(click Laguna Potosi below to return to Home)
"Laguna Potosi" (Kathe Kokolias)
I hope that you will enjoy reading an excerpt from
What Time do the Crocodiles Come Out?
Laguna Potosi Kokolias 2003
Chapter One: Guns, Drugs and Explosives
A few miles south of the border, an Army roadblock forces us to pull over onto the dusty shoulder. Five pistol-packing soldiers enter the side door of Zoe, our Southwind motorhome. They start searching the vehicle, opening cupboards, drawers, the door to the toilet, the shower, even the oven and refrigerator.
“Do you have any drugs, guns or explosives?” their leader inquires. Although our Spanish is limited, we know enough to reply, “No.”
Checking every page of our passports,
Before opening the wardrobe, one young soldier stares at the collection of pictures of our family taped to its mirror: Brian and my brother proudly displaying a sizeable trout; my son, his wife, and their three-year old son; my daughter holding her daughter, my granddaughter. I point to each photo and explain in the few words I know: mi familia – mi esposo y mi hermano, mis hijos, mis nietos.
Another soldier opens the cabinet over the sink and peers at the boxes of pasta, rice and popcorn, cans of tuna and soup. He says something over his shoulder to the others who all chuckle, I’m sure at our expense. Reaching into the refrigerator, I offer cold cans of Cokes. Three soldiers lounge on the couch, thin legs stretched out in front of them, two at the dinette, talking and laughing—they spin a cocoon of conversation around themselves and seem to have forgotten us.
Twenty minutes later, sodas depleted, they file out the door.
I wave goodbye, a Miss America smile pasted on my face, as Brian starts up Zoe’s engine and pulls back onto the highway. It is only then that I start shaking.
Brian pats my arm, “You did fine. We’ve still got another 1,000 miles to go, so you’d better get used to it. I’m sure we’ll have to pass through a few more roadblocks before we get to Zihuatanejo.”
We left our home in
We had both quit our jobs and were on our way to
As we head south, I watch familiar urban sprawl transform into a landscape that would become routine as we drive further south – palm trees and cacti, endless highway, distant violet mountains, all washed with brassy sunshine. The promise of adventure pales against thoughts of friends and family left behind. I am haunted by the image of my grandson, Zachary, smiling in the picture window of our home on
For at least the tenth time that day, I ask myself, “What the hell are we doing?”
What Time Do The Crocodiles Come Out?
is available at