The Gringolux Arms

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 25 Feb 2024

"I have grown wings, I am flying
Ascending fool, I am soaring
Untied my wrists and flew away"
A Wave of Hope


My handler told me not to say anything, but he's going to feed all relevant incriminating documentation to a horde of wild moon bores anyway, so what difference does it make.  I was sitting on the sidewalk in Mexico City, trying to catch a ride to the Phish shows in Cancun this weekend so I could spend the better part of an entire month's rent on one night in a hotel room, when I was approached by a guy who said he didn't work for the CIA, and had no connections to the government whatsoever.  No connections to the government, of any kind at all.  What government, I asked.

Exactly, he said.


We exchanged some pleasantries, and once we'd established that we weren't who we could reasonably deny we didn't say we weren't, he wrote 3 words on a cocktail napkin.  He told me that if I ever spoke these words in public, my reputation and livelihood would be destroyed.  I reminded him that I was a retired professional musician, a disreputable profession that hardly paid anything.  I told him I'd been a musician so long that death would be a sweet relief, akin to getting paid.  I told him to either to do me a favor and put some pesos in my hand and get out of my face, or put me out of my misery.  I told him that it made no difference to me, his napkin and his 3 cryptic, ridiculous words.  He asked me, how do you know it's 3 words?  You haven't looked at the napkin yet.  I looked down, and it was like an invitation from Willy Wonka himself, glowing up at me from the window of opportunity, crumpled like a million stupid dollars in my disbelieving hand.

The Gringolux Arms, it said.  The Gringolux Arms?

What's that?


I'm not supposed to say anything, but the CIA is opening a chain of inner-city golf resorts in strategic locations throughout Latin America.  Under the efficient, charismatic leadership of Xo Biden and the CCP, the CIA has had trouble inserting agents behind the so-called "Gringo Curtain," the cultural and financial line that separates most gringos from most Latinos.  And anyway, all the CIA agents in Mexico were in Cancun to see Phish this weekend, spending more than their maids make in a month, on a single hotel room for one night.  It isn't clear if the concert tickets were included in the price of the room, but fortunately the agents were able to choose between suites with views of either the golf course, or the ocean.

For some reason, rooms with views of the dumpster behind the kitchen, where bus fumes waft through the window, and all the cooks and maids smoke Mexico Spirits on their 30-second slave breaks, slamming the smoke into their lungs as quickly as possible, like hard liquor, were not listed.  Presumably, these choice locations were booked as quickly as possible for the crew, the phalanx of sound- and light men who provide the backdrop for the band of musical assassins, the Manchurian candidates killing it onstage like a gringo group possessed.

I mean, listen to them.  The music doesn't even have anything to do with the song.  Is it because they're a front for the CIA, providing cover for "a weekend of recreation" for all the spooks who have already been spotted by the locals, and can therefore be slaughtered by masterful sonic improvisation?  The drummer is killing it.  Without even breaking a sweat.  While wearing a Mumu, even.  The performance is next-level.

Whoah is me, for sure.

Amazing.  Or is it?  Perhaps we're just supposed to think it's amazing, while all the CIA agents who've been compromised are absorbed into the contingent of gringo hippies that populate the Riviera Maya, and who will be conveniently "retired" one-by-one in a gross, deniable manner over the course of the next week.

Probably, there are real CIA plants in the audience, who have been tasked with dosing the compromised agents with substances appropriate to "a well-deserved weekend of carefree fun."  What if the annual Phish shows on the Riviera Maya are like the Bohemian Grove for people who are about to be killed?  If Bohemian Grove is a meeting for those who do the killing, are the Phish shows at the esoterically-named "Moon Palace" the secret meeting of those whose purpose has been either compromised or served, and who must therefore be ceremoniously disposed of?

I don't know.  But if you read about any low-profile, untraceable Jacuzzi deaths in Cancun or Playa del Carmen this weekend, it wasn't natural causes that killed them.

You heard it here first.


What is the "Moon Palace," anyway?  Is it really a hotel, or is it a luxury golf resort devoted to the sacrifice of compromised CIA agents to various lunar deities?  I want to see the staff.  If the maid has a dragon tail and is fluent in a pre-Columbian demon language, reconsider turndown service.  When you're booking the room, ask if the phone lines are made of an indestructible alloy that is impossible to cut.  You may need it to decapitate any assailants that may come knocking.  Bring your own shampoo-defluoridation kit, and a portable blacklight to test the purity of the bottled water.  And whatever you do, under no circumstances actually spend the night in the room.  Pay one of the cooks to take you into town.  Tell him to take you to The Gringolux Arms.  He will know it.  Everybody knows it.

It's where all the rogue gringo agents go, when they want to play golf without being killed by their superiors.

Here's one of the undisclosed Ecuadorian branches:


And here are a couple of rogue agents, enjoying a well-deserved weekend of golf in an exotic location:


Need a ride to the airport from a guy who doesn't care if you're running from the local criminal contingent?  No problem.  The Gringolux Arms has you covered.  The airport shuttle will pick you up in front of the hotel, and take you straight to the airport, indifferent to any circumstantial violence you may bring upon the other passengers.  You can even ride on the hood, if you want to.


Don't be intimidated by the valet parking, though.  You will probably feel like you're being kidnapped by coked-up cartel guys, and who knows, maybe you are.  But your car will be safe.  Just get a ticket from the masked valet agent.  The guy with the skull mask is the supervisor on duty.  Direct all your questions to him.  Nevermind if the other valet agents point guns at you and scream at you to give them your keys and wallet.  It's for your own protection.  Your belongings will be safe.  Safer than they'd be at the sacrificial "Moon Palace," anyway.

Welcome to The Gringolux Arms.


So, if you're a disgruntled CCP/CIA agent abandoned in Latin America, and can't afford tickets to the Phish show/compromised agent moon sacrifice in Cancun this weekend, go to the gritty part of town and check into The Gringolux Arms.  I'm not supposed to talk about it, but my handler is going to feed all relevant incriminating documentation to a horde of wild moon bores anyway, so what's the difference?  I'm just the open-mic host at the Bogotá location.  They never tell me anything.

Don't panic though.  No matter how tightly-packed the local population, chances are there's a luxury hotel and inner-city golf resort for disgruntled spies just around the corner.  Phish might not be playing that night, but you might get some half-hearted Karaoke in a humid, dimly-lit room full of shady alcoholics with a vaguely Eastern-European patina of cold, hardened, tough-guy ennui.  Just look for the golfer.  He's on all the signs.  But don't tell 'em Nathan sent you.  I'm not even supposed to be here.  Personally, I'd rather be at the "Moon Palace."  I'd love to bathe in water that isn't sentient.

But it's okay.  Technically, I'm not even here.  Officially, this hotel does not exist.

I'll leave the light on for you, regardless.  Even if it costs me my life.  What did these pseudonymous spooks ever do for me, anyway?  Man does not live on strawberry churros alone.  Hey you, ascending fool.  Am I soaring?  I don't see any wings.  Maybe we don't need wings.  As much as I appreciate their music, though, I'm glad I didn't make it to the Phish show.  No band is worth dying at the hands of a Náhuatl moon maid for.

Maybe next year.


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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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