“Hey, can you make me another apron? This one gets dirty too fast,” Lizard yelled out from the back room.
“You know, if you took it off before leaving it wouldn’t drag on the ground with you tripping all over it,” She yelled back. “That’s what happens when you leave here and go back to using four feet.”
The sun rose over the Chisos Mountains only half an hour ago. Before sunrise She and Lizard had coffee brewing in several pots on the gas stove and they were preparing for the usual morning patrons. A few locals and less than a few tourists patronized the café this early in the morning. Otherwise the desert was quiet.
Only coffee was served in the mornings. Breakfast was available from nearby Crazy Cats Cozy Cantina, another favorite local hangout. The fire pit was a central focal point, the warmth drawing everyone near and coaxing cold facial muscles to loosen with stories. The Café complimented the Cantina’s breakfast with specialty Mexican coffee, brewed with a secret recipe, and afternoon Cantina lunches with the Café’s homemade ice cream.
Both places were favorites of Terlingua locals: side-by-side, the purple buses on one side and the green and yellow caboose on the other. And both had their eclectic mix of patrons. As well as proprietors.
Lizard walked ungracefully into the café front room carrying a carafe of coffee, “Hey, my back legs get tired of holding up all my weight all day in here. But will ya look at these thigh muscles! The chicks are going to really like me.”
“You’re just lazy, Lizard. I see your brothers and sisters running around on their hind legs all the time,” Burro chimed in and quickly changed the subject. “So, I heard one of Juanita’s javelina babies got run over last night by one of those big metal things you humans hide in all the time. She and her family tried to cross River Road again in pitch dark. I keep telling her not to do that.”
Coyote briefly looked up from his bowl on the table and muttered, “Yup. Victoria and Hector were cleaning it up early this morning when I trotted by.”
She shook her head while pouring herself another cup of hot coffee. “What?” asked Lizard looking at She.
“I’m still trying to get used to a pair of vultures named ‘Victoria’ and ‘Hector’.”
Coyote put his front paws on the table, uttering a sound that could have been mistaken for a sarcastic laugh. “We only use names for you Humans. We really don’t have names; we have smells.” Lizard and Burro nodded.
“You mean, each one of you has your own smell? And you name each other by smell?”
Burro chimed in with a bray, “I smell good!”
“No, you don’t, Burro. You stink!” Coyote uttered that sound again, more like a snicker, and proceeded to explain. “We don’t name smells. We just…..smell. And our smells change.”
Lizard nodded, swirling his long blue tail in between his front foot pads. “That’s right. We all smell, and you all smell. Your smell changes, too. I can tell when you are mad by smelling you. “
“Right. You Humans stink, too. Now would you please fill my bowl? I’d like more cream this time.” Coyote pushed his bowl towards She.
“Only if you don’t splatter it all over the table while slurping it.” She picked up the brightly colored bowl with 'Coyote’s' painted on it in brown and filled it part way with water, adding a dash of cream.
Lizard cleaned off the bottom of his apron with his finger pads. “Can I have a red apron?”
“What’s wrong with your yellow apron?”
“It clashes with my blueness.”
“Then stop turning blue and stay green. This is the Green Lizard Café, remember?”
“I can’t help it if I turn colors! It’s what I do; I was born this way. Besides I get bored being green all the time. “
Burro heehawed in laughter. “She’s just jealous.”
“Okay. I’ll make a red apron and wash your yellow one. Than you can change aprons when you change color.”
Coyote snickered again, pushing the paper on the floor and jumping down from the low chair his rump sat on. “You might as well wear them both at the same time, Lizard. You change color all the time.”
“Lizard will look like a cactus flower! Heehaw, heehaw, heehaw…..”
“Burro, quit making that dreadful noise!!” Everyone yelled with their hands covering their ears.