I’m acting like a child. I am embarrassed. I am hiding in the closet. It’s the only place where I can find peace and quiet. There are no windows, but I have photos of the Grand Canyon, Padre Island, and the Rocky Mountain National Park scotched taped to the back of the door. Next to me is my Keurig Coffee Maker. My cup of coffee, fresh, hot, and all mine, until . . .
“Ray, I know you’re in there,” said La Flor*.
“No, I’m not,” I said in a falsetto voice and realized the mistake I made by saying, ‘No, I’m not.’ Hopefully, she won’t pick up on it.
“I know it’s you. I can smell my coffee,” said La Flor
“How do you know? Your coffee?” I’ve truly lost it. I’m hiding from an alt ego and her boyfriend. I’m using a falsetto voice as a disguise. And, now, I’m debating whether I’m in here or not. Where’s Dr. Phil when you need him. That’s right, according to La Flor, he’s an alt ego.
“Either come out, Ray or LC will break down the door and drag you out. It’s for your own good,” said La Flor.
“My own good is to stay inside here until you two, too, or to go out for chicken wings,” I said.
“Do you have a stuttering problem? Asked La Flor.
“It sounded like you stuttered when you said to, two, or too,” said La Flor.
“You’re not going to let me alone until I come out, am I correct?” a moment of silence. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t want Little Carmen to kick down the door. I said, “What?”
“I nodded my head, Ray. What are you waiting for?” said La Flor.
I can’t answer. There is no logical response to seeing a head nod while behind the door. If I had a white flag, I’d wave it. I opened the door, coffee in hand, and stepped out.
La Flor reached for the cup, took it from me, and sipped, “This is good. I needed a good cup of coffee. Thanks, Ray.”
Will I ever get to drink a cup of coffee? I wonder what the Vegas odds are on that one.
Little Carmen, who occasionally can read my mind and little else, said, “About 75 to 1.”
La Flor looked at him, “Is it football season already?”
“No, beautiful, tough, and edgy sometimes a thought comes into my head.”“I like it better when you’re thoughtless.”
“I like it better when you’re thoughtless.” said La Flor.
“Me two,” said Little Carmen (it’s really not that hard to use too instead of two. Why can’t he get it?).
“We need too talk, Ray,” said La Flor (Okay, La Flor is using too instead of to – did they both miss it in alt ego grade school?).
“You’re always saying we need to talk,” I replied.
“No, I’m not. Sometimes I’m saying where are we going tonight. Sometimes I’m saying LC I need a glass of wine.”
Little Carmen interrupted La Flor before she could give another example, “I’m on it. White vino, which rhymes with dino, beautiful, tough, and edgy woman who needs to speak to Ray about whatever.”
“Yes, LC, not in a Styrofoam cup this time,” said La Flor.
“That’s the way Big Carmen serves it,” said LC.
I want to go back into the closet. No, I want to climb on the roof and signal passing planes to send help.
“I don’t care if he serves it in a Starbucks venti cup, I want it in a fancy wine glass.”
“Use gonna get more if I goes and gets a Starbucks venti cup,” said Little Carmen. The expression on his face looked like he was pleased with himself.
If she sends Little Carmen to Starbucks as she did yesterday, I wondered if the paramedics will bring him back.
La Flor turned to me and said, “Ray, it’s time for an intervention.”
I said, “Please don’t watch Dr. Phil or talk to the alt ego who plays Dr. Phil.”
Then Little Carmen joined the conversation, “I can helps you, beautiful, tough, and edgy wonderful woman. I am very goods at interventions. I intervented a square pizza cutter.”
“You intervented a square pizza cutter? How does it work?” I asked.
“Use uses it for square pizza. The round pizza cutter is for the round pizza. Nobody thoughts of that before me. That’s not alls I intervented, Ray-mo,” said Little Carmen.
“Why? Ray. Why?” said La Flor.
“I’m asking myself the same question,” I said.
Little Carmen is warming up for what, I don’t have a clue. Certainly, Seinfeld isn’t coming on next. He said, “I intervented a menu use can reads upside down.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Use asks the customer if they wants the regular menu or the upside down menu. If they asks for the upside down menu, I gives them the regular menu and tells them it’s upside down.”
“Little Carmen, good idea about the Starbucks venti cups. Can you get two of them?” I asked.
“I’ll have to buy coffee first, then dump it out. Is that okay?”
As soon as he left, I turned to La Flor, “Why don’t you hold an auction for him with the alt ego girls?”
She glared at me, “And let go two-hundred five pounds of male hunkiness go? Never.”
“I don’t think you love him,” I said.
“I’m not talking love. I’m talking accessory,” La Flor responded.
“Accessory?” I asked.
“He goes perfect with whatever I’m wearing,” said La Flor smiling. She’s staring out the window watching Little Carmen jog to Starbucks.
“Ray, Ray, I just had a horrible thought,” she shrieked.
“Take it easy. I’m here for you,” I said. I immediately regretted using that line and hoped she wasn’t listening to me.
“I know you’re here. It’s LC. You sent him alone, without a guardian to Starbucks. He’s probably fighting the women off. He’ll come back disfigured. He’s doing this all for me.”
“You’re the lucky one.”
“I won’t be if they maim him. I can see it now, he’ll be outside Carmen’s Pizzeria selling slices with his left hand because they cut off his right hand for a souvenir.”
“You’re not making sense, La Flor.”
“I always make sense. Go save him.”
“Can I call the paras?”