Tacho sits in a dull green room, hurt and swollen. He is both thrilled and shocked that the Americans haven't discovered his money belt. Finally, an American man in a suit sits down across from Tacho and addresses him in English. The man says that there's been a miscommunication and blabbers about heightened security in the post-9/11 world. They argue over whether Tacho mentioned Al Qaeda or not. As the man shows Tacho to the door, he asks if Tacho will cross again. Tacho says he will.
It's worth noting that Tacho's experience here means that he's no longer so interested in crossing because he believes the US to be ideal. Rather, he wants to cross for the girls' sake, which is a testament to Tacho's friendship with the girls and his loyalty towards them, as he's willing to push through his disappointment (and abuse) to find them.
Once he arrives in Tijuana, Tacho calls Tía Irma. She explains that Nayeli supposedly went to Matt's house, but she doesn't know if she made it. Tacho vows to cross the border again and find the girls. He asks if the Fallen Hand is out of business yet, and Irma taunts that it's missing Tacho's "feminine touch." Tacho yells at Irma, but she hangs up the phone.
When Irma taunts Tacho for his sexuality, it adds more evidence that Irma isn't necessarily the amazing hero the girls thought she was. Her prejudiced opinions about those who are different from her begin to chip away at the unwavering heroism that the novel initially assigned to her.
Tacho hails a taxi and asks the driver to take him to a gay bar. At the bar, Tacho downs one martini and rebuffs a sad man's advances. A man named Rigoberto sits next to him and offers him a chocolate cigarette. Rigoberto comments on Tacho's bruised face but looks disapproving when Tacho explains that the Border Patrol beat him up. However, Rigoberto listens to Tacho's story and seems to accept it.
At the gay bar, Tacho is able to let his guard down and not be quite so vigilant about protecting himself. This makes it clear that being constantly on guard is exhausting.
Tacho looks around, and Rigoberto deems Tacho exotic since he's the only criminal in the bar. Tacho allows Rigoberto to buy him a third martini, and remarks that he feels like he's home—there are no gay bars in Tres Camarones. The men toast each other, and Rigoberto mentions that he's a doctor and could look at Tacho's injuries. Tacho can barely believe that Rigoberto is flirting with him, but Rigoberto signs the check and suggests they go to his house. Tacho falls asleep immediately upon climbing into Rigoberto's BMW and wakes up in the driveway of a beautiful villa.
The kindness that Rigoberto shows Tacho illustrates that some individuals are willing to reevaluate their first impressions of someone to form a more well rounded understanding of a person. In this way, Rigoberto begins to grapple with his own sense of superiority and acknowledge the humanity of those he once deemed "other." This shows again that empathy is one of the first steps towards combating racism.