From The Journals of Dr. Ibo Bronski

(July 24, 1956)

 

At dawn we broke camp and made our way toward the area indicated by the small, Mexican peasant boy. Rueland and I have been in Mexico now for well over a month tracking down ... well ...  that’s just it...

 

We haven’t been able to breathe a word of our expedition to anyone. Poachers, photographers, the Pentagon – any of them would kill, maim and blackmail  to find out where we are heading. (Which is why Rueland had to kill that small, Mexican peasant boy.) Rueland is all too willing to kill for our cause, giddy almost. He’s always saying “He knows too much, we have to kill him!” To which I usually have to reply “Who? The guy across the street?” He frightens me. Not just because he seems to be the blood-thirstiest of all the anthropologist/archeologists I’ve know – but his ability to cook the most delicious paella out of almost no ingredients is, frankly, creepy.

 

By noon we reached the foot of our prize – a giant mesa deep in the Mexican outback. Ancient Aztecs named this place “Muy Grande”, which in the ancient Aztec tongue meant “place high above the heads of the Gods”. For untold centuries it has been revered as a holy place, a place that should only be stepped on by the feet of holiest of men. It is a sacred place in the ancient culture of this land and it should be preserved. Rueland finished eating his Baby Ruth and dropped the wrapper. He always calls it a “marker” but I think he might just be lazy.  When Rueland’s snack was finished we proudly, boldly began to climb the rock face that our hands weren’t worthy to touch.

 

Climbing took the rest of the afternoon. Sweat stung my eyes and my hands and arms were numb from pulling myself bodily up the side of Muy Grande. But our final destination was so close. I thought of all the people I’d left behind; Cynthia, Lady Wolmsfort, Chelsea, The Mottogrott Twins, Jonesy, Atticus, Florence, Mr. Cuddlebumps, the Great Britain Club for Mexican Adventurers Club, Claus Von Shnaussaubergenflauss, Judith and the Coughing Twelve, Mama Pollenta, Kip, Chip, Father Lipps and, of course, my cat, Scratchy Mcscratchumlotsaclaws. When the climb got to be too much, I remembered why I was doing it for them. I was doing it to make them proud. Except for Florence – I never really cared about her or what she thought of me. I just could never seem to take her out of that string of images that would flash through my mind when I would climb rock faces. Florence and her piercing, mismatched eyes and double jointed jaw. How she haunts me. One day I would return to the old Tibetan man in Tibet and he would teach me to strike her from my mind. Yes, one day.

 

By five o’clock, our European skins red with the kisses of the seductive Mexican sun, we reached the top of the Mesa and made our way to the interior. We chopped our way through a few hundred yards of dense jungle and eventually stepped into the setting sunlight that revealed the hilly grasslands of Muy Grande’s interior. We continued forward, as directed by the late, small Mexican peasant boy – just before Rueland... I must stop thinking of it... and Florence... Oh Tibet, free me.

 

 

As we moved forward over the warm, breeze-swept grasslands – we became aware of a sound. Dull at first, but growing. It was a sound like thousands of pebbles falling hard into mud. Then we saw the dust cloud rising just over the crest of the next hill. I broke into a run, my heart banging to get out of my chest, tears welling in my eyes. I could hear Rueland running behind me. So close to the dream. So near the end of our journey.

 

As I reached the top of the final hill, the full expanse of the Mesa opened up before me. In the dying rays of the Mexican sun I could see it. The sight I had waited all my professional life to see.  My breath caught in my throat. I could feel the sting of saltwater in the corner of my eyes. I could feel Rueland at my side and I heard him sniffle. The majesty of the sight was unshakeable. The power of the moment. The moment of discovery.

 

There, sweeping across the virgin grasslands of Muy Grande like a beige river was the last herd of wild Chihuahuas on Earth.

 

Our quest was at an end.