El Muchacho (The Boy)


Image based on photo by Bruce Fayman,
Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0

The first chapter is important to any book, but especially a mystery novel, right? It needs to be a royal tingler. This first chapter didn’t exist until several drafts of Border Field Blues had been completed. My original first chapter had to be tossed out. I rather liked it, but it had to go. I killed it. It’s dead. If you’re interested, you can read the original here. It doesn’t really give anything away — not at this point, anyway. If you’re not interested, then move along. There’s nothing to see here.

Annotations & Translations

Coyotes — people smugglers. This term is pretty well known now, via the news media, books, movies, etc. More specifically, according to my Oxford dictionary — “a person who smuggles Latin Americans across the US border, typically for a high fee.”
The original, native Mexican word was “coyotl”.

Vihuela — The Mexican Vihuela, in this case, a small five-string guitar. You can see, and hear, some examples in the videos section.

Telenovela — somewhat equivalent to American soap operas, with similarly rabid fanbases, though with more limited runs.

Coatlaxopeuh — Better known as Guadalupe to Americans, also the virgin patroness of Mexico, a vision of the Virgin Mary seen by Juan Diego. More on that later, but you might want to remember this.

Muéstrese — Show yourself.

No le entiendo — I don’t understand.

No sabe — I don’t know.

Chulo — Pimp

Secret writing tip to add the appropriate accents to Spanish words. It’s all about the alt/option key:

  • Alt/Option – c will give you ç
  • Type Alt/Option – n, then n again to get ñ
  • Type Alt/Option – e, then e again to get é

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