Scenes From a Mexican Restaurant

News item: The presidents of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, the leading source countries of illegal immigrants in the United States, hailed Obama’s executive decree to stop the deportation of many of their compatriots.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto: Ah, welcome, amigos. I am glad you all could make it to our celebratory luncheon.

El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren: Thank you, Nieto. This is a beautiful restaurant you have chosen, here in the heart of Los Angeles. I had heard of the progress made in El Norte, but now I see it. This feels just like home, except the buildings are not falling down.

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Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina (running a finger across the table top): It is very clean.

Nieto: Ah, the rest of us are here to relax. Otto is here for an inspection. Still the military man.

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez: Relax, Otto. Have a drink with us. Senorita, cervezas, por favor.

Ceren: Ah, no. We are celebrating. We need something more festive. Something fruity with an umbrella.

Nieto: Perfect. Waitress, Joe Bidens all around.

(Laughter as the drinks arrive.)

Nieto: Gentlemen, we are here to celebrate the American amnesty. Not only have we pressured the Americans into breaking their own laws, but we have helped to make the first American king. Think about it. Who ever thought of a time when America would be as corrupt as our own countries? It is a great victory.

Hernandez: And let us not forget that we have foisted millions of deadbeats off on the Americans. I don’t know about you guys, but I now have enough money left in my presidential fund for another palace and three more mistresses.

Molina: And you can afford the staff to maintain your palace?

Hernandez: Si, it is very clean. (Laughs) Seriously, though, Otto, I import American drug addicts. They work very cheaply. You should think about it.

Ceren: Guys, guys! Look who’s sitting over there in the corner by himself. Isn’t that Obama?

Nieto: You’re right. Poor guy, he looks all alone, almost as if he has alienated all his fellow countrymen. (Pause, then burst of laughter from all four men.)

Hernandez, wiping tears from his eyes: You guys are shameless. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Waitress, send that man a pollo salad, with my complements. Don’t be stingy on the dressing.

Ceren: Chicken salad? You, sir, are a grade-A smart-aleck.

Nieto: Do you think he’ll get the joke?

Molina: You could ask him. He’s coming over here.

Ceren: D’oh!

Obama: Uh, hi there, fellas. How, uh, how are you doing?

Nieto: Oh, just fine, Barry. How about yourself?

Obama: Uh, I’m doing just swell. I, uh, just wanted to thank you for the, uh, swell salad. Michelle won’t let me put dressing on my salad, so, uh, that’s really something special.

Hernandez: Well, you are so skinny, we thought you could use the extra calories, and we wanted to thank you for taking such good care of our wayward citizens.

Ceren: Yes, thank you for your kindness.

Nieto: It is a great loss to our country, all those doctors and technicians we have sent you, but I am content knowing they are being well taken care of by the welfare and foodstamps while they are contributing to your country’s economy, so thank you.

Molina: Yes, thank you for taking out our garbage.

(Ceren does spit take, wipes margarita from his mouth and nose.)

Obama: Well, uh, you guys get some benefits from this whole deal, too, as I understand it. Don’t your people in my country send a lot of money back home to help your economies?

Nieto: It’s not so much. I only have the 10 limousines.

Obama: Say, could I sit with you guys?

Ceren: No!

Hernandez: There is no room.

Obama: Well, uh, maybe I could “jump” your border and sit with you anyway.

Molina: Heh, amusing. … No.

Obama (dejected): Oh. … OK, I guess I’ll just go back to my table and eat my chicken salad while I go over these new executive orders.

Nieto: It’s for the best. We’ll call if we need you for anything.

Ceren (whispering after Obama leaves): He doesn’t know, does he, about Operation Reconquista?

Nieto: I don’t think so. One day soon, at a word, our agents will rise up and take back America for Mexico.

Molina: Ahem.

Nieto: I mean for the League of Central American Peoples, of course.

Hernandez: What is the secret trigger word, by the way?

Ceren: Tamales.

Hernandez: Tamales? No, that’s no good. Everybody eats tamales. You need a less common word. Something that none of our agents would normally say.

Nieto: How about “burrito grande”? No self-respecting Mexican eats those things.

Hernandez: That could work. We must choose carefully. We don’t want to activate prematurely.

Ceren: That has never happened before. …

Nieto (raising glass): Gentlemen, a toast. America is dead. Long live El Norte!


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