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ture request on Dragnet, but the poetry of facts, like that of words, depends on inspired selection. What is most remarkable about Ask a Policeman is its hybrid sensibility, its ease in straddling two \(nay, three a couple of cultures. Klail and Barrones each have more in common with the other than with many other towns on their own side of the national divide. Lisandro Gomez’ successor as head of law enforcement in Barrones is spunky Maria Luisa Cetina, who attended high school in Klail and is able to explain, in fluent English, how, though it adheres to the Napoleonic Code, Mexican law is as attentive as la ley norteamericana to the rights of suspects. Spanish words and phrases mingle freely with English ones throughout the novel. However, in marked contrast to Hinojosa’s practice elsewhere in the Klail City Death Trip cycle \(where the use of English or Spanish, by characters and narrators, is dictated entirely by the context, not the presumed limitations of the scribed entirely in English, by speakers who know only Spanish. With better insight than grammar, Partners in Crime says about Rafe’s cousin, Jehu Malacara: “And, as most borderers throughout the world, he had little confidence in central authority.” In Ask a Policeman, Boyd Hackett, the F.B.I. agent assigned to Klail, is an interloper, less a partner than a pest to the local police. District Attorney Chip Valencia is a fatuous Republican who rinks his political ambitions to acquiring federal funding to buy unnecessary tanks and heavy weapons for Belken County. “The federal trough is longer than the Rio Grande,” notes Sam Dorson. “Trouble is, the trough doesn’t wash out into the Gulf.” Nor does everything in the plot of Ask a Policeman wash, and this novel about borderers does not always inspire confidence in its author. He asks his policemen, in Klail and Barrones, to follow step-by-step the procedures for closing the files on local felonies, while larger questions remain a mystery. Steven G. Kellman is the Ashbel Smith Professor of Comparative Literature at U.T.San Antonio. Get DownHome with The Texas Observer. Now you can read your favorite Observer features on The Texas Observer DownHome Page: Investigative Reporting, Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, Political Intelligence, and all the rest. Also on our site is a list of progressive organizations on the web folks who share our progressive politics. the Editors CLASSIFIEDS ORGANIZATIONS WORK for single-payer National Health Care. Join GRAY PANTHERS, intergenerational advocates against ageism and for progressive policies promoting social and economic justice. $20 individual, $35 family. 3710 Cedar, REVOLTED BY EXECUTIONS? Join the Amnesty International Campaign Against the Death Penalty. WORK FOR OPEN, responsible government in Texas. Join Common Cause/Texas, 1615 Guadalupe, #204, CENTRAL TEXAS CHAPTER of the ACLU invites you to our noon Forum, the last Friday of every month, at Furr’s Cafeteria Banquet Room in Northcrou Mall, Austin. For information call NATIONAL WRITERS UNION. We give working writers a fighting chance. Grievance procedures. Health insurance. Solidarity. Journalists, authors, poets, commercial writers. Forming locals in Austin, Houston, and El Paso. [email protected] PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Join the Texas Civil Rights Project, 2212 E. MLK, Austin, TX 78702. $25/year. Volunteers also needed. Contact Jim 474-5073. GREEN DEMOCRATS. The Environ mental Caucus of the Texas Democratic Party is organizing statewide for the ’98 elections. It’s time for Texas environmentalists to create a grassroots political force to help elect earthfriendly politicians like Garry Mauro. For contacts in your part of Texas, call [email protected] . SUPPORT TEXAS ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS through payroll deductions where you work. Call Earth EMPLOYMENT ASSOC. EXEC. DIRECTOR-MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT for Austin-based, statewide low-income people’s social equity alliance. Grassroots community organizing, training & fundraising, volunteer recruiting/supervision. Call for Job Descrptn 512-474-5019, fax 512-474-5058. Mid-$20’s, possible bonus. Avail. ASAP. EEO employer. Open till filled. SERVICES MARY NELL MATHS, CPA, 20 years’ experience in tax, litigation support, and other analyses. 901 Rio Grande, HOUSEBUYERS, The Consumer’s Agent. Specialists in representing cen315-2565. WORLDWISE DESIGN, awardwinning graphic design studio. For creative, effective and professional designs for your educational and promoCLASSIFIED RATES: Minimum ten words. One time, 50 cents per word; three times, 45 cents per word; six times, 40 cents per word; 12 times, 35 cents per word; 25 times, 30 cents per word. Telephone and box numbers count as two words, abbreviations and zip codes as one. Payment must accompany order for all classified ads. Deadline is three weeks before cover date. Address orders and inquiries to Advertising Director, The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th, Austin, TX 28 THE TEXAS OBSERVER