The Hot Country

A Novel Excerpt

by Robert Olen Butler

Bunky Millerman caught me from behind on the first day of Woody Wilson’s little escapade in Vera Cruz. Bunky and his Kodak and I had gone down south of the border a couple of weeks earlier for the Post-Express and the whole syndicate. I’d been promised an interview with the tin-pot General Huerta, who was running the country. He had his hands full with Zapata and Villa and Carranza, and by the time I got there, el Presidente was no longer in a mood to see the American press. I was ready to beat it back north, but then the Muse of Reporters shucked off her diaphanous gown for me and made the local commandant in Tampico, on the Gulf coast, go a little mad. He grabbed a squad of our Navy Bluejackets, who were ashore for gasoline and showers, and marched them through the streets as Mexican prisoners.

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