New Mexico – Episode 1.02
(The Lopezez Family is in the back of a Mayflower truck heading for greener pastures. Illegally. Destination: Mexico, Maine. Reason for Visit: The American Dream..)
Episode 1.02 – “Dallas”
Nina: So, let me get this straight.
Domingo: Please do.
(Nina and the rest of the Lopezezes are back on the road the next morning as Mickey guides the Mayflower back on the 35N and up to Dallas/Fort Worth..)
Nina: We just traveled the entire length of Mexico in order to get to America.
Domingo: (nods) Correct.
Nina: And now you expect us to travel the entire length of America to get to Mexico?
Domingo: Yes. But, it’s a new Mexico. (winks at camera)
Maria: (lowers her issue of Hoy) So, we’re going to New Mexico?
Domingo: No, it’s in Maine.
Guadalupe: Do they have Taco Bells in this Mexico?
Domingo: (glares) What did I say about Taco Bells!
Nina: I just don’t see why we can’t find a nice place along the way. Something closer so we can get off this truck.
Domingo: This is the place, Nina! I can feel it in my bones! Besides, Maine is Vacationland. It’ll be like every day is a vacation.
Maria: I dunno, Dad. Mexico, Maine? Sounds kinda…slummy.
Domingo: Oh that is so racist, Maria.
Maria: (turns back to her Hoy)
Nina: Dear, if you really feel this is the place for us, I’m going to trust you.
Domingo: Listen, I don’t have to– wait, what? You’re agreeing with me?
Nina: I know. I’m a little startled by it myself. But…I trust your judgment.
Domingo: (smiles) Honey, if we weren’t on a truck surrounded by ten illegal immigrants I would take you and just– oh, what the hell!
(Domingo leaps onto Nina while Guadalupe covers Pinta’s eyes..)
Maria: Ew, Dad! Gross!
(That afternoon, Domingo sits down with his son Guadalupe near the back of the truck, behind an empty refrigerator box..)
Domingo: Son, today I wanna teach you about American sayings. Americans have funny ways of expressing themselves, and one of those ways is to use special idioms that don’t exactly mean what you think they might mean.
Guadalupe: (looks up from his Mexican comic book, El Supero Man) Hmm?
Domingo: For instance, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” That doesn’t actually mean to not look in the mouth of a horse that was given to you by a loved one or confidant.
Guadalupe: (setting the comic book down) What does it mean?
Domingo: Um, I’m not sure.
Guadalupe: Then why did you bring it up?
Domingo: Dunno. First thing that came to mind. But hey, we’re two rational human beings. We should be able to figure this thing out. “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” It’s telling us to never do…something. What are some things we should never do?
Guadalupe: Eat at Taco Bell?
Domingo: Yes, but on a broader scale. Not just us.
Guadalupe: Oh, okay. Kill?
Domingo: Yeah. Unless he’s really askin’ for it.
Domingo: No, it’s not things you can’t do. It’s things you can do, but shouldn’t. I think we’re going about all this the wrong way. Let’s focus on the ‘gift horse’ part. What’s a gift horse? Who would get a gift horse?
Guadalupe: Little girls?
Domingo: Race track owners?
Guadalupe: Iranian sheiks? Wait, I thought you said the horse wasn’t literal.
Domingo: You’re right. So what could a gift horse stand for? Gift cow, maybe?
Guadalupe: Don’t think so, Pop.
Domingo: Probably has something to do with birthdays…or Christmas.
Guadalupe: Can I just read my El Supero Man?
Domingo: No, no. We’re gonna get this. Show me a little of that American perseverance, Guady.
Guadalupe: I don’t think that’s a thing.
(Maria and Nina are watching Pinta run around in circles..)
Maria: Are we gonna all have to get jobs, Mom?
Nina: Yes, dear.
Nina: Maria, this is going to be a team effort. We all have to do our part.
Maria: Why did you let Dad drag us up here? Everything was fine in Mexico.
Nina: Yes, but everything will be better in America. We’re doing this for the three of you. We want you to be able to go to a good school and get a good job, so you can provide for a family of your own someday.
Maria: So, it’s just an endless cycle?
(Nina nods, staring at her youngest, Pinta, who’s stopped spinning and started vomiting..)
