10

That evening, the Krendells sat down for dinner, at the table in the patio of their new home. Their dinner plates were stacked high with beef burritos, rice and refried beans. All three of them had mugs of cerveza oscuro for a beverage.

Dave said Grace. "We thank you Lord for providing us with all this abundance. We thank you for this food; for this fine new home we live in; for the new job I have; for Karen's excellent new School; for all the very good people we've met, and who have been so helpful to us, since we've arrived. We thank you for it all, in Jesus Name. Amen."

They began to eat.

Then Karen looked up. "You're still saying 'In Jesus Name' Dad?"

"Yes." He said, "Here in the Republic of Tulum, everyone's allowed to worship any way they want, in the privacy of their own home."

Amanda said, "That's what I've been told."

Karen told them, "And that's where it should stay!"

Her mother said, "Karen..."

"You know Mom, I'm trying my best to fit in at school, and it's not easy. I know you don't like it that I'm wearing a necklace and bracelet carved from human bones, and that I've got a cabezita on my belt; but I can't be the only student at the Teochacista Parochial High School, who doesn't wear them, 'cause Teochaco Worship isn't my real religion."

Her father said, "She's right Amanda. Just because our daughter eats people, and wears their shrunken heads on her belt, doesn't mean that she isn't a nice girl."

Karen added, "And if you haven't noticed Mom, no woman in this City ever goes anywhere without at least one cabezita on her belt, except you."

Her mother replied, "I know you're a nice girl Karen, and so are your friends, and I've noticed how people dress around here; but doesn't it bother you at all?"

"Sure it does Mom, but it'll be a lot easier if I don't let it bother me."

"Well it's not that easy for me.

"Dave." She told her husband, "I've met someone who says that we're welcome to come and read from a Bible, that he and his wife have in their house."

He hesitated, finished a mouthful of beans and rice, then shook his head slightly.

He told her, "This wouldn't be a good time for it. Olivia Ross and I don't want to do anything to antagonize Carlos Obregon, any further than he already is."

"You've antagonized him?" Karen spoke nervously. "Dad. I'm going to have to risk sacrifice in a couple of months, and he is the one who will be performing the sacrifice; so could you and Ms. Ross please try not to antagonize him, at least until after it's over?"

"It's okay Karen." Her father told her, "It wasn't anything personal. He's just not thrilled by our proposal. Your personal risk has not been increased."

"Right." Amanda said, "He doesn't seem petty, or vengeful. Every time we've met, he's been a complete gentleman; and completely civilized and reasonable."

She hesitated. "Except when he slashed that girl open and ripped her beating heart out."

"The problem is," Dave told them, "Olivia and I are the ones who are being unreasonable. We want to dump 150,000 people on this Planet; none of whom worship the Teochacos, and the Mundomayans are unprepared for them."

His wife said, "Yeah. I can see why people would be antagonized by that."

Dave went on. "When it comes to preparing for their arrival, Olivia and I are on our own."

Amanda said, "On your own?"

"Don't worry Amanda. Like you said, Cacique Obregon is a reasonable man; and Olivia Ross and I are not incompetent. I'm sure we can come up with a reasonable proposal that will satisfy him."

"What if he isn't satisfied?"

"If not, then on the day after the next full moon, Olivia Ross is the one, who'd be standing atop the Gran Teochacali, as a sign of assurance, that all is well in Chichitok. If that happens, I'd be the one who'd have to send a photo to the Manhattan Housing Company, showing her sacrificed with an arrow through her heart. Along with that, I'd have to send a memo, advising them, to advise the 150,000 people, that they should cancel their plans to emigrate. Then I should start looking for another job."

"I don't like the sound of that Dave."

"Don't worry Amanda. Like I said, Olivia and I aren't incompetent."

Now Karen spoke. "Dad. I know you said that this disagreement with Cacique Obregon isn't personal, and you both think he's an okay guy. What do you think of his son Luis?"

Amanda sighed. "He wants to go on a date with Karen, Dave."

"A date?" Dave repeated, "Luis Obregon? The first time I saw him, he was holding a dead girl's beating heart in his hand. I'm sure he'll be complete gentleman."

"I'm glad to hear you say that Dad."

Now Amanda asked her daughter, "Are you planning to make foqui with him?"

"Mom! It's just the first date! Come on already!"

"I meant on the night before you risk being sacrificed?"

"I have no idea who that'll be Mom. I'm not even sure if I want to do it then, with anybody; or even before then."

"That's a relief to hear."

Dave asked, "Has he said where he wants to go with you on that date?"

"He'd like to take me to the Balet Folclorico on Saturday night."

"Where we're going? That'll be good. You can ride with us."

Karen asked, "A double date?"

"Yeah." Her mother laughed, "Your parents in the front seat, with you two making foqui in the back!"

Karen groaned and put her head in her hands. "I'm gonna be a good girl on Saturday night Mom, whether you're there or not!"

"I'm just teasing with you Karen." Amanda said, "Don't worry. I'm not gonna say anything to embarrass you in front of your date."

The next morning, when Dave arrived at the tiny local office of the Manhattan Housing Company, Olivia Ross was already hard at work at her computer. She glanced up at him for a moment, and then she returned her attention to her computer screen.

"I'm checking local rental ads Dave. Just to get an idea of how many housing units are usually available. I'd like you to check the want ads, to see what kind of work'll be available for the inmigrantes, when they arrive."

"Right."

Dave went to the computer on his desk, and accessed the local want ads.

After about a half hour, his office manager asked, "So what kind of work is available around here Dave?"

"According to this," Dave waved his hand at his computer screen, "there's all kinds of work to do here in Chichitok. Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. Doctor, lawyer, cannibal chief; butcher; baker; candlestick maker.

"An inmigrante could get a job as a dancer, dasher, prancer, vixen, comet, cupid, donder, blitzen."

The woman chuckled, "What"

"Olivia." Dave spoke seriously, "There couldn't possibly be enough jobs for 150,000 people. The available jobs are gonna run out, probably sooner than you think."

"Dave." She said, "I know that being sacrificed is considered a very high honor, but I'd still like to be alive, after the next fiesta."

"No problema Senora Ross. Chichitok isn't the only place for people to live on Mundomaya. There are plenty of cities and smaller communities, all over the Republic of Tulum; and on this Planet. There are more than 100 Countries, on five Continents, and all those Island Nations. All we've got to do is spread the inmigrantes out, all over the Planet.

"After each weekly flight arrives, we'll disperse its 250 passengers to a different location, than the people who arrived on the previous flight. 250 people, in any city that's large enough to accommodate them, shouldn't have any trouble finding work, or a place to live."

"Right." She said, "There's more to Mundomaya than Chichitok."

"Exactly." He told her, "So let's forget about finding jobs and housing for 150,000 here in Chichitok. Let's concentrate on arranging transportation, for 250 people a week; who'll be dispersing to different locations all over this Planet. We've got more than a year before the first 250 arrive."

"Then the Chichitok office of the Manhattan Housing Company will go from being an agency that rents housing, to being a travel agency?"

"Looks that way, and I'm sure that Cacique Obregon will find this agreeable."

"So am I Dave. I'm just not sure if the people at Manhattan Housing Headquarters will be as agreeable as he."

"Why wouldn't they?" He said, "Relax Olivia. Enjoy the next Fiesta, and many more to come."