I’m not saying Ann Romney is racist. I’m just saying she doesn’t seem to think Latinos are intelligent citizens who deserve equal protection under the law simply because of their skin color and heritage. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Author’s Note: I realize some people prefer the terms “Hispanic” or “Chicano.” I personally refer to myself as “Mexican-American” since I’m a first-generation immigrant. I know we all have our preference, but for the purpose of this article, I’m sticking with Ann Romney’s terminology.
Ann Romney is not running for office, but her recent remarks about the Latino community show the Right’s mentality on minority votes and, on a personal level, showed her contempt for people like me.
I like to think my arguments are better than just flinging insults or calling names, but I would like to vent a little steam before starting by saying that Ann Romney sounds like any abusive husband on a Lifetime movie telling his battered wife that it’s her fault she’s on the ground doubled over.
Let me explain. Ann Romney said:
“I spoke to women last night and I wanted women to understand how important this election is for their children. But as I was sitting backstage listening, I thought, it’s also very important that the Latino community recognize how important this election is for them.”
I like how she talks about women and mothers and that need to protect the family but seems to think Latinos don’t have those concerns or are somehow different. It sounds like nitpicking her grammar, but it actually makes sense a little later.
“And [Latinos] are mistaken if they think they are going to be better off with Barack Obama as their president. There really is only one way for prosperity, for small business, and that is, this is the simplest way I can say this: If Mitt Romney wins, America wins.”
Mrs. Romney’s assertion that helping small businesses is the best way to help the country falls apart for two reasons. Firstly, she assumes that corporate profits equal social prosperity. They don’t. The top earners in this country have had incredible success in the last several years, but the middle class hasn’t seen significant improvement in THIRTY YEARS. Small businesses are another matter. Yes, they could be doing better, but the self-serving nature of the Romney/Ryan plan is another case. It will hurt not just Latinos, but everyone.
It’s when Mrs. Romney starts talking about why Latinos are specifically deaf to the GOP that I start to put the pieces together.
“You’d better really look at your future and figure out who’s going to be the guy that’s going to make it better for you and your children, and there is only one answer… It really is a message that would resonate well if [Latinos] could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community. And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”
If I may, I would like to address Ann Romney directly.
This will very likely be the last Divine by Zero until August. We’re moving and still need to pack a lot of stuff. Plus, looks like I’ve got another class to teach next week, so time is going to be tight.I will however be posting the Weekly Muse story on Sunday and the new poll will go up on Monday. This will overlap for the rest of the feature’s run.
Well, let’s get started, shall we?
Want to know how to build your own Wall-E? Here you go.
The images of newly web gay couples in New York are touching and a testament to the power of love. Way to go, folks!
Michelle Bachmann does not support gays. At all. Her district has actually implemented measures to even make it impossible to help the victims of gay bullying. The result? Her home state has to deal with a rash of teen suicides because she and her ilk are too conservative to reach out and help others.
Sarah Palin got a documentary called The Undefeated? Didn’t she lose the vice-presidency and quit her gubernatorial job mid-way through?
I had an interesting conversation regarding meat on Twitter. I’ll probably write more about it later, but suffice to say I’m a proud meat-eater and have no qualms about killing an animal for my food. With that in mind, there’s a reason a lot of vegetarians and vegans get a bad rep. It’s self-involved jerks like this that make the rest of you look bad.
Seeing as how I had to remind my students that I, not the loudest kid in class, is the one that calls the shots, I’m a slightly sour mood. Still, I can’t deny you, dear reader, the soul-healing benefits of awesome links.
Oh, and two of my kids used Credence Clearwater Revival for their assignment. And one used Mozart. And NO ONE used Beiber. I think that’s a small victory.
The University of Arizona labeled one of its students as a non-resident. Why? her parents are from Mexico. She’s a citizen. But she’ll have to pay a LOT more to go to school. Because her parents are from Mexico. And she’s a citizen. But her parents are from Mexico. I don’t know how many more times I can write it and it still makes no fraking sense.
And speaking of school, after getting that very expensive law degree, how would you like to work at the Waffle House? No joke.
The last week was filled with tears, laughs, and family. My grandfather was fortunate enough to see his children, his grandchildren, and his great-granddaughter before finally closing his eyes for the last time.
But I won’t remember him as the man lying in bed for the last ten months. This past week, as bittersweet as it was to finally see him at peace, with no pain, will not be the memory I carry with me.
