Harold moves into a world where every person is expendable. He and Ruth find unity with each other. Harold’s new wife, pilots him through Mexico’s industrialist, politicians, drug smugglers and murderers to a new life. He has to live on the edge of legality, adjusting to a new cultural identity. In Mexico he discovers you have to be honest with the ones you love, all others are passing images. More
This manuscript is an edited journal Harold McDowell kept in Mexico. It contains the actions of the Marroquin family of Monterrey during the civil difficulties. It starts with Harold and a friend Jerry White pursuing macho activities on the South Texas border. Harold games with an experienced smuggler to engage in international trade as a sideline. When someone is murdered, Felix Quintanella, known as El Cucuy, is the culprit but Harold’s involvement is suspected. Shedding his problems, he slips into Mexico. In Monterrey he establishes a used jewelry operation of smelting and fencing. In one transaction he purchases a stolen wedding band of Don Alejandro Marroquin’s dead wife. He has to return it personally to the old reclusive and infirm power merchant. The Marroquin family are respected industrialists and landed gentry. Returning the ring results in conversations and chess with the old man. Harold meets the Don’s widowed daughter, Ruth Rodriguez. She resembles the Don’s mother. A portrait shows the matron wearing a distinctive cameo pendant of St. Anne. Harold is told that the cameo has been missing since the Don’s mother’s death. Harold has been researched and the Don plans his future use. Trying to ingratiate with the family and daughter, Harold starts a search for the cameo through his sources. He recovers the family heirloom and gains permission to court Ruth. Harold and Ruth have been seeking a place in life and find it in each other. She invites Harold on a family retreat. There he is approached to help find military equipment. After this task, he drinks too much and commits a faux pas. He is returned to Monterrey. There Jerry White is waiting to solicit Harold to spy on the Marroquin family. He is reinstated after informing the family of the solicitation. Harold and Ruth are reunited after a long silence. El Cucuy is Harold’s nemesis and one of the Don’s associates. In a political meeting in Matamoros, Harold is kidnapped and soon abandoned to make his way back to his apartment. After returning, he is informed that he is to marry Ruth. The family gathers and meets the Don’s son, Jorge Marroquin. The honeymoon is in Barcelona so they establish banking in Andorra to hide money. On their return from Spain, Harold requires Jerry to pay cash for spying. Through his old smuggling contacts, Harold is to assist El Cucuy in purchasing weapons for a political group. Harold skims money from the arms sales. The Don takes Harold on a recruiting trip to Chihuahua. On the flight the Don explains the family history and the reason for the planned political revolt. The Don details what is expected of Harold. Unexpectedly Harold’s children contact him looking for money. He meets his daughter and then breaks all connection. The revolution starts small and grows with Mexico split in two parts. XTLA, the Don’s political group, elects Jorge the new nations President. Harold takes advantage of the political unrest to make money on the distress. The Mexico City group moves an army north to reunite the country. The military confrontation takes place south of Saltillo and ends in an atrocity. Jorge restricts medical care to degrade his father’s health and attempts to change his will. Ruth leaves town to attend her son’s wedding. El Cucuy places Harold under house arrest. The Don dies and his will gives part of the estate to Ruth. She goes missing and her riddled, burned car is found. The new President is suspected in her death. Harold learns the President is a pederast and has killed one of his young lovers. Harold contrives to have Jorge assassinated. When Jorge is killed, El Cucuy banishes Harold to an isolated house awaiting his termination. Harold has no protectors in Mexico and without Ruth awaits his fate. He finishes his journal. The granddaughter tells the course of the family in her footnote to the journal: Alive, Ruth and Harold reunite and her grandchildren are sent to Spain each summer.