It was all Lance’s fault. That was the only thing in Chris’s head as he stretched and tried not to think of all the other people standing on the lawn. It was safer to think of what had happened four months ago, when Lance decided to throw that stupid party at his house.
And just because Lance was determined to prove to everyone that he never held a grudge for long, everyone had been invited. Including one Reichen Lehmkuhl, who Chris now hated just in principle. Sure, Chris had agreed at the time, but it was because he had never expected that there would be a chance to prove that he was telling the truth.
Joey insisted all the time that Reichen was the one to blame, but Chris wasn’t convinced. It had been Lance the one who had rushed to defend Chris and Joey’s honor, and it had been Lance who made the idiotic bet.
Justin was also to blame, as he had actually supported Lance, since it wasn’t his ass on the line. Even JC, who had said that of course, both Joey and Chris could win the bet for Lance. And the NBC executives, for coming up with the opportunity for said bet.
Everyone was to blame, Chris mused, but since he was already there, and there was no way out, he and Joey just had to win.
* * *
“This is Orlando, Florida, home of world famous amusement parks. From this tourism mecca, twelve very special teams will embark on a race around the world for one million dollars to be donated to the charity of their choice.”
The huge screen in Justin’s house was showing Phil Keoghan standing in front of the Universal Studios Hard Rock Café as he started the now famous introduction for the show that had lasted 16 seasons so far. The camera cut every so often to a tour bus from the studio, where the selected couples for the competition looked very relaxed and ready to start the race.
In front of the TV, Justin had placed everything he and JC could possibly need. There was popcorn and chips, about twenty liters of soda of all different flavors, the remote control, in a very accessible position, and of course, the TiVo control, in case they wanted to see anything again. It was just luck that neither he nor JC had anything important to do the day of the Amazing Race Celebrity Edition premiere, and Justin was determined to make the most of it.
“Teams are now being transported to the starting line at the entrance of the Universal Studios. Each team is made of two people with an existing relationship who have worked in the entertainment business.”
“So, have you asked Chris or Joey how it went down?” Justin asked as the camera panned down to show every contestant in detail.
“I haven’t seen them yet. Stupid binding agreements.” JC murmured. They both had decided to watch the show together, after Lance refused to help them try to get their friends to say who won before the show had aired, before they realized that Chris and Joey were probably avoiding them to make sure that they wouldn’t ask. Sure, both JC and Justin understood the importance of the legal agreements that forbid all contestants from revealing anything about the Race until after all the episodes had aired, but JC was sure that the Way brothers had told the other members of My Chemical Romance if they had won or been eliminated early. It was only fair that Chris and Joey did the same.
But since their friends were being stubborn, Justin and JC had no other choice than to actually watch the show. It would show them, Justin guessed, if they managed to tape any embarrassing moments. And if he remembered the one season that they all had to see when Lance was dating Reichen correctly, there should be a lot of embarrassing moments.
“The competition looks hard,” Justin said, laughing, as they watched Chris and Joey say how much they had traveled together and how they were going to win the race to give the money for unprivileged kids. “I had no idea that AJ and Kevin were in this too!”
“I knew,” JC smiled. “Howie told me when I was working with them that AJ was not going to be at the studio for a while.”
“And you didn’t tell me?” Justin scoffed, and then turned to look at the screen where Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus were rehearsing together and saying something about mending friendships. “When did Blink 182 reunite? I thought they had fought or something.”
“Last year, or did you miss all the ‘Since Backstreet Boys and Blink 182 came back again, when can we expect a new *N Sync album’ questions?” JC laughed. “Now, silence. They’re going to start.”
Now standing in front of Phil, as the camera panned one more time to show all the contestants. All twelve couples looked as if they were ready to start sprinting. Besides Chris and Joey, who were standing at the far right, there were Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Portia DeRossi and Ellen Degeneres, Tom DeLounge and Mark Hoppus, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline (much to Justin’s annoyance), Zac Effron and Vanessa Hudgens, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, Gerard and Mikey Way, and, finally, Pink and Christina Aguilera. It was a very interesting mix of singers, actors and comedians, but Justin was confident that Chris and Joey could win. At the very least, he hoped they managed to beat Britney and her ex.
