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1. What is the significance of the colors of the vans and the mountains through the years?
The protagonist starts out feeling very much a part of his surroundings.  He is a part of the town, a part of the region, a part of the Mexican purple of the nearby mountains.  He never notices the green… why should he?  He is an American citizen and they are no threat to him.  But they don’t immediately recognize his belonging and begin to challenge it.  With each new challenge, he begins to see himself as NOT belonging as much as he’d originally believed.  He begins to challenge them back, as any red-blooded American would.  However, the act of each challenge makes him take his freedoms less and less for granted, while simultaneously separating him from the purple of the mountains.  By the end of the story, he can no longer be a part of both worlds.  In order to protect his freedom, he must be on his guard and separate himself from the men and women who run rather than challenge, who say nothing more than “yes, sir,” and bow their heads and allow themselves to be hand-cuffed, rather than reminding the officers of their rights and defending their personal boundaries.  In the beginning, he was attentive to his roots and proud of them – in the end, he is more focused on survival and, therefore, more aware of the adversary and their movements.

2. Why do you think that there is mention of the fence?
I think the fence symbolizes the extremely fine line between the free man he is and the fugitive the officers suspect him to be.  He knows it wouldn’t take much, in fact, would take much LESS, to allow himself to be labeled an illegal, arrested, tried and deported to Mexico.  Just today, I read about a famous British spy and novelist who recently admitted that he was once tempted to defect to the Soviet Union just to experience the FULL reality of what life was like on the other side of the Iron Curtain.  He’d been so very, extremely close to it all as a spy, and the curiosity to know more was almost overwhelming enough to lure him into changing sides without any genuine exchange of allegiance.  I believe our protagonist feels that same draw, that same curiosity to know more about a world that is so alien, yet such a part of him by way of lineage, alone.

3. Game references are made in the beginning of the story, but not in the end. It seems as though there is protocol wherever you go. Could our whole lives just be analyzed as a game?
I’m sure some people see life as a game.  I don’t think that is a healthy attitude, especially for Americans who have a reputation for putting winning far above sportsmanship.  I think of it as more of a laboratory – part classroom, part Petri dish.  Here is where we learn and grow and fizzle and explode.  Usually, the outcome of our experiments cannot be adequately predicted.  Games have rules, but life generally re-writes the rules as we go – especially in the areas of love and war.

4. Did you notice the "cold blue stare" reference when the border patrol officer stops him. I think that it is reference to the race of this particular officer. What do you think?
It could also be a reference to the arrogant authority associated with men in uniform (do Immigration Officers wear blue?) or it could be alluding to a certain perceived bloodlessness in the officer’s face.  “Cold” and “blue” just naturally go together, but I wouldn’t automatically discount the possibility that the officer’s eyes were blue.

5. In your opinion, do you think that El Paso is as much a melting pot as any other major city in Texas? Why?
I don’t think this story really gave us enough information to deduce the answer to that and, since I’ve never lived near or even visited El Paso, it’s hard for me to say either way.  I felt like this story was more about the dehumanization of security – security in our rights as American citizens as well as the service of the security industry.  Officers carry no responsibility for decisions or mistakes so long as they’re “just doing a job.”  New rules are put in place to thwart clever law-breakers, but they only serve to make life more miserable for the law-abiders and challenge law-breakers to get even SMARTER!  And people who don’t carry specific identity on them at all times are more often treated as criminals, whether they are at fault or not.  The burden of proof is placed upon us.  No longer are we innocent until proven guilty.  Why, not long ago, during a very difficult financial period, a bank refused to cash a paycheck for me because my State ID had expired and I had misplaced my passport.  They’d been cashing my checks for weeks without any issue and I had used both my passport and my ID interchangeably, but either a new rule was initiated or someone began enforcing old rules more stringently.  For whatever reason, the very same girl who’d seen me every Friday for over a month suddenly refused to cash my check.  She and her supervisor just spouted rules and regulations to me, blaming the computer system, not caring that I couldn’t get my ID renewed WITHOUT getting that check cashed or that my family was on the verge of homelessness.  I completely lost it when the girl told me, “Ma’am, I simply cannot tell WHO you are without valid ID!”  As if my citizenship, my very name, ceased to exist from one day to the next!  As if my soul, my humanity were encased within an amalgamation of toner, paper and laminate!  That’s what I was thinking of when I read this story.  I don’t believe the moral pertained as much to racial discrimination as it did to an inequity of power– especially since one of the harassing officers was also Hispanic.

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