Westward through New Mexico we were stopped again, at about 3 in the morning, this time by Border Patrol, who showed the penetrating intelligence one expects from the Border Patrol.
To be fair, Burford did egg them on a little bit. When they asked about his license plate cover, Burford called it "a political statement."
"Well, you can just politically pull over here," said one of the Border Guards.
I was later filled in on all this, because, having just pulled a long stint at the wheel, I was asleep in the back. I awoke to a flashlight in the face. Maybe the whole setup did look a little...odd. We're towing a low-rider type of vehicle, covered (if only incidentally) with the word TIJUANA, you've got me in the back passed out with a suitcase between my knees (I usually use a pillow, but I didn't have one), and a wise-ass is at the wheel. Bad combo. I just wanted to get out of there--I needed to find a quiet place, if you know what I mean.
They kept asking Burford a bunch of questions. How old are you? Where do you live? Where were you born? Did you go to college? (That one gave rise to lots of "college boy" jokes later.) Then they started in on the license plate cover. "So, you don't believe in abiding by the law?" Basically, they were jerks.
Then they asked who owned the green car. Ahem. "That would be me," I said.
"Who's the singer? I don't recognize her."
I explained Herb Alpert. As best one can, anyway.
Finally they told us we could go. But Burford wasn't finished. "My friend here has to urinate very badly. Do you have someplace he could urinate?"
The leader pointed across the highway. "See that cactus?" I nodded. "You can go behind there."
"Is that okay?" asked Burford. "He won't get into any trouble?"
The leader frowned at me. "You ain't afraid-a snakes or nothin' are ya boy?"
"Go on ahead, then."
That was that. I think next year I'll make an American Flag Car. They couldn't possibly question that.