“When I give the word, you’ll run towards your bags, read the clue and go into one of the cars. The first couple to reach the final line will receive one million dollars. Is everyone ready?”
* * *
Chris barely heard Phil say “Go” when he felt Joey drag him forward to where the bags were placed. In the run through the entrance of the studios, he almost crashed against Jared Padalecki, as the actor was crossing the road diagonally to get to their bags, and he thought he heard Britney yell something that sounded a lot like “Move over, Kevin!” that could’ve been directed to her husband or Richardson, although he was pretty sure that the Backstreet team was in front of them.
“Get the clue!,” Joey told him, picking up their bags in one hand. As much as they both wanted to keep on running, rules stated that they had to read the clue before getting into the vans provided by the show.
Chris grabbed the envelope that Joey handed him and ripped it open easily, reading the first instruction out loud for the benefit of the cameraman that had been assigned to their team.
“Fly to México City!”
“I hope you’ve practiced your Spanish,” Joey said, running away towards the vans.
“I’ll drive!” Chris ran to catch up with Joey, who passed him one of the two bags. He followed Joey to a bright blue van with flames painted on the side. It wasn’t the first car of the line, but Chris paid no attention, adrenaline had finally kicked in and he was ready to kick butt.
* * *
“Go, go!” Goldie Hawn was hurrying Kate Hudson as they reached a white van that was the first one in the line of vans ready to go. “You drive!”
“Move over, Kevin!” Britney sounded pissed as she shoved her ex-husband out of the way, reaching the third van, and Justin smiled. After hearing Britney saying to the camera that she was hoping that in the race she and Kevin Federline could find again their love and save their marriage, it was nice to see that she wasn’t that convinced that it could be done
“We’re on third, hurry up, AJ!” Kevin was already inside the van when the Hudson/Hawn team was starting their motor.
“Remember, Rupert, here they drive on the left!” Emma Watson was sitting on the back seat of their van while Rupert Grint diligently put on his seatbelt.
“Wait,” Justin frowned while the show once again changed from the actual race to a pre-taped interview, this time of the two British actors, insisting that they were best friends and thought of each other as brother and sister. “I thought only Americans could participate in the race.”
“That’s the way rules are, usually.” JC was flipping through a TV Guide where they had outlined the twelve teams. “But they made an exception for the Celebrity edition. Dude, TV Guide places Chris and Joey as the first ones to be eliminated.”
“No way,” Justin grabbed the magazine from JC’s hands and started reading the article. “Uh. So it’s because they aren’t in good shape? Geez! Have they *seen* the show? And they think all the singers will be out before the final five?”
“They have a point about the actors traveling more,” JC pointed out. “But not about the experience. There are a lot of stunt doubles in their movies.”
“We did a couple of world tours back then,” Justin wasn’t very convinced. He didn’t add that he had been doing world tours on his own because that didn’t help Chris or Joey’s experience.
“How do we get to the airport?” Jesse Spencer was driving a silver van, while Jennifer Morrison was navigating the map. Before she could answer him, the scene faded to the pre-recorded interview of the couple, who looked quite friendly despite having broken up their engagement two years ago.
“We’re friends,” Jesse said, as Jennifer smiled and leaned on his shoulder. “But we’re always on the set, always working. So we decided to do this to find how we work as friends without the hassle of doing a show every week.”
“Except that we still have cameras around,” Jennifer added, laughing. “It seems we just can’t get away from those.”
* * *
“So, everything we say gets recorded?”
AJ asked while Kevin kept his foot on the accelerator. It had been a while since they had been in Orlando, but some things in life were like learning to drive a bicycle, you just never forgot the basics. Things like how to get to the Orlando International Airport were easy, and that gave their team a good home advantage –even if Chris, Joey, Britney and Christina also had the same advantage, all things considered. The first stop was also a stroke of luck, México was one of the usual stops for the Backstreet tours and Kevin still had fond memories of that country. They could win this leg.
