Here you must be so careful. Scan each of the shadowed branches that intertwine above you. The pacazo is waiting, will wait as long as necessary.

Reynaldo says that the pacazo is nothing but an uncommonly large iguana. I prefer to believe that it is some imp of history, coincidence made scaled flesh, a god no one worships anymore, not magnificent in its fury like the gods of the Wari or Moche or blood-smeared Chavín but some petty, bitter, local god who hates fat pale pillaging strangers. Reynaldo also says that in some places pacazos live on the ground, that here on campus they live in trees because of the foxes that come from the desert at night. This cannot be true. The foxes are the size of house cats. The pacazo is seven feet long, and if a fox were to pass too close by, the pacazo would seize it by the head and crush its skull.

David stood at the sink, a pine forest to his left, the Pacific Ocean to his right, and cursed the morning sun. It beat through the skylight and smashed into the mirror, making it all but impossible to shave without squinting. He had lived in Los Angeles long enough to lose track of the seasons, so it took glancing up at CNBC and seeing live images of people snowshoeing down Madison Avenue for it to register: it was the middle of winter. And he determined that all day, no matter how bad things got, at least he’d be grateful for the weather.