Nina: Yeah, pretty much.
Domingo: Let’s see, horses make glue.
Guadalupe: And Taco Bell meat.
Domingo: Enough with the Taco Bell!
Guadalupe: Jeez, fine. What about horse shoes?
Domingo: No, I think it has something to do with the teeth. ‘Cause you’re lookin’ in its mouth.
Guadalupe: I thought you were not looking in its mouth.
Domingo: I think it’s either way.
Guadalupe: Well, that doesn’t make much sense.
Domingo: It’s an American saying. It’s not supposed to make sense.
Guadalupe: Well, then why are we doing this?
Domingo: Because in modern society and the hustle and bustle of a twenty-first century economy, it’s good to know about other cultures and peoples.
Guadalupe: You mean like how all those Americans learn Spanish in order to better communicate with us?
Domingo: Yeah. Well, no. Oh, you’re being sarcastic.
Guadalupe: Why do we have to learn all about them when they won’t even go through the effort to learn anything about us?
Domingo: We’re in their home. It’s about being a good guest.
Guadalupe: It’s about being a good host.
Domingo: Ooh! Maybe it has something to do with saddles!
Nina: You could work at Taco Bell.
Maria: (glances at her mother) Now you’re just trying to to piss Dad off.
Nina: (smiles) A little. Well, what do you like? You like clothes. Work at a clothing store.
Maria: Maybe. Like a vintage store.
Nina: Or a TJ-Maxx.
Maria: So a vintage store, then. What about you, Mom? Are you gonna stick to nursing?
Nina: I’d like to. I imagine I’d have to take night classes for a while, in order to get certified.
Maria: See, that’s the thing I don’t get about this country. They make it so hard for people to do the things they want to do. You want to be a nurse, like you were back home. In order to do that, you have to take a couple semester’s worth of night classes; probably a year or so of work, maybe more. Meanwhile, you have to provide for your family while you’re in school. That job won’t like you fitting your schedule around night classes at the same time that you’re working your day job and will be pressuring you to give up your dream and drop the night courses, in order to take on the day job full-time. If you refuse, they’ll feel that you’re not taking your job seriously and they’ll drop you; or, at the very least, keep you from advancing. So, essentially, you’ve got to choose between starving now to eat later; or eating now, but never being able to do what you actually want to do. I thought this country was supposed to be all about freedom and “the American dream.” Doesn’t seem very freedom-y to me.
Nina: (staring bleakly at the walls of the Mayflower truck) Let’s… not… worry about that right now.
Pinta: (vomits on puddle of old vomit)
(That evening, Mickey opens the back doors of the Mayflower and lets everyone out for a breath of fresh air in another sprawling truck stop parking lot..)
Mickey: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dallas, Texas.
(Guadalupe jumps off the rig and tugs at Mickey’s shirt sleeve..)
Guadalupe: Mr. Jones, what does “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” mean?
Doming: (grabs Guadalupe by the collar, grinning) C’mon, son. Don’t bother the nice human trafficker. And it’s “Always look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Mickey: (smiles) Actually Mr. Lopezez, it’s “Never.” And don’t worry about it. It’s kinda nice talkin’ to somebody after a long day on the road. Frankly, I wish I could have one of y’all up front there with me to pass the time. But what with all the illegalities..
Domingo: (glances at the truck cab) You do have a nice set-up in there..
Guadalupe: So, what does it mean?
Mickey: (takes a knee next to Guadalupe) Well kiddo, that’s an easy one. When somebody tells you to “Never look a gift horse in the mouth,” they’re simply just telling you to to be grateful for what you have. If somebody gives you something, be happy. It’s not the actual gift, it’s the giving of that gift that matters.
Guadalupe: (frowns) So, it has nothing to do with horses at all?
Mickey: No, sir.
(Guadalupe glances up at Domingo, who shrugs..)
Mickey: It’s actually a really sweet sentiment. Just be grateful for what you got.
Domingo: (smiles, glancing up at the stars) Yeah, it’s kinda nice.
Mickey: (puts out his cigarette and claps his hands) Alright, you Mexicans! Back in the truck! Bedtime!
(Mickey corrals the illegal immigrants, locks the back doors and retires to the plush bed in the back of his cab.)