud to bog down a white man, some of it would reach to your knees. The evil one had been screaming more and more. Fuck you I had yelled retying the broken cheap United States thongs on my moccasins, and other times I would have to bend painfully to reach and retrieve my foot wear from the suck of the mud, and he was very upset as I lagged more and more, telling me, as I complained of being hungry, and thirsty, and of sprained ankles, that it would get much worse up ahead, that this was nothing compared to how bad it was going to get with more mountains and less water, days without all that water, and he carried on about the money I was owing him. I told him he was no Christian, he was just like the gringo Christians. That seemed a little deep for him. Except it wasn't. What is your problem with me, I asked. Oh, nothing, he said, and he was fast of face. Worried, tired, I said to him, I have been in much worse situations than this, this is nothing, go on without me. He talked about the many confusing trails, I would be very skinny in four days. So interesting to see he was such a racist. Even that racism is as old as two men having a fight. It is as old as the first grim foot race and the first fight over a woman. The only reason the Huns could have fought and then freely intermingled with the white Germanic tribes is they felt the Germanic people worthy of Hun blood.

These whites who have raped and yet fret race have been so brought down by the civilization they claimed and reconstructed that they are no longer sure of their blood. There is no sadder music than white hillbilly because this is the tone of white people who have been poor from Europe on and know it is too late for them to reap the material benefits gained by their race. But who is going to do better? Next thing happens, who puts Christ in an automobile? Man is man and mainly scared. I am a little scared but never try to get me to say I have no vision.

I chose to go alone from the ranchero. Hungry I have been but perhaps not so hungry as limping five days on a sack of tortillas. There are very many people in the area who have killed out the animals, only non flying animal I saw was a harmless class of snake with his head lopped off, and the people were all but the rare good looking individual afraid of me and when I met the men in bunches they cheered my plight soon as I walked away, at one village I sold some shirts for a meal that was supposed to be as much as I could eat and the man was frightened and angry to see me wolf down six eggs and those eggs made a hell of a difference in my body. In the villages I slept with my poncho in school houses or like communal centers if there were no school houses and just before getting to the town which had enough road for a pickup service to take me to the next town which had a train I sold my new poncho to some kind of very hungry man of God very cheaply who told me I could get the truck from his town. The main trouble with the tortilla hike was the boredom, stumbling along so slowly on bad knees and ankles, my left ankle very bad, have this habit I discovered, leading with my left foot, tried to quit stepping over things with my left foot, which also spraining my right knee, once sink to my bad knee in the mud and in sudden pain and fury slug the mud, know I cannot be wasting energy like that, and try, again but slowly, to get free of the mud with no more pain, and go on, step with care, so bored, thinking about food until I am so hungry I try not to. At least there is water, thought I, understanding plainly I am willing to fight nobody's revolution, there was plenty of streams in the rainy season. I would sit down for a drink and tortilla and get up with more strength, and it rained. When I get lean enough and can move right along on a horse trail picking up into a dirt road with strips in it dry of mud, lean and have enough shot to override the pain in my legs, this delicate ego refuels. But it is a terrible thing to be hungry. All of it dims the mind, you don't grow spiritually.

I can give you more book because it always goes on. I could write about peyote with Tommy Ray from Virginia who had spent eight months with the Marine Corps in Viet Nam and one year in the hospital, knew blood and could not raise his left arm higher than his shoulder, was hot in Vera Cruz where we met and in Mexico City where we took peyote feared me for an agent and thought to kill me if I were. He had been very close to dying and had his friends killed and was only twenty one and a little funny in his head at times. He wants to live and has the humor.

But I limped out of a jungle and don't like to write long books.

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