's second nonfiction
book, Lines and Shadows
is the story of a small group of San Diego
police officers in the late 1970's -- B.A.R.F.
, the Border Alien Robbery Force. The "Barfers" (as they came to call themselves) were the vision of Dick Snider
, a Lieutenant
and ex-Border Patrol
man who realizes that the border is an invisible line between two economies, and the pollos
crossing that line deserve to be protected from the bandits
who prey on them when they first enter the land of silk and money
Under the leadership of the amazingly charismatic and ballsy Manny Lopez, the Barfers take a rapid turn away from being mere cops, and become, in Wambaugh's words, "The last of the hardball, cactus-stuck, worm-chewing, chili-sucking, skiull-crunching, bandit-busting, ball-clanging Gunslingers in the West." Humans were never meant to embody legends, and this is two stories. One takes place on the border, on the invisible line between two economies. The other takes place on that other invisible line between sanity and madness, as the Barfers begin to believe in their own bullshit, in the Legend, in Manny's seeming invulnerability. Marriages crumble, friends become enemies, and eventually the B.A.R.F. is disbanded. The Barfers go their own ways, scarred and bloody.
The border remains to this day.