Read an Excerpt
from Tangle in Tijuana
Anytime is party time in Mexico, right? You have decided to strap one on early and get this fiesta rolling!
"I know this killer place where the margaritas are as perfect as they come," Lani raves as you walk through the dusty downtown streets. "I have done extensive field research, and these are going to be the best damn fruity drinks you've ever had." She turns to you and whispers, "They import American tap water to make their own ice." You try to act impressed.
Around a corner you are suddenly mobbed on the street by dozens of young men shoving flyers in your face. You feel like you are in a swarm of bees.
"Two for one Coronas!"
"Buy one Corona, get two margaritas free!"
"Free tequila for pretty ladies!"
"Buy one margarita, get a free taco!"
You think about that really depressing movie where the guy goes to Vegas to drink himself to death and wonder if Tijuana would have been a more appropriate choice. Lani grabs your hand and shuffles you out of the fray.
"Aahh -- here we are," she announces.
You glance up at a two-level bar that seems to be decorated exclusively with piñatas and beer signage. "Mamacita's" is painted over the door, directly under a balcony that looks like it could crumble at any moment, crushing the dozens of drunken teens below.
The second you walk through the door, an air-raid-like siren sounds, scaring the living shit out of you. Lights flash wildly. Two large men approach you, and swing you over their shoulders. Suddenly you are upside down, spinning around and then finally deposited at a large booth. Before you can blink, two frozen margaritas are in front of your face.
"I didn't order this," you manage to say, your shock only now subsiding.
"It's like one of those fancy restaurants where they decide what you should have for you," Lani answers, between healthy chugs of marg.
You begin to down your margarita -- you have to admit, it's damn good. You both light up, and before you exhale, four Coronas are on the table.
"Free with the drink," Lani explains.
About four margaritas and countless freebies later, you're really beginning to dig the whole country of Mexico. You don't even mind "Who Let the Dogs Out," which has been played about a dozen times. Just as Lani is teaching you to say "suck my cock" in Spanish, your waiter approaches.
"Compliments of Mamacita's," he says, laying down two shot glasses in front of you. "House specialty."
He pours Lani a tequila shot and she downs it like a pro. It's your turn. He pours your shot and -- plunk! -- something falls into the glass! "Ahhhhhh!!!" shrieks Lani, "The Worm!" The air-raid siren goes off again, lights blare, the music screeches to a halt, and all eyes are on you.
"What on god's green earth is that?" you ask, as you stare into the shot glass. Floating in your glass is a small, white, emaciated little clump of flesh that had been sitting at the bottom of that bottle for who knows how long.
"The worm," your waiter explains, "is very good luck -- an aphrodisiac -- you must drink it down all at once and you are guaranteed good fortune!"
"You're shitting me," you say. "It's a goddamn earthworm and I wouldn't eat it if I were on an island competing for a million dollars."
"Dude!" exclaims Lani, "You have to do it -- it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing! You might disgrace the bartender if you don't. And you will have the best story and bragging rights for years."
The bar has exploded in chants and cheers. You get a huge adrenaline rush from the chanting crowd and know it's now or never. You are pretty loaded -- you could drink petrol and it wouldn't faze you. You pick up the glass, your slimy little friend floating inside...
"Eat the worm!"
"Eat the worm!"
If you decide to throw all sense and reason out the door (and isn't that why you are in Mexico?), throw that little sucker down the gullet and turn to page 185.
You cannot muster the strength or will to actually eat the worm. Who cares if you disgrace the bar? It is disgraceful to serve you, a paying customer, a worm. Put down the glass and turn to page 93.
Copyright © 2003 by Lilla and Nora Zuckerman