Old Road Trips
Cerrillos Journey With Jerry

El Caracol

Chapter Next in a fictional account of a fictional place.

El Caracol Bar and Grill was built after Alva burned Perea's down. Some architect from Chicago - well that’s what gave them the idea. It was supposed to look modern and sleek and like a seashell. But Alva's partners did it on the cheap and it mostly just looked like a big arch over a little building. It was dim and disappointing. There were no windows and it smelled like rancid grease, beer, and cigarettes. Sometimes worse.

It was popular for a couple years when Connie was running the grill. Then Johnny took over and the place got shabby fast.  He was too cheap to pay anyone to clean. Cleaning is important. Damned if it isn’t more important than the food. You can serve bad food but if you serve bad food that makes people sick, well that’s different.

When it was at its worst, a couple of letters had fallen off the sign so instead of El Caracol it was "El Ca co " which means thief. Then some genius made the ‘o’ into an ‘a’ with spray paint, which means shit. Perfect, both.

By then Johnny was storing marine equipment there. Middle of the desert and he had a thing about boats. I guess you'd call him a boat hoarder. Maybe it reminded him of his childhood in wherever back east. He'd let anyone leave boats there and pretty soon they left anything. The parking lot filled with junk. That got him in trouble with the County before the bad food did.

So there was a salvage boat yard at one end of the village and an auto salvage yard at the other end. In between was the vacant gas station with the leaking storage tank and the "motor court" cabins and garages that were in serious decay.  Transporation trash.

Uncle Johnny died there, at his bar. His bodyguards and women and everyone else quit him when he went broke. He was sitting on his favorite stool and didn’t even fall off. The bartender found him the next morning, one hand around a glass of scotch and the other around a bottle. In front of him was a foreclosure notice for his bar. He ran out of money and ran out of life at the same time. 

 

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