Location: The patio behind Jojo’s house (map)
Miles: whatever they were before

I’m here with my long-lost brother, pL, sitting under a dark and cloudless New Mexico sky, the Rio Grande Valley sprawling before us. The lights of Santa Fe shimmer in the distance. Coltrane is spilling out of the not-bad-for-a-laptop speakers of pL’s slick new machine, and the night creatures are singing along. Jojo and Spencer’s dogs are in the house and take to barking occasionally. I can’t blame them; their masters aren’t at home and there are strangers on the back porch.

It’s a little dark right now. Turning on the light in the kitchen would be ideal, but I don’t want to just go barging into the house, since Jojo and Spencer are not here.

But their broadband is. Oh, sweet heaven. So my brother and I are sitting on their nice patio furniture, plugged into their AC, enjoying high-speed Internet access.

Next to me there is a big bucket filled with suspect water with a bare tree branch sticking out of it. The story goes like this: Jojo and Spencer catch rainwater in the bucket and use it to water plants. Unfortunately, the water was also a magnet for ground squirrels. After two of them drowned and were reduced to icky masses, Spencer put the branch in the bucket to allow the squirrels a way to escape.

Jojo and Spencer have arrived, and just in time. Our second six-pack requires a bottle opener.

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