ing tomorrow. Hah! It's my first season, the motel's jammin', they just finished that new airport nearby, and the beach rocks! There's a storm to sea, the swell's bad. I fixed up speakers on the terrace. I got a rad cook with his grandson to help out. I'm seeing a cute little Mexican surfer-girl and she doesn't want to have discussions about our relationship all the time. So what's up, cuz?"

Built in the late 1940s, the motel at the end of the road was outside a dusty fishing village ringed by cactus and wrecked cars. The once-handsome collection of sixteen bungalows sprawled down the seacoast hillside surrounded by hard desert. Each hacienda-style unit accommodated four people and had a tiny walled patio. Several had their own private driveway.
The plumbing was out of order, but no one cared. An old outhouse was in the bushes by a pump, and buckets were in each room for showering.

"I saved this bungalow just for you," Shawn said. Filled with dead bugs, old paperbacks, swimming trunks, and martini glasses, the room was coated with salt-dust so thick I could pick it up in my hand. But it was in the back of the garden, very private, and looked out to sea over the motel below. I cleaned the room and drank to the sounds of partying, salsa, and beer bottles alternately making me forget my heartbreak and then making it worse. Shawn and Tonia, her hair streaked like a tiger to her thighs, showed me around the motel. They had taken out the walls of two bungalows off the terrace, enlarging




it. There they hung a dozen hammocks, placed tables, and served food.

Early in the morning I floated in the sea, letting the soft waves massage me. Suddenly a head poked up out of the water. A sea turtle. He looked at me, tilting his armored head, intelligence in his eyes. I raced to shore then watched the creature duck-dive a wave and disappear. The stray dogs led by Jack, Shawn's dog, watched me as if they were my guardians, but they were really following me every- where because I had given them food from my plate.

Later that night Shawn, Tonia, and I drove down the coast to a noisy bar. When I saw the Russians I was so drunk I waved. They ambled over, very friendly, and more drunk than I.

"Halo, what you doing here?" Yusof greet- ed me and dropped into an empty chair.

"I took three weeks off from Henry's. My cousin owns a motel up the coast."

"Ah, we going home next day. We come here for private antique sales show. We buy fine arts, old Mission and Colonial pieces. Now we going to drive home in the morning," Viktor added.

"Drop by," I said reluctantly when Shawn handed them his card.
Noon the next day the entire motel was dead silent as most surfers were out at the contest. Anyone left was as hung-over as I. Chuy, the cook's grandson, woke me up. The Russians had arrived, and were asking for me, trailing a huge moving van I could see from my room.

The Russians wanted to rent a bungalow for the night. They got a late start, wanted to rest, and were going to have to stop in a few hours anyway at a motel up the coast. I told them Shawn was at the contest and he'd be back later. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I took the Russians on the terrace, got some tortillas, eggs, and tea from the kitchen, and we sat down. The dogs lay on top of my feet.

"Yah, we buy big old wood pieces, mission benches, tables, chests, bed-frames, some nice painted frames, and wood carvings. Like statues, saints from churches. Very private sale. Carlos running sale, maybe two other people buy, like auction," Yusof said.

"We meet lawyer, Carlos, at Henry's. He been telling us about the sale. One time only, from very old rancheros. He telling us how to get furniture home and making us papers at the border, costing a lot, but we selling for more. We have lots clients want Latins antiques. We can park in front of the room and watch van for night. Carlos been telling us bandits here," Viktor
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