“Yes, that was the general gist of the contract we signed.” Eyes on the road, Kevin kept trying to see the other teams. Further ahead, he could see the red and yellow van that Pink and Christina had chosen to drive, and a black van that he was almost sure was the Blink 182 van. Third place was good enough, as long as they managed to get a good flight. “What are our plane options?”
“Continental or Aeromexico,” AJ answered and Kevin heard the sound of paper being shuffled. “Continental is the one that arrives earlier, so we should aim for that. So, if I talked to you about one of the guys deep dark secrets, everyone would know?”
“Yes, and then I would have to help them to hide your body, so don’t,” Kevin shook his head. He knew AJ was only played it up for the cameras and so, he decided to joke along. Even if they had some serious stuff to fix in the trip, they weren’t going to do that in front of millions of viewers. “How much do we have for this leg?”
“$140, not much. You take care of it.” And that brought back memories of the time when the group was still starting, and Lou was the one who assigned them their money for the week. $140 back them would’ve been a fortune, and of course, they all asked Kevin to keep track of their expenses.
And that was something that Kevin wasn’t in a hurry to repeat.
“I drive, you keep the money,” he said, trying to keep his voice even. There had been a lot of things unsaid when he had left the group and one of those was that he trusted AJ So he was going to take advantage of the race to show his friend exactly that.
* * *
The first ones to arrive to the airport were Portia and Ellen, and Justin had to admit that the couple were tough competitors. They hadn’t been shown much during the drive, with Portia driving and Ellen reading the directions quickly and efficiently. They could be hard to beat, so he hoped Chris and Joey had been wary of them. Just because Ellen was a friend and treated them very nicely whenever they went to her show it didn’t mean she would let them, or anyone else win.
Behind them, Jared and Jensen were running right into Terminal A, as they all wanted the Continental flight that would arrive in México City at 2:25 p.m, one hour earlier than the one from Aeromexico. And Chris and Joey were still on the highway, in fifth place according to the subtitles.
“C’mon, Chris, hurry up!” JC said, as he grabbed the popcorn. “What’s taking them so long?”
“They lost time at the exit of the park, but as long as they get there in sixth place, they can get in the Continental flight,” Justin pointed out. “Jared just said that there were seven places on that.”
“But if Zac and Vanessa pass them, they’ll get on the Aeromexico one.” As if JC had conjured them up, the High School Musical couple appeared on the screen, as Zac decided to change lanes and the subtitle announced that they had jumped from eight place to fifth, placing Chris and Joey in seventh.
“JC, you jinxed them!”
“It’s not my fault, this was taped six months ago!” JC crossed his arms, and focused on the screen as if by pure willpower he could make any of the other teams get a flat tire to get Chris and Joey back in the top five.
* * *
“Hey! *N Sync!” Mark Hoppus was waving at Chris as he and Joey ran inside the Orlando airport terminal. They had no idea in which place they were at the time, but since he was sure that they had left before the Blink guys, it meant that somewhere in the highway they had gotten far behind. He only hoped they weren’t the last ones. “The Continental flight is full, the Way brothers got the last ticket.”
“Fuck!” Chris swore at the same time that Joey frowned at the other men.
“You sure? It’s not a trick to make us lose the chance to get on that flight, is it?” Chris thought that Joey was being too blunt, but since he figured that every team was out to win, it was very possible that someone would lie to misdirect the other teams.
“It’s too soon for that,” Tom offered his hand to Chris, who shook it immediately. Chris had gone to a couple of Angels & Airwaves concerts, so he was friendly with the guitarist. “We thought we would wait until the second leg or so.”
“I hope you don’t mind if we check for ourselves.” Joey hadn’t even lowered the bag, and Mark and Tom just shrugged.
“Go ahead. We’ll keep your place at the Aeromexico line, just so you know that we’re on the level,” Mark said and he and Tom just started running towards the aeroline desk.
