Things that I have been able to find after some difficulty:
1. Skippy peanut butter, creamy style, in the very large jar (48 oz.; 1.36 kg.);
2. Dawn dish washing liquid;
3. A large container of roasted and salted peanuts, albeit very expensive (1.27 kg.);
5. A No. 1142, 12 volt automotive tail light bulb for the ceiling light in my camper.
Things that I have been unable to find in spite of great difficulty:
1. Skippy peanut butter, chunky style, in any size jar whatsoever;
2. Dial soap;
3. Tide laundry detergent;
4. Pledge Multi-Surface Clean and Dust;
5. A laundromat—laundries and dry cleaning establishments are in abundant supply, but I need a laundromat;
6. Last, but certainly not least, Little Debbie's Oatmeal Creme Pies.
I am not one of those Americans who has to have his American shit in foreign countries. I am just saying that all things being equal, I would like some goddamned Dial soap, simply because I am used to it. And it kills bacteria.
I had a dream last night, which is in fact what motivated me to write this entry.
I was walking home from the opera in very dark and deserted streets. Suddenly, a Mexican in a long black coat loomed up in front me, a very large Mexican with his hands in his pockets in a menacing sort of way. A white scar line ran from his forehead through his left eye on down to his jawline below his left ear. I stopped abruptly, thinking that I had very nearly run down a mariachi Captain Ahab.
“Mi amigo, I have what you need,” he said cryptically. His voice was raspy.
“How do you know what I need, compadre?” I asked, playing along with his false air of camaraderie.
“We have ways of learning information here in old México, I assure you.”
“Okay, I'll play your game. What is it that I need?” I said.
“Do exactly as I say. Keep your eyes on my right hand.”
“How can I keep my eyes on your right hand when your right hand is in your pocket?” I asked.
“Do not pick bones with me, chingacho, or we will go for a ride together into the desert.”
“I'm keeping my eyes on your right hand.”
With that he pulled his left hand out of the pocket of his coat and pointed above to the dim, useless street light a few yards away. Obviously, he did this to distract the attention of anyone who might be watching because at the same time him pulled his right fist out of his other coat pocket, lowered it below his waist, and opened it. In his palm lay an Oatmeal Creme Pie by Little Debbie, one of those larger ones with the individual wrapping still affixed.
“Where did you get that?” I gasped and started fumbling in my pocket for pesos. “They don't even have those at the Mega store.”
“Don't give me money here in the street, idiota! Do you want to get us both killed?”
“Well, no, but I need that Oatmeal Creme Pie. I admit it. And I'm willing to pay top peso. I can't believe you have one of the big ones!”
“We can do business, but let us step into this alley,” he said.
We stepped into the nearby alley, both of us looking back over our shoulders as we did so. The darkness was near total.
“Quickly, give me all the pesos that you have in your pocket,” he hissed.
“But. . . . .”
“Do as I say! Be quick about it,”
I pulled a fist full of Mexican bills from my pocket. You could discern some 100's, a couple of 500's, and some other smaller bills in what light there was. There must have been. . .oh. . .two or three American dollars worth of money in that wad!
He grabbed it and laughed at me--laughed at my obviously abject craving as he slapped that Oatmeal Creme Pie in my palm.
“You solipsists are all alike. Totally self-focused and helpless slaves to your own needs.”
His laughter echoed loudly in that alley now.
“And by the way, fuck Little Debbie!”
Then in a heartbeat the alley was silent, and he had disappeared.
I desperately called out, “Wait! Do you have any chunky style Skippy peanut butter? Any size jar will do!”
When the echo of my own words had ebbed away, there was only silence.
I stepped back out of the alley and continued my walk home at a faster pace now and preternaturally aware of my surroundings and all that was going on around me, which was pretty much nothing.
Finally, I reached the camper, the Oatmeal Creme Pie safely in my hip pocket. After fumbling with the key for what seemed like an eternity, I managed to get the door open. You know how it sometimes feels as if you are moving through syrup in a dream? I stepped in and immediately locked the door behind me after tossing the Oatmeal Creme Pie on the counter, wishing so much that I also had a security chain.
I pulled the drapes, turned on the light, and hastily tore the cushion off one of the dinette set seats. I dug frantically through the secret compartment in the base of that seat and found the two-and-a-half foot length of surgical tubing. I sat down on the other dinette seat without even replacing the cushion on the opposite one. I made one wrap around my left arm with the surgical tubing just above the elbow, and with one end between my teeth, I jerked the tubing tight with my free hand. The veins in my arm soon stood out.
I unwrapped and downed that large Oatmeal Creme Pie forcing myself to do so in four bites instead of two, savoring each bite with a long chew. Soon the ceiling light in the camper with the little, hard-to-find No. 1142 automotive bulb from the Mega store began to dance, and then the light broke apart as if seen through a prism and my camper was flooded in brilliant colors. I drifted off. . . . . .