On Sunday, before the ambulance arrived to take him, I had a few moments and I gathered enough strength to say, “Papi, gracias por todo. Te quiero mucho.”
Papi, thank you for everything. I love you very much.
He looked up, and it was one of the few times I’ve ever seen him even tear up. He looked at me and said, “Todo eso fue de amor… Haz lo mismo en tu vida, y nos veremos despues.”
All of it was out of love… Do the same in your life, and we’ll meet again afterwards.
My grandfather was one of the toughest men I’ve ever known. I don’t mean that in hyperbole. He helped build the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, a bridge we always called “Papi’s Bridge” when we saw it. We still call it that if we see it in a movie.
He helped raise four children who went on to become teachers, businessmen, and who in turn have grandchildren who have gone on to travel the world, learn a total of five languages, work in film, government, education, public service, and business. Several years ago, though, Papi came home and told us he’d gotten his GED. We didn’t even know he’d been preparing for it. He was retired. He told us, matter-of-factly, that he did it to show all of us that nothing stood between us and achieving our dreams. If he could do it, we could do it
Papi was a cook. He could make carne asada so good we asked for it on special occasions. He knew a recipe for a chocolate cake that even people who didn’t like chocolate liked. If Aristotle is right and everything is a shadow of a perfect form, one perfect version of that thing, then my grandfather’s carne asada and his chocolate cake are the form of every other piece of meat and dessert.
My grandfather didn’t plan things so much as he just did them. I don’t mean he was impulse. Far from it, but when he set his mind to it, he could do anything. The first time he bowled, my cousins and I invited him to join us. We kids were having a blast when Papi went up and knocked over every pin. When he did it a second time, we accused him of having secretly played for years. Confused, he just said, “El chiste es que lanso la pelota y tumbo los pinos, verdad? Eso es lo que estoy haciendo.”
The point is to throw the ball and knock over the pins, right? That’s what I’m doing.
To him, there was no such thing as failure. “Pedro” is the Spanish form of “Peter,” which is usually translated as “rock.” My grandfather was one of the toughest, strongest men I’ve ever known. The doctor told him he had five months to live. That was eleven months ago. This week, the doctor said he had maybe three days. He stuck around for six, I’m sure just to show the doctor he was an idiot.
Despite his skill and roughness, he was first a family man.
When my sister and I were younger, we would get up early to watch cartoons. My grandfather always used to sit in a big recliner. It was his chair, his throne, and my sister and I got to sit on the armrests with him on Saturday mornings as we all watched Bugs Bunny cartoons. This man who worked with steel and could intimidate anyone if need be… watched cartoons with us on Saturday mornings.
Though he rarely said he loved anyone, everything he did, even his cold demeanor, was to teach us something. It was to teach us respect, to teach us how to stand up for ourselves, to show us that life goes on.
In the end, I heard him say, “Los quiero mucho.”
I love you all so much…
But we always knew. Being humble is not thinking less of yourself. Being humble means thinking of yourself less, and that’s what my grandfather did. Like he said, everything he did was for his family, out of love, and God help anyone who stood in this man’s way.
Nietzsche once said that anything done out of love is beyond good and evil. My grandfather was not particularly religious, though he was a man of strong faith in people and what they could do. He lived his life to give others the chance to achieve something greater than he ever could. His legacy lives in his family and the morals and drive he instilled in us. He was more than a superman. He was and will remain the standard by which we judge our own actions.
He taught me the meaning of love. He wished my fiancé and me a happy life together. Then, last night, before he took one final morphine nap, he asked my grandmother, “Ya ví a todos?”
Did I see everyone already?
My grandmother told him he had, and he smiled, just barely, and said, “Ya me voy a componer.”
Six hours later, with my grandmother at his side, he quietly passed. He held on, despite almost no lung capacity and a weak heart, just to make sure his family could see him one more time as they traveled over half the continent to get here.
He did it out of love.
Pedro Ramirez was a father, grandfather, friend, and the patriarch for my family. He’s lost a son, become an American, and argued until the last day. To me, he will always be Papi, a strong, gruff man who, despite his upbringing and tough life, used to laugh at Bugs Bunny with me.
Nothing beats strapping on that AK-47, getting in the Kevlar-lined car, and driving down the street while gunning down a few dozen people for points, right?
