I guided La Flor over to the sofa and helped her sit. I’ve not seen her in such a fragile state. Tears streaming down her cheeks, leaving a web-like trail of mascara giving her a macabre look. She’s shaking as if she stepped out of a freezer. Her voice, barely audible. This is not the beautiful, tough, and edgy woman I know. My inner Saint Bernard is off to the rescue.
“Let me get this straight, La Flor. You do not want to marry Little Carmen under any circumstance. And, your answer is final. Is that right?” I asked.
She nodded. Then wiped her nose on her arm. The woman is a basket case. Under any circumstance, La Flor would not stoop to this degrading behavior. I offer her a Kleenex and she starts wailing as if she were not named queen of the alt ego alt ego cotillion.
Between sobs, she said, “It, it, it’s my tragic life. My life is over. Tie me to the tracks and let a train run me down. Buy me a one-way ticket to the slums in Juarez. Dump me in the middle of the Mojave and forget about me.”
“You’re depressed,” I said.
“Depressed? Depressed? Is that the best you can do? I thought you were my last hope, a sensitive male who might help me. But, no, you’re, you’re like the rest of your species. You’re only thinking of yourself and …”
And, she started wailing again. I’m concerned a neighbor might call 911 and report a domestic dispute. I hear my inner Saint Bernard barking, howling, scratching at the door to my heart. What can I do but help?
“Okay, I’ll talk to Little Carmen for you.”
“You will?” her voice so soft, I barely heard her.
“Yes,” I said and squeezed her hand.
“And, will you protect me from Big Carmen and his thug, Lil Carlo?” she whimpered.
“I will speak to Big Carmen.”
“Will you ask him if I can still be the image for his pizzeria?”
“Yes, I will.”
“Do you promise, cross your stone heart,” she whimpered.
It wasn’t the right time to argue with her about my stone heart, so I said, “I promise.”
I’d no sooner finished when Carmela burst into the living room, “Bravo, bravo, bravo, beautiful, tough, and edgy actress. You rightly deserve an Oscar for your Oscar performance.”
“Huh?” I said, bewildered.
“Let go of my hand, Ray. I have to shower and redo my makeup. It’s not easy having as much talent as I have. Remember your promise. I know you don’t break promises.”
“Huh?” It’s all I can say. Her old black magic has me in a spell. Her old black magic that she weaves so well. My apologies to Sinatra. La Flor left me befuddled, bemused, and bewitched. Anxious? That’s for kids. I’m in full blown panic attack. And then I hear …
“Ray-mo, eyes back. Use gonna coach me on how to do the pro, er, prop, er, pop the, er, asks to marries me?”
A crazy thought? Will Siri help me?