“It’s a little early to be so suspicious, isn’t it, Joe?” Chris asked. Joey was already sprinting towards the Continental desk, not turning around.
“I don’t know how it was in Gone Country, but I’ve heard enough stories about the Race that I don’t want to take chances,”
“No chances,” Chris agreed, just as they got to their line. “But maybe we could try and strike a pact with other teams. At least for the first five legs or so.”
* * *
“Hi, Vanessa?” Rupert Grint walked towards where Hudgens and Effron were sitting on the Continental Flight. None of the teams weren’t being mobbed by fans because the cameramen had asked the rest of the passengers to let them move about normally, and then Mrs. Hawn had promised that if they did, whoever wanted an autograph or a photo would get them as soon as the flight started. Unfortunately for all of them, the flight was being held down for some unexplained reason.
“Yeah?” The High School Musical star smiled at him as she put down the inflight magazine. The movies for the flight were a Charlie Sheen comedy and, ironically enough, High School Musical 1. “Rupert Grint, right?”
“That’s me.” He offered her his hand and she took it gracefully. “Look, Emma and I were thinking that you and Zac, with us, we’re the youngest teams, right? So maybe we should help each other out, at least until we get to the last leg.”
“Like an alliance?” Zac looked up and smiled at Emma, who was sitting a few rows back. “The teen idols vs. everyone else?”
“That sounds so bad,” Vanessa shook her head, amused. But she was smiling, so Rupert knew they had a chance that the Americans would accept his proposal.
* * *
“I can’t fucking believe it!” Justin cheered. The Continental flight, who was supposed to arrive at 2:45 p.m local time in México City had been delayed due to weight issues, as people were carrying too much luggage. On the other hand, the Aeromexico flight, Chris and Joey’s flight, had not only left on time, but for some weird reason, managed to get to México earlier, arriving at 2:30 p.m. Which mean that the delayed teams were now in first place.
“I think we need a table,” JC agreed. “Who’s in which place. Do you have a white board?”
“In the studio,” Justin said, not getting up. “I’ll get it during the break.”
Pink and Christina were the very first out of customs, managing to get the coveted first place. Following their clue, they got a taxi from there to Auditorio Nacional, the first stop for that leg, and Christina got the chance to show off her Spanish by giving their driver, who didn’t seem to recognize either of them, directions while Pink cheered her on. Behind them were the Blink 182 team, followed by Chris and Joey, now in third place; Jesse and Jennifer, in fourth; and finally Kevin and AJ in fifth because Kevin *had* been stopped by a fan right outside customs and the Backstreet Boy had been kind enough to stop and give her an autograph and take a picture with her.
“We played at the Estadio Azteca, right?” JC frowned, looking at Spencer trying to say to the taxi driver where to go in broken Spanish before the driver decided to take pity on him, telling him in broken English, that he knew where the Auditorio Nacional was. “Do we even know where they are going?”
“I think we also need a map.” Justin pulled out his iPhone from his pocket, not taking his eyes away from the television. The clue box wasn’t easily found, as it was on top of the Auditorio’s stairs and behind a column. “There are two big avenues that go from the airport to the Auditorio. I don’t think they can get lost.”
* * *
Finding the clue was easy for Jennifer, who raced up the stairs of the Auditorio Nacional two steps at a time while Jesse ran after her. The park behind the Auditorio looked beautiful, and Jesse hoped they had time to come back and see it after the task of the day was done. But there would be no relaxing unless they managed to keep a good pace. They had a stroke of luck with the flight, and he hoped it would continue. If nothing else, it was a good way to relax before they started filming House again.
“Use any means of public transportation, to go to the Coyotes Fountain, in Coyoacán, to receive the next clue,” Jennifer read out loud and passed the envelope to Jesse so he could read it too. The producers had warned them to read everything on the clues envelopes, so they wouldn’t miss anything, but what she had said seemed pretty straight forward.
“Excuse me,” he asked a young couple that were walking on the sidewalk and showing them the clue. “Do you know how to get here?”
