El Corazon

It’s accepted that mariachi bands always pack heat.
You can hire them for your wedding, sure, but if things go down they won’t end short of a blood bath.
And usually the lead singer’s got a dark past.
Or his brother’s a drug lord and they’re estranged.
So it’s a risk you have to be willing to take, if you want something other than a washed up disc jockey or a fading rock group to crowd your rented dance floor.
You play the odds.
Usually you’re safe enough — everyone knows the rules, everything stays cool.
But sometimes…
Sometimes there’s an open bar and your uncle gets drunk and says something.
Or your lawyer is there and he’s brought a stuttering Indian with him.
The Indian carries a bronze bowl everywhere and doesn’t say much.
Or you invite that high school friend of yours who disappeared before prom and is just back in town for the weekend.
The one who dresses all in black and won’t talk about Oregon.
And things go down.
And no mariachi band has ever walked away from a fight.
And you’re safe enough — they’re professionals, after all — but your Christmas list is suddenly a lot shorter.