Of course, it changes when it’s actual people gunning down innocent bystanders in one of the most violent cities in the world. And it becomes very personal for me when said city is in my home country and is, in many ways, the best evidence in the world against drug prohibition.
Call of Juarez: The Cartel is already drawing sharp criticism in Mexico and here in the US. Very few details have been released regarding the game. All we know is that the city of Juarez will play a central role and cartels will be involved, but that alone is so offensive that Mexican legislators are looking to ban the game.
Why the outburst, you ask? After all, the Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and other franchises have used glorified violence before right? Sex and violence sells, and this will be just another entry into a market filled with genocidal aliens, mobsters, and terrorists.
Well, it’s one of the most violent cities in the world if you don’t count official war zones. Last month, the city averaged eight homicides a day. In 2010, the city had more than 3,000 homicides, more than double what it had two years before. A series of female disappearances and sexual murders totaling between 400 and 5,000 have rocked the city for years. The Juarez Cartel, also known as the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization, is brutal to the point that it makes the deaths in Saw look like a Disney Channel movie of the week.
Short version? Ciudad Juarez and the cartel wars are a bloody, constant nightmare for millions of people.
I know people who have been kidnapped, not necessarily by the Juarez Cartel, but kidnapped nonetheless. I’ve walked the streets of Mexico as soldiers patrol in jeeps armed with fifty-cal machine guns. I’ve seen my beautiful Mexico reduced to a police state just to maintain some semblance of stability…
Don’t get me wrong. No one knows as of this writing whether or not the players will play as cops, cartel members, or just unaligned badasses on the warpath. The very idea that someone thinks the violence in Ciudad Juarez is appropriate for a video game frankly sickens me.
But I’m all for Ubisoft releasing this game.
Will it influence people to join gangs? No more than Grand Theft Auto increased the stealing of cars or Mortal Kombat increased fights to the death. Medal of Honor didn’t make people join the military in waves. The only people who would be swayed to join the drug war on the side of the cartels because of this game are the people who are already sure they want to do it and are looking for a flimsy excuse.
I’ll tell people who play the game just what it’s based on. I’ll make sure they know that real people die those situations in the game. I’ll make sure people understand the drug trade is responsible for hundreds of thousands of ruined lives.
But I won’t call to ban it.
Let’s face it. What is one video game going to do that decades of the Drug War and heavily armed paramilitary cartels who decapitate their victims can’t do?
I’m not sure how I feel about Nickelodeon making new episodes of shows like Doug, Rugrats, and other classics. Maybe they’ll be good, but I doubt it. They’ll have to fit them to today’s audience. and, let’s face it, my generation has different tastes. Speaking of which, when are they going to release Pete and Pete on DVD?
It’s preview time! One of the greatest things to experience is reading old books. I don’t mean words that were written a hundred or two hundred years ago. I’m talking about actually holding old paper, wrinkled, bark-like leather, and smelling the decay of paper itself. Ink turns different colors with age.
Maybe I’m just a bibliophile, but it’s a much richer experience. I’ve been lucky enough to work in archives and look through records and letters stretching back centuries. I even got to restore an old Civil War letter by digitally scanning it and bringing out the ink.
And yet… it’s easy to think of the past as something that’s gone. We may realize people existed, but to hold a book so old, or better yet, something hand-written decades ago, is to touch someone else’s thoughts…
This is a true story. In a way. It’s real in that it exists. I’ll let you decide if it really happened.
I found the old journal while cleaning out my grandmother’s things. It was an old elementary school notebook with a blue grid for practicing letters, but when I opened the yellowed pages expecting to find a child’s scribblings, I instead found tiny handwriting that had turned almond-brown with years. Each word looked like a single line with the occasional spike indicating a letter, and it took me an afternoon staring at them to finally figure out what peaks were vowels and what peaks were consonants. I forgot about dinner and read as much as I could, but it hurt my eyes. The notebook was a journal, something my grandmother kept secret. In just a few entries, I knew the names of her friends, the little restaurants by the river she liked to go to, and her excitement with her new husband. I went to sleep just after I got to an entry talking about a man my grandmother met.
