Fitz column mug

David Fitzsimmons, Tucson’s most beloved ink-stained wretch.

Sour Frank was all for the wall. He just blurted it out to all of us sitting on either side of him at the counter. “The big, beautiful, stupid wall,” as Rosa called it. Rosa couldn’t believe he still favored the dumb thing. “Even with all the investigative reporting about the absurdity and the cost and the impracticality of a wall, you still want the damned thing?”

“Absolutely. Could I get a fresh cup, darlin’?”

“On the way, mi amigo. So you want the wall so much you’re willing to pay for it yourself?”

Phil Arroyo, our local investigative weatherman, looked Sour Frank up and down. “Funny, Frank. You don’t look like Mexico. Wait a second. You know, when the light hits you just right, you do look like Mexico. Your Yucatan is dragging a bit this morning, Frank.”

Romero put down his fork. “And your Acapulco needs a tuck, buddy. Will you be paying for our wall with pesos, señor? Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear that? What did Mexico say, Rosa?”

“I can’t repeat it in front of such innocent ears. ¡Chihuahua!”

Lurlene piled on. “Frank don’t look like Mexico. Frank, you look more like one of them all-day suckers. A lollipop with a pocket protector.”

“Laugh all you want, Lurlene. Laugh when our national security — our very survival — is at stake. We need a wall.”

Romero laughed. “Vato, you need more than a wall. You need four padded walls and around-the-clock monitoring.”

“We need a wall.”

“Is that your new mantra? That had to be tough to learn. That’s one more syllable than ‘Amnesty!’

Sour Frank huffed. “Our president is trying his best and all you can do is tear him down. I watched him this week at his Cabinet meeting. The man knows his stuff.”

“The man knows about as much as every talk radio caller on line one. He’s every babbling gasbag I ever heard on the dial. You know what we learned from this stupid Trump shutdown? His mind shut down years ago.”

Romero shared his theory. “That’s because there’s only one thing that terrifies him more than brown illegal immigrants, Frank.”

“What’s that, Romero?”

“Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and all of Rush Limbaugh’s ditto heads out there. America’s best and brightest.” The laughter echoed around the cafe. “You know he hires illegals, right?”

Buzz Monthan, our resident Air Force retiree, added his thoughts over scrambled eggs.

“I loved it when Trump said he could have been a great general. Are you kidding me? Thanks to the bone spur diagnosis his daddy bought for his little baby coward, we’ll never know, will we? I lost men over there while he wasted his daddy’s millions.”

We ate and sipped in silence. I apologized for picking on Sour Frank. “Dang it, Frank. You made me break my only resolution for 2019.”

“What’s that, Mr. Open Borders?”

Lurlene slapped the counter. “I gotta interrupt you right here and now, buttercup. Attention everybody. May I have your attention? Me and Sour Frank was talking and I got a question for y’all. How many of you folks in here this morning favor open borders?” Lurlene pretended to count in spite of the fact not a single hand went up. “Let’s see. That’s … um … hmm … um ... zero. See, Frank? We all want the same thing: immigration reform and border security. We just don’t want dumb walls, kids in cages, families torn apart and, worse, dead children.”

We ate and sipped in silence, again. Frank turned to me.“You broke a resolution?”

“Yup. I promised myself I wasn’t going to respond to Facebook friends when they post critical comments. Same thing in real life. I promised myself I was going to let folks have their say and leave it at that, ” I sighed. “I couldn’t do it for more than five days. I’m ashamed of myself. Sorry, Frank.”

Buzz said he’d broken his resolution, too. It pained him to break a silly promise he’d made to himself. Lurlene wanted to know what he was talking about. “Well, Lurlene, I promised myself I’d only watch the first five minutes of my favorite cable news shows. I figured the rest of the hour in each show is devoted to nothing but bickering and breaking news — breaking into the breaking news that just interrupted a special report following some other breaking news. I lasted a day. I couldn’t resist. That stuff is like crack.”

Sour Frank put his arms around Buzz and me. “We all break promises. Live and learn.”

Rosa refilled Sour Frank’s empty cup. “Like promising to make Mexico pay for a wall? Tell me, Frank, when will you ever learn?”

Contact editorial cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at tooner@tucson.com