Dec. 8th

Hey there my compadres,

I'm in Arecibo Puerto Rico It's the section of the island that has that great big ground based telescope you always see in the movies. I didn't get to talk to any aliens. I was much too busy hanging out with my benefactor, Mr. Hector Lopez. What sorta Puerto Rican farmer can afford to fly a lower middle class Caucasian out to his island home?

Glad you asked. This guy has cornered the market of mini mules. Well. he had cornered the market until a chupacabra started taking chunks out of his animals.

"But Derek" I hear you saying, "I thought this monster went after goats, and anyway what in the hell is a mini-mule?"

Well I hadn't heard of a mini-mule before either but near as I could figure out a mini-mule is a prize possession to some people. They keep 'em as pets and there's a circuit of shows that people enter their prized mini-mules into, in hopes of winning the prestige that comes with having a top of the line mini-mule. Some of these babies go for upwards of $40 to $50 grand. Being the marketing genius that he is, Lopez figured he would get me down here to 1) expose this horrible monster to the world and 2) expose the world to his mini-mules.

I'm a sucker for cross promotion so I've been all smiles since I got here. Hector speaks English just about as well as I speak Spanish so when his American educated son isn't around we just sorta smile at each other and drink beer. While we're drinking I got him to draw what he had seen earlier this month during a previous attack. It looks pretty much like an average goatsucker should look like so I'm convinced. (I convince easy)

Later we went outside with our beer and Hector showed me the spot where he had seen his prize mini-mule being devoured. The farmer gestured wildly around the livestock pen spilling cervesa all over his remaining animals. One mule in particular seemed to want more of the beer and he chugged half a bottle of mine.

Anyway I got the camera installed near the pen and wired up. The local phone company (some guy in a panel truck named Roberto) came by and laid in another phone line (Hector had to pay $50 extra to Roberto plus he drank the last of the beer.) We also had a visit by a reporter from a San Juan tabloid come by and take some shots of Hector, the mini-mules and myself. Look for the article in your finer Puerto Rican supermarkets. Hector was very happy to see the reporter since this guy bills himself as "The Voice of the Chupacabra" . . .and I thought my job was weird.

Saying good-bye to the mini-mules I went over and spoke with Captain Inglashe at a near by prison (they call 'em a penal colony around these parts.) He told me of an attack on the prisoner's pigs which resulted in a burial for the porkers instead of a trip to the penal kitchen. All in all a bad time had by all. (the pigs and the prisoners, not me, I was still buzzing from the farmer's beer)

And in our surf report, conditions are very nice at Cueva Indio with a 6 foot swell breaking to the left when I visited it in the rental car. No locals out though, maybe they're all looking at each other's mini-mules.

hurdy gur,
Derek "mucho cervesa" Barnes

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