I woke up around three in the morning to get a drink of water. I felt my way to the door. As I walked into the hallway, I saw the shape of a man at the end near the bathroom. He was looking at me and the hallway smelled like fresh-cut plants, dirt, and sweat. Intense, wide eyes looked at me from a tanned, wrinkled face marked by the sun. Even though his mouth moved, I couldn’t hear anything. I wanted to run, but a combination of fear and curiosity kept me in place. As soon as I moved towards him, he disappeared.
My house smelled like cut grass and dirt until the sun came back up. I didn’t go back to sleep.
The next morning, I asked around to see if anyone at work had any idea what to do. My friends all thought I was insane, of course. They went back to scanning books into the library system. I helped people at the reference desk, but I kept smelling cut grass and wet dirt every few hours. At any moment, I expected to turn the corner and find the man staring at me like some horror movie cheap shot. I wasn’t even sure what he looked like, but my nerves were so frayed that I skipped lunch and just walked around the block three times.
I didn’t open the notebook again for two days, but every time I wanted to, the smell came back.
Every day, walking the stacks in the library, all I could smell was the paper, the scent of the new arrivals contrasting against the dull aroma of old paper from the older volumes. I remembered the journal and instantly thought I saw the ghost in front of me. It was just another patron. That happened at least three times before lunch.
I wasn’t going to start checking books out on what to do, either. All my friends would see them and think I was crazy. I spent my next few lunch hours looking through old newspapers. Nothing in the front page, of course, but I thought somewhere in Via Rosa there had to be a human interest story. There were plenty of psychics and mystics in the yellow pages, but they were there for profit. I was looking for someone who didn’t advertise. It took a week, but I found a story about a story about a young woman that suffered some sort of gang attack. The neighbors all said she was a witch working with a demon. She sounded like a brat, and there wasn’t much beyond a picture of the home where it looked like someone had taken a pound of dynamite to the front door, but I recognized the place.
Every city has it. It’s the house or the neighborhood where the witch lives. In this case, it was an old Spanish mansion downtown near Herradura Street. The place was vibrant once. The iron gate squeaked and shed bits of rust as I opened it and walked the overgrown path to the front door. I was about to knock when the door swung open and I was face-to-face with a young Hispanic woman, no older than twenty-five. She was thin and dressed like she was in high-school.
I swallowed hard and said, “You were waiting for me?”
She smiled and said, “Actually, I was going to check the mail. Can I help you?”
I showed her the newspaper clipping and she frowned. “I hate that picture,” she said. “They made the house look like was condemned. Look, I don’t do love potions or voodoo dolls or anything like that, so if you have a problem with your vieja, go to counseling.”
“It’s a ghost.”
Her eyes lit up and she opened the door wide for me. I walked in, clutching my briefcase, and was instantly hit by the smell of a dozen spices. The walls were painted a dull orange that screamed faux-Spanish, but almost every wall was covered in mismatched shelves stuffed with books, notebooks, and jars, spice racks, and plants in various stages of bloom. I wondered if any of them were illegal. She motioned for me to turn into the living room. None of the couches matched either, and the coffee table had more stacks of old, fifty-pound books sitting on top. She sat cross-legged in the loveseat and looked to me while she took out a notebook and pen.
“So what’s the problem?”
I explained the ghost, the smell, and the journal. She asked for the notebook and I carefully pulled it from my briefcase.
She took it in both hands and inhaled deeply.
Closing her eyes, she said, “He’s here…”
I looked around, but she giggled and said, “Well, mostly here. It looks like we have some work to do.”
“What kind of work?”
Once again, she giggled and said, “You don’t bring up the past without the past coming back for you. You need to set things right.”
“But I didn’t do anything!”
“Yes you did… You peeked.”
To be continued…
Want to read more? Just visit the main Charcoal Streetspage and take a look at the complete stories, samples, and other fun features, and stay tuned in 2011 for the release of the first volume of collected stories!
Just keep believing the narrative... just keep believing the narrative... just keep believing the narrative...
January 5, 2011
Are you gay? Bisexual? Thinking of changing teams after a drunken New Year’s night? Guess what? Republicans think you’re a bigger threat to this country than nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists.
Last month, our government had to work to pass the START Treaty, a nice little piece of legislation from the Reagan era. You know President Reagan, right? He’s the patron saint of the GOP. They invoke him like a level one wizard uses magic missile. The treaty states that both Russia and America will lower their nuclear stockpiles and we will get to go to Russia and make sure their nuclear programs are working properly. This way, Jihad Bob doesn’t get his hands on a nuke and before we know it, Baltimore’s a dust cloud.