The two looked at each other, talking in Spanish, then the man turned to Jesse, pointing to the avenue. “You have to get on the Periferico up until Barranca del Muerto, then Universidad. It’s a bit far.”
“O se pueden ir en metro,” the girl added, pointing to a bright orange sign a block away. “Es más rápido.”
Jesse turned to see Jennifer, who was now next to him. Their camera and sound crew were also there, but he knew better than to look at them. The Producers had asked them to ignore the camera completely unless they had something to say to the audience and Jesse doubted that “what the fuck do we do now?” counted as something that could be broadcast.
“We better take a cab,” Jennifer said, adjusting her back pack. “I really don’t fancy getting lost in our first day of the race.”
* * *
“The Mexico City Metro is the second largest metro system in North America right after the New York City subway, serving more than 1.460 billion passengers each year. It consists of 163 stations and 12 lines. Although many parts of the city are easily reachable thanks to this system which is also one of the cheapest in the world, its maze-like connections may make people think twice about using it for the first time.”
While Phil explained in a voice over the pros and the cons of using the subway as a method of transportation, JC and Justin watched in horror as Chris and Joey choose to bypass the taxis, but were followed very closely –or at least, it seemed that it was very closely thanks to the ingenious editing of the show- as did Way brothers, who had gotten lucky with their cab driver who apparently knew how to teleport from the Airport to the Auditorio, and the Blink 182 team.
“They’re going to get lost,” JC predicted, and Justin hit him on the shoulder. After seeing Jared and Jensen cross paths with Vanessa and Zac, the camera cut to Kevin and AJ inside their own cab.
“Of course, Kevin Richardson had to be the rational one,” Justin shook his head. “How are they supposed to know where they’re supposed to get off the train?”
“We have to trust Chris and Joey. I’m sure they know what they’re doing.” JC didn’t sound very convinced, probably because at the moment they were watching all the teams who had sensibly chosen to travel by cab, and it seemed to both JC and Justin that they were going very fast. Portia and Ellen were joking and laughing, Rupert and Emma were enjoying the view, and none of them looked stressed. On the other hand, the two teams in the subway looked as if they were getting half-crushed due to the sheer quantity of people in the trains, and Justin wondered how they had managed to get the camera and sound man on the metro without a hitch.
Pink and Christina had decided to try a complete different approach, by getting on a bus, same as Goldie and Kate, that seemed to be following them. And a panoramic view of the city’s traffic suddenly made things look a lot harder than it had been for the teams in the cabs.
* * *
“Why the fuck did I follow you here?!” Gerard Way was not a happy man. He had followed Mikey to the subway station because Mikey said that someone had told him that it was the quickest way to Coyoacán, and Gerard trusted his brother. Besides, it was just the subway. He had mastered the New York City Subway. Why should it be any different in México City? The New York Subway prepared you for anything, or so Gerard had thought. Mexico City subway couldn’t be that difficult.
However, not only he was being crushed by the cameraman and a guy wearing a very stained shirt that had a drunken frog holding a tequila bottle, and the microphone stand was poking him in the ribs and he was pretty sure that Mikey had groped him accidentally. In fact, he hoped it had been Mikey because there were far too many people on the car with them and he had no idea how they were going to get out because every time the train stopped, it seemed as if more people poured in and he was starting to get the idea of how a sardine felt when it was put in a can.
“Because we lose if we’re not together all the time!” Mikey answered, grinning like a loon. And yes, Gerard had to admit that, even with the poking and the groping and the indescribable substance that was sticking to his left foot, the race so far had been fun.
“Ok, next time?” Gerard tried to move closer to his brother, not giving his back to the camera because he knew that the producers needed footage of their faces, at the same time that someone, in the far back of the bar started selling a bootleg copy of great hits of the 80’s carrying a boom box so Gerard realized that he had to yell to be heard. “I’m picking up the car!”
“Whatever, dude!” Mikey laughed, circling him to stand back to the door. “I think this is our stop!”
* * *
“The *N Sync team is there!” Gerard Way was coming out of the Coyoacán station next to a small mall, attracting everyone’s attention as he pointed to the other side of the avenue where Chris and Joey were getting out of the same station. “How did they got here so fast?”
