Meanwhile, back in Mexico, we’re walking on the road in the direction of Estacion Catorce, and Jack is like, “You know, it sounds crazy but it almost seems like praying helped us find the peyote.” And I’m like, “Yeah.” And he’s like, “I wish we had a ride back into town.” And I’m like, “Why don’t you pray for one?” And five minutes later a pickup stops and picks us up and we head back down the road. Peyote can amplify one’s sense of balance, so I was standing up in the back of the pickup with no fear at all, keeping an eye on the road ahead. The people in the front waved at me to sit down, and I did.

Back in town we found Mauricio having a very civilized chicken dinner at a tiny metal table at a little restaurant. Jack and I headed back to the hotel while Alberto and Bob Marley stayed in town to find some weed.

Jack went to sleep early. Alberto and Bob got in and we hung out in Alberto’s room. They unwrapped a piece of newspaper with plenty of ganga in it and rolled joints as I melted cheese on tortillas over the fire in the fireplace in the corner of the room and fed us all. Still eating peyote slowly and steadily, one button per hour, I passed up the pot most of the time. Alberto had a guitar and photocopies of Beatles lyrics, so we sang for a long time in between mirthful conversations.

I went outside to look at the stars. Sra. Sabas was there. “What are you doing?” she quizzed. It was about midnight.

“When one eats peyote, one often has the urge to go look at the stars,” I said.

“I never took peyote,” she said.

“Cada quien a su gusto,” I said. To each, his own. I don’t remember what we talked about then, just that it was interesting–I think she told me about her life in that town, and her German grandfather, among other things; the conversation ended, by mutual consent, before it became boring, and she went inside and I went out walking, looking at the stars, wondering about my future.

Went back inside and sang some more, and talked some more, and ate some more peyote. A carload of friends of Alberto’s showed up, suddenly, in the middle of the night, and Sra. Sabas found rooms for them, and they joined us in Alberto’s room, sharing some organic baked goods. The room suddenly seemed too loud and too full.

I went out walking again, heading out the road into the desert. The nightly fog was in, nourishing the plants. In the dimness, the pebbles on the road seemed to change shape as I looked at them. When I closed my eyes as I walked, —

To be continued.