And guess what? Republicans would rather have a major American city turned into a sea of glow-in-the-dark glass than have dudes who want to marry dudes serve our country.
They held up ratification of the START Treaty, a treaty that would prevent nuclear war, because they didn’t want to pass the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. That’s right. They held one branch of government hostage and held a nuclear gun to the world’s head because the thought of gays in the military repulsed them.
Oh, they paraded out the usual excuses. John “War Hero” McCain went off on people who claimed that discrimination hurt the military. Over at Fox, they’ve done a real bang-up job of likening the repeal of DADT to some sort of Apocalyptic herald. And yes, I capitalized “Apocalyptic” because I think they really think this means we’re going to have oceans of blood soon.
Don’t believe me?
So there you go. I already hold nothing but contempt for the Republican Party. They are a bunch of knuckle-dragging backbirths. No sympathy from me. They were willing to put the nuclear safety of this country, perhaps the world, on the line just so gays could not openly serve in the military. They also did this to try and keep the Democrats from scoring political points like this was some giant game of Battleship.
I have no love for the Dems, but I have utter hate for Republicans.
They put out a ton of heavily questionable reasons to ban gays from the military, but since they’ve all been exposed to be phony posturing, we’re left with one conclusion.
Republicans hate gays more than death itself. They would rather we get a few kilotons shoved up our butt than have gays serve our country and risk their lives. They would rather risk decades of deformity and nuclear fallout than risk openly gay men and women bolster our flagging recruitment numbers. They would rather that the population and infrastructure of an American city be destroyed in a ball of plutonium-fueled fire than have gays defend the Constitution Republicans themselves hold so dear.
The GOP has done some atrocious things in the past for the sake of political points, all hoping to just not let the Democrats do anything. This though, and the obligatory backlash to repeal the repeal, show the true face of the Grand Old Party.
Homophobes and bigots. If you’re a Republican, you have no business talking about compassion, common sense, and inclusion. And if you’re gay, bisexual, or transgendered, remember this. The Republicans believe you are more dangerous than nuclear weapons.
And now, to clean the taste of Republican exposure out of your brain, here are the links!
Would you like your next sexual innuendo to be REALLY cool? Here’s a chart! Likewise, if you want to last longer with your significant other and you have a penchant for the scientific and philosophical, here’s a guide.
It looks like the cartels in Mexico are calling a month-long truce. I’m pretty sure this is a trap of some sort, but let’s see how it plays out.
Look, I’ve made no secret of my hatred for bad writing that gets put up like it’s some new standard to achieve… and I’ve worked hard at what I do… which makes it that much more infuriating when Snooki of all people gets a book deal just because she was on a show where she and a bunch of other D-bags made a whole state look bad. And it looks like she’s giving the great American writers a run for their money. And it saddens me that the sarcasm in the last sentence doesn’t translate well through text.
And speaking of the genetic landfill that is Jersey Shore, the Situation also has a book out. This has to be the greatest review ever.
It’s time for another sneak peak at Charcoal Streets. In case you haven’t looked over the old stories or wanted to get to them later, all except for Beautiful Lies (Parts 1 and 2) and She Wept Flowers are now only in sample form. That means the whole stories won’t be available again until the anthology is published in a few months, and almost every story published from now until then will only feature a sample.
This little number is about one of the more famous Hispanic legends I heard growing up. Everyone’s heard it. It’s like the girl that got picked up for a dance, then the driver found out she was dead. Everyone’s heard a version of it or maybe knows someone who saw… her.
Well, it’s good to be back, and it’s going to be a very eventful month. Stay tuned for a new article on Wednesday where we discuss just why you don’t mess with fanboys, why Captain Kirk needed to die, and why Hollywood is raping us without us even feeling its tiny, tiny weenie.
“I always heard she was a killer,” Luz said. The lights and pop-country music blaring from the speakers rattled the beer just enough to create ripples. The clove cigarette between her fingers dropped its ash. Carmen followed the little bundle of burnt cloves and tobacco as it hit the table and Luz said, “Yeah, a killer. See, this woman a long time ago had this guy after her. He owned a ranch or something. He was loaded. She was real pretty, but her husband died or something. Anyway, she had these three kids and no job. Or she worked a job and she couldn’t make a lot of money. Fuck, I don’t know.”
