trail. Thick cascades of green veggie life rose above us in canopy after canopy, and the light,although the sun was almost directly overhead, was green and dense. It felt like light that had beentrapped between the earth and the jungle eons ago. The air buzzed in the heat, and was likesomething solid when I took a breath, thick and viscous. Smells rose up from the undergrowthalong the trail, smells like bleach, saltwater marshes and honeymoon sheets hung in a hothouse toferment.
Destri said, “Potty break. Boys to the left side of the trail, girls to the right.” The jungle
swallowed her whole. When she came back, she had her hair down and a flush on her cheeks.
“Wow, guys! It smells like endome
trium in there. I have
felt so much fertility in all my life”,she said breathlessly. “Its like the whole jungle is a concentrated form of life. If I was ovulatingright now, I bet I could have gotten pregnant in there just from taking a pee.” A
s we got ready tostart back up the trail, I stole a glance at her, and she had a hand lightly on her tummy, checking forany new roundness, and probably wondering at the strange new genetics such a union wouldproduce.We reached Saint Mike in late afternoon, just at the end of siesta, and the town still hadsleep in its eyes. A knot of brown, potbellied little urchins stood around a sleeping pig in the townplaza, taking turns pissing on it. A crumbling stone mission building stood to one side of the littlesquare, and chickens wandered in and out of the doorless entry. The remainder of the dozen or sohouses in Saint Mike were low, mudwalled affairs, either roofed with broad jungle leaves for thatch,or left open to the air save for the cantina, the only two-storied building in town. We tethered ourpack burros to a rotten wood rail beside the cantina, and went inside to escape the sun, fierce eventhis late in the day. Lars was the last inside, backing in, and scanning the street and rooftops forpossible sniper positions, for enfilading fields of fire and avenues of escape.Inside the cantina, the air was marginally cooler, but had been fouled by an old dog that layat the end of the bar farting regularly. A half dozen tables had been fashioned from oil drums andammunition crates, and were arranged on the wooden floor. The flooring planks had been worn