“Told you the subway was fast!” Mikey answered as he looked around, trying to find the fountain mentioned in the clues folder. The sun was going down so JC and Justin figured that soon would be time for the teams to find a place to sleep. With only a hundred dollars or so. “Where are the Coyotes?”
The scene cut again to show the fountain of the playing coyotes in the middle of a park. As Phil showed more pictures of the parks, he explained it’s name’s origins.
“The name Coyoacán comes from the word Coyohuacan that in Nahuatl means ‘place where Coyotes live’. In this part of the race, teams must figure out how to get to the Plaza Hidalgo and El Jardin Centenario, where they’ll receive the next clue.”
“That doesn’t look at all like where Joey and Chris are,” JC commented, as he finished drawing the table to keep track of the team’s placements. So far, Chris and Joey and the Way brothers were tied on first. “Maybe they got off at the wrong station?”
“Not according to Wikipedia.” Justin frowned, looking down to his iPhone. “There’s no direct way to get to the fountain unless they get either a bus or a taxi”
“So the other teams still can catch up with them?” JC shook his head. On the screen, Britney was again yelling at Kevin, as their taxi seemed to be stuck in traffic.
“I can’t believe you didn’t ask if he knew where we were going!” Britney yelled, even louder than the horns of the nearby cars, and the subtitle announced that they were in 10th place. “I swear, Kevin, I’m going to kill you if the other teams get ahead of us!”
“I didn’t want to lose my temper.” The scene shifted again to an interview with Britney and Kevin Federline. “I know Kev doesn’t speak Spanish, and mine is terrible… but we’re in the race to win, and I’m not apologizing for what I said.”
“Brit is very competitive,” Kevin agreed, smiling. Justin thought it was the most fake smile in the world. “So I understand her frustration. It doesn’t change the fact that it wasn’t my fault, and I know she knows that.”
* * *
“¡Bajan!” Christina yelled out of the top of her lungs when the woman sitting next to her informed her that they had reached Coyoacán Avenue. It was the second bus they had to taken so far, but she was confident that she and Pink could make better time on buses than in taxis. They had seen a couple of the other teams in taxis, still stuck in the traffic. The bus had stopped a couple of times, but in general, it was going faster.
As soon as the whole crew left the bus, she and Pink ran to the opposite corner, where a nice woman had told her she needed to get a third bus, which would take them straight to the fountain they were looking for. Sure enough, there were four buses coming their way, so she lifted her hand, just like the other five people at the stop, and told her teammate to be ready.
“We’re so going to win this,” she said, as soon as they were sitting in the very uncomfortable seats of the bus. “I just know it.”
“Keep that thought, girlfriend,” Pink agreed, raising her left hand for a high five. “You just keep rocking the Spanish, and we’ll be the first ones on that mat.”
“Se van haciendo para atrás!” The driver yelled, as more people got in the bus. That was probably the only disadvantage of the route they had chosen, as it seemed that everyone in México preferred the small busses to the subway or the cabs. It was cheaper, as they hadn’t even spent five dollars on the whole trip to Coyoacán, but that meant that there was very little space when the drivers decided they could fit 50 people into a space designed to hold only 15 comfortably.
As Pink pressed against Christina, their camera man changed the heavy equipment from one hand to the other when the bus started moving without warning. “I’m guessing he said that he was moving?”
“No, he said more people were getting in,” Christina sighed. “Just hold your breath. It’s only half an hour from here.”
* * *
“We’re lost,” Jared looked around where he and Jensen had gotten out of the taxi. There was a subway station behind them, and many different streets connecting with the highway they had left, but no signs that read Coyoacán and none of the other teams were visible.
“We need a map,” Jensen agreed. “Do we even know where to get one?”
“There’s a camping store on that corner.” Jared pointed out to the store with a big red banner, bags and camping equipment in the window. “Or we can ask around.”
“I’d rather have the map,” Jensen laughed as they waited for the light to turn red.