Across the table, Carmen took slow sips of her beer while watching everyone coming and exiting the bar. She said, “You suck at telling stories, you know that?”
Luz flipped her off and said, “One day, some rancher comes along and spots her and says she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. He makes her think she’s fuckin’ Helen of Troy or something. He wants to marry her, but he doesn’t want any kids, and this chick’s got a couple already. Pinche bruto is loaded and can’t afford a fuckin’ nanny or something. Anyway, she sees she could have this guy and everything she ever wanted, so she goes and kills the kids. She drowns them in the river. Or she drowns one and burns the other. I can’t remember. Well, the guy finds out and leaves her because, well, she killed her fuckin’ kids. She goes crazy and drowns herself. When she gets to heaven, they ask where she left her kids. She has to find them or they won’t let her in.”
Carmen and Luz turned to see the woman standing by the table. She had one green and one purple eye. Luz could barely see her true shape, but Carmen picked out the demon for what she was: a humanoid mass of constantly shifting skin tones, hair color and length, and clothes. Carmen didn’t know what Luz saw, but it had to be something appealing and trustworthy.
“Hey, Lilith,” said Carmen. “What’s a cunt like you doing in a dump like this?”
“Fuck you, Carmen,” Lilith said. “I heard they had a special on beer tonight and I overheard la bruja talking about la Llorona. And I hate it when people get the good stories wrong.”
Luz crushed the butt of her clove as she said, “That’s how it happened.”
“And how do you know that?”
“I just do. Everyone knows the story.”
By the time Lilith sat down, her curly, red hair had straightened into jet-black locks and her blouse was a studded leather jacket. She said, “That’s not how it happened. Do you really want to know what happened to la Llorona? She wasn’t some psycho-killer. She committed the greatest sin a mother could commit and she did it out of love.”
Carmen grinned and said, “Entertain us.”
Placing a glass of water on the table, Lilith said, “A long time ago, she was just some woman. Her husband left her and she had to take care of her children by herself, but she couldn’t make enough money to keep everyone fed. She’d starve herself to feed her two escuincles, but eventually, that wasn’t enough, so, to keep them from slowly starving, she did the only merciful thing any mother could do. She took her kids out to the riverbank and drowned them. Then, overcome with grief, she drowned herself. Now, she wanders the streets, searching, hurting people, because she can’t find her children and she can’t accept that she killed them. She’s cursed to forever haunt the world, never knowing why she does it.”
Luz and Carmen looked at each other, and then Carmen waived a waiter to take another drink order.
“That’s stupid,” she said. “Why not give the kids to an orphanage or leave them in front of a church or something?”
Lilith grabbed her glass of water and tapped the rim, turning the contents into deep red wine, and said, “I didn’t make it up. That’s the way it’s been told for years. If you don’t like it, just say so.”
“I don’t like it.”
Smiling and momentarily showing fangs, Lilith sipped her wine. She stopped at the same time Carmen noted the smell of flowers in the bar. They both turned. Luz followed their gazes to the young woman, no older than twenty, walking through the crowd. She wore a long blue and white skirt and a blue hoodie. Carmen and Lilith could smell the thick aura of marigolds, roses, and other flowers emanating from the girl. She walked up to their table and said, “Can I take a seat?”
Lilith moved her chair away from the new arrival. Luz said, “And you are…”
The Girl in Blue started to say something, but Carmen said, “An old friend. I’m sure you’ve met her before.”
Luz said, “No, I don’t think so.”
“It’s okay,” said the Girl in Blue. “People usually forget me. So, what were you ladies talking about?”
“La Llorona,” Carmen said. “Luz and Lilith have two different versions. And they both think they’re right.”
The Girl in Blue giggled as the waitress arrived to pick up the empty bottles. She looked to the new arrival and said, “And what can I get you?”
“Corona, please. Oh, and a new round for everyone on my tab.”
The waitress left and Carmen said, “Why so generous?”
The Girl in Blue said, “I always like taking care of my friends.”
“Even me?” asked Lilith.
“Even you, chingada.”
“Cool,” Lilith said, then quickly added, “So what do you know of la Llorona? You’ve been around a while.”
The Girl in Blue smiled as the drinks arrived. She took a sip from her Corona and said, “She was real. But it’s nothing like what you know.”
Luz giggled and said, “It already sounds like a bad movie trailer.”
