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07 January 2012

A Mythology for Southern New Mexico

Rudolfo Carrillo
by Rudolfo Carrillo

Oye, compañeros, it's like the new year and stuff, but la neta is that I was just as unprepared for this unique ubicación on the space/time continuum as were you. Although los preparados amongst you might be making un gran chiste out of this clumsy attempt at post-event accountability, it does go without saying that the passage of years loses its gradual quality as the sun continuously swallows up whole days while la tierra is alternately consumed by darkness and engulfed in starshine; a sliver of a celestial sphere reborn brightly and eternally every dawn.

Given that sort of cosmology as a guiding force, and whilst referencing the centennial year of this here state, (cien años, que chingon!) I reckon I could use this textual timeframe to traverse the chasm of years that have passed since I first appeared, unannounced and similarly perplexed, in a raggedly settled portion of the Chihuahuan desert which perpetually looked covetously south towards home.

That was, more or less, quarenta-ocho years ago. Though I've only been around for roughly un medio of the time este lugar has been part of the EEUU, I've tried to pack in as much acción as possible, and let me tell you, just getting here was a trip, carnales.

Mi jefita, Virginia, had to travel from Las Cruces down to the rocky and forlorn colonial outpost known to some as El Paso del Norte, in my grandpa Albino's Bel Air because she was pregnant and the hospital in the Mesilla valley did not quite have the facilities or faculties to deal with a case like hers.

Que bárbaro!

Listen, it went something like this: Virginia was an educated young Nueva Mexicana, an identity she worked hard to attain, but which was still rare, fifty years después de statehood.

Anwho, ella worked for a fellow named Clyde Tombaugh, down at New Mexico State University. In case you are interested, he was the hombre que descubrió la planeta se llama Pluto. He did this in 1930 while working in Arizona, but by the mid-sixties he was dividing his tiempo between Aggieland and White Sands Missile Range, where he consulted on various military projects.

My mom was one of his assistants. Mostly she took dictation from him on his various proyectos. Besides going on and on about this planet and that natural or artificial satellite, Tombaugh had an overwhelming interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials, which he passed on to Virginia via scribbled notes and field recordings.

Anyway, debido a la tensión y la intensidad del trabajo de Virginia, her doctors decided not to tell her that there were really two babies on the way. What with all the talk about flying saucers, atomic weapons, and newly discovered astronomical bodies, she had enough to worry about, pobrecita!

But when she inadvertently got la neta from her nosy hermana Joann in the early summer of the year mil novecientos sesenta quatro, she threw her precious copy of A Hard Day's Night against the wall in frustration, shattering it into a million shiny shards and causing the framed photograph of John F. Kennedy hanging on the wall to tilt out of balance, to the right.

Virginia borrowed the car from her suegro, Albino, who happened to be nearby. He was busy turning a small plot of desert land into a tropical paradise, complete with peacocks, and so handed her the keys, absentmindedly. So she drove herself to a place called Hôtel-Dieu and went into labor.

Hôtel-Dieu: that's what they called the main hospital there in Borderville. I'm serio güey, look it up.

Well, my old man found out about all of this about una media hora más tarde and went after her in a state police car (just like the kind they had in la pelicula se llama Them!) driven by a jura buddy of his. Serio. On the way there, el amigo crashed the car and aced himself. My old man punctured his right lung and ended up in the same Frenchily named hospital as my mom.

Luckily, we weren't born until the next morning, when things had mellowed out un pocito. It was July and el sol was already brightly burning up the sky and surrounding desert, pero todos estaban sonriendo and the light was welcome. Some of la familia sat quietly reflecting, while others leaned out of windows in the hallway, smoking. Men and women in labcoats and in uniform and also in black bowties briefed Virginia on my father's prognosis, los gemelos, y le susurró a ella sobre los lights in the sky that Tombaugh had reportedly seen from his observatory en la noche pasada.

Pos, eso es lo que he oído. Most the people that lived in the text strings that I generated here and above have returned to the earth, so you can't really ask them, unless your centennially enhanced brujería is really happening. The ones that remain will probably be taciturn, I gotta tell you. It's in their nature.

Rudolfo Carrillo / a fifth-wave feminist from the fourth estate | a burqueña | a ladyboss | a writer + editor

I am a fifth-wave feminist and a reluctant member⸺hey, Groucho knew whereof he quipped⸺of both the fourth estate and the gig economy. I am an Albuquerque-based freelance writer, editor and social media marketing and branding+PR consultant. I remain an observant ’90s riot grrrl and a devout practitioner of halfhearted yoga posturing and zen and the art of the sentence diagram.


  1. This was an engaging tale nicely done! Google Translate started charging me by the word, but that's my fault (I still have the book in a file cabinet drawer, where it does me no good at all). Feliz Año Nuevo y Feliz cumpleaños de Nuevo México!


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