“Fuck!” Justin swore. “They’re closer than they think!”
“You sure?” JC looked at the screen of the iPhone where Justin had accessed Googlemaps so they could follow all the teams.
“Yeah, they’re in Barranca del Muerto,” Justin pointed out an intersection. “It looks like they can go straight ahead and reach the fountain.”
“But they’re still farther away than Chris, Joey, and the Ways,” JC breathed easily.
“Why are we following Pink and Christina?” Kate Hudson asked, staying very close to her mother inside another short bus.
“Because Christina speaks Spanish,” Goldie explained, smiling. “So she can ask for directions a lot better than us which, in the end, will help us get to second place.”
“I know, I know,” Goldie shrugged in her personal interview. “It might have been technically cheating, but there are no rules that say that we can’t follow other teams.”
“We just want to stay in the race as long as we can,” Kate nodded. “And since we’re both terrible at asking for directions and we definitively don’t speak Spanish, it was a good plan.”
* * *
“I’m sorry; do you know where this is?” Gerard asked the first person that passed next to him. She was a girl with long dark hair and a black shirt. She turned around and then Gerard realized his mistake because her brown eyes opened wide with recognition, as she covered her mouth with her hand to avoid screaming.
“Oh, Oh, Oh… Tu.. Oh…” She said, grabbing her friend’s arm so she would turn around too. Gerard tried to smile, because he knew those gestures. In a minute, she would scream. “¿Eres Gerard Way?”
Everyone around heard, and he and Mikey were soon surrounded by people, some taking pictures with their cellphones, others looking around for paper.
“Great going, genius,” Mikey laughed, raising his hands to call the attention of everyone around. “Does anyone here speak English?”
A dozen people raised their hands so Gerard choose the one closest to him, another girl, this time with black and white hair and a black “The Black Parade” bootleg t-shirt. “Do you know where this is?”
The girl took a look at the photo and smiled. “Sure, it’s not that far in a car.”
“Can you give us a ride?” Mikey asked, smiling.
“I can!” a third girl raised her hand, giggling. “It’s like, five minutes away.”
“I couldn’t believe that we did that,” Gerard said, sitting next to Mikey during their interview. “We even took a moment to try and get everyone their pictures, while Amanda went to get her car.”
“I was sure that we were not getting out of there in time,” Mikey agreed. “But the fans were very cool once we explained what was going on.”
“Of course, it helped that we got all their names and they’ll get tickets for the next concert we do in México.”
“That’s cheating,” Justin crossed his arms, shaking his head. “Using your next concert to get a ride should be forbidden by the rules.”
“You’re just saying that because Chris and Joey couldn’t use that idea,” JC took a chip from the bag and placed a new line on the table that he had been drawing. “Unless they offered tickets for *your* concerts and when was the last time you went to Mexico City?”
“2001, Estadio Azteca,” Justin answered automatically. “With you guys. Ok. Point taken. But still, the Ways are cheating.”
“Cheating their way to first place,” JC sighed. On the screen, the Way brothers were reaching the clue box in front of the Coyote Fountain, as the girl who had given them a ride was cheering them on. Gerard opened the envelope as Phil explained in a voice over that the next stop was a detour.
“Clapping or Rolling,” Phil said, as the camera followed the streets of Coyoacán. “In Clapping, teams must wake up at 7:00 a.m. and find el Tizoncito, a traditional restaurant in the center of Coyoacán. Here, teams must go with the main cook and learn how to make and fry traditional quesadillas, and make twenty for the early risers of the city. Teams with patience and a good eye for detail, will find this easy work. In Rolling, teams must also wake up at 7:00 a.m. and find the bakery el Coyote, in downtown Coyoacán, where they will be handed a traditional sombrero filled with bread. Then, one member has to climb on a bicycle and ride all the way to Los Viveros to sell twenty pieces of sweet bread. Teams with good balance and charisma will have an easy ride.”
“So, Clapping?” Mike asked Gerard, who nodded. “I’m not sure how to balance a sombrero full of bread.”