Carmen playfully punched her in the shoulder said, “Keep going.”
The Girl in Blue said, “A long time ago, she had a husband. He wanted children, and she wanted to give them to him. They tried for a long time, but she never conceived. She started to think that perhaps God had forsaken her. What kind of woman didn’t bear a child? What kind of woman could not give her husband a son? Then, one day, she was pregnant. It wasn’t by her husband, though. The father was… insistent to say the least, but she never told her husband. She carried the child and he was born. They never had a lot of money-”
“Boring,” muttered Lilith.
The Girl in Blue just smiled and said, “They were happy, though. Her son grew up, but he was killed… and his real father made it all possible. He needed a sacrifice. She watched him die, and in her grief, she wandered, crying out for her son. She never forgave his real father for letting it happen. She never forgave everyone for being used, so she guards little children, protecting them from those who would hurt them, because she wants to be the mother she never was.”
Luz finished her beer. Carmen looked around while Lilith smirked. The demon said, “So she cries and wanders the streets looking for her son?”
“Yes and no,” said the Girl in Blue. “She cries for him and for her other children.”
“Why does she cry for them?”
The Girl in Blue slid her beer away and said, “I have to get going. I have an appointment to keep. I just needed a drink.”
She left a few bills on the table and stood. Lilith said, “Same old shit?”
The Girl in Blue said, “Going to see a friend I haven’t seen in a while. So yes, same old shit.”
She left Sonny’s and walked into the cool night. She pulled her hood up as a large Caddie pulled up with bone-thumping bass. The three men inside put out their cigarettes and walked out towards Sonny’s. One checked her out. The other walked right inside. The third took his jacket off and revealed the large Virgen tattoo on his chest.
The Girl in Blue wept black petals. Flowers withered behind her as she walked into the Via Rosa night and let the hood cover her tears and muffled cries.
Want to read more? Just visit the main Charcoal Streetspage and take a look at the complete stories, samples, and other fun features, and stay tuned in 2011 for the release of the first volume of collected stories!
It’s been one of those days. Months. Three months. Short version: this job is killing me for all the wrong reasons. I’ll elaborate more later, but suffice to say that my letter of resignation is in the mail and I’ll be going back to teaching and tutoring, something which, amazingly, is less stressful that working with deer.
“Diego’s Day,” the next chapter in Charcoal Streets got caught in the maelstrom and won’t be ready for a few days. It’s a combination of work that caught up with me and the fact that it turned out to be a little more personal than I thought.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy an assault of links from the world wide intertubes!
First off, a little something from hom. I was unaware we could not eat vegetarians, not just “vegetarian.”
Even if marijuana isn’t “legalized” in California, it’s apparently still ridiculously easy to get pot through the restricted means. Check out this informative video from CNN!
Almost everyone has seen the map of the internet, but at xkcd, they have a new, updated map. Looks like Facebook has grown quite a book, and if Skype isn’t careful, it may get invaded by Farmville.
Some parents are apparently mad at a photoshoot featuring some of the cast of Glee. They say it promotes pedophilia to have these girls dressed up in school outfits and then stripping. It makes sense… except that the actresses are in their 20′s and I’m sure no one outside of a school has ever worn a plaid skirt and pig tails. Right? Huh? Right? Also, in a final slap to these idiots, you can see the pics if you follow the link.
Mexico is being torn apart by the wars between the cartels, so the only obvious choice for a new police chief is… a 20-year-old woman who ran unopposed for the position. Okay, I have to give this young lady points for guts… but I have no clue what she intends to do. And I hope she stays safe.
Dark Archivist wrote a wonderful post on the tolerance of intolerance. She makes some good points, and she’s always a fun read. Check her out.
Dan Savage wrote a powerful response to a Christian who said he was offended by remarks that intolerance from Christians contributed to the recent gay youth suicides. I can sum it up thus: “Fuck your feelings.” It’s one of the most moving responses to the “It’s what my religion teaches” argument.
Rumors of a remake to the cult classic The Crow starring Brandon Lee have been running around since at least last year. I’m on the fence about this. On the one hand, I love the movie, but think something closer to the comic would have been so much better. On the other hand, the original will always have a special place in my heart. Then again… now the rumor is that Mark Wahlberg may be staring in it. And right there you lost me.
And finally, are you still voting Republican? Let’s look at the Republican goals for this year, shall we?