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 ChavĂ­n 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.

So would you care to set the record straight?

I most absolutely would. First of all, if I’d known there was going to be popcorn I would not have taken my own under any circumstances. Anybody who knows me knows that. Second of all, the Taurus was blue, not green. Sort of a bluish-green. I wish the newspapers could get that much right at least. Third of all, the librarian’s name was Brook, not Brooke-with-an-e, just Brook, B-R-O-O-K, like the nice word for a creek. You know that word, right? Everybody knows that word. And I kind of loved her for that, for having a name that stopped right there at the k, but I never told her, and now of course it’s too late.