Save Me, I’m Suffocating

La Flor, AKA, the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, and Little Carmen walked into Starbucks ahead of me. Little Carmen held the door for La Flor, then stepped inside and let the door close before I could squeeze in.

It was two in the afternoon. The drinks of choice in San Antonio on a hot July afternoon rank in the following order: Margarita – not offered by Starbucks. Beer or cerveza – not offered by Starbucks. Real Texas iced tea in a real Texas sized iced-tea glass not one of the plastic Starbucks things with high priced names – not offered by Starbucks. Then there is the fifty-two-ounce drink offered at all the gas stations for ninety-nine cents. Somewhere between uppity and I’ll donate my first born to Starbucks is their sugary, frosty, coffee concoction that costs the same as a good meal at a decent restaurant. A large line waits, everyone has their iPhone out, ready to collect stars.

La Flor turned to me and said, “Ray, give your iPhone to LC so he can order our drinks.”

“I don’t want anything. I’m only the driver,” I said.

“Don’t be so cheap. Live a little,” she said.

“Yah, Ray-mo, lives a little, like the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI says,” said Little Carmen sticking his paw out to take my iPhone.

La Flor said, “Pay attention, LC. Ray and I will grab a table and see if we spot LaRue. Ray, tell LC what you want.”

My first thought was, I want to get out of here. I was afraid Little Carmen would take me literally. So, I said, “A glass of ice with a touch of water.”

“He’s only kidding LC, get him the largest iced coffee they have and tell them to add a shot of espresso to it. I’ll have a Frappuccino.”

“Can I gets something two (blogger’s note: That’s the way Little Carmen said it, ‘two’ not ‘too,’ the way it’s supposed to be said), beautiful, tough, and edgy PI?”

“Of course, get whatever you want, Ray is paying,” said La Flor.

Why does it hurt whenever she says I’m paying?

Little Carmen handed my phone back to me and said, “How do I pay with the phone? Is it a trade or something?”

I reached for my phone and gave Little Carmen a quick tutorial.

“What’ll they think of next. I got to tell Big Carmen to get a Pap smear.”

“It’s an app,” I said.

Isn’t that what I said?” asked Little Carmen. Then he said, “You got anything on here I’m not supposed to see because I’m gonna look at everything.”

“It’s all PG-13,” I said.

I confused Little Carmen. La Flor rushed to his rescue, “LC has such an inquisitive mind, Ray. Run along LC, we’ll be waiting.”

Little Carmen blew a kiss to La Flor that almost knocked me over with the garlic flavored spray that came in its wake.

As soon as Little Carmen was in line, La Flor grabbed my arm, almost hysterically she said, “Ray, save me. I’m dying. He’s suffocating me. I want to dump him.”

“Dump Little Carmen? After the way the both of you were carrying on in the backseat?”

“I was holding my breath. He has the worst breath I’ve smelled since … I won’t go into that.”

“Is that the only reason?”

“No, it happens to be number seven on my list of reasons to dump him.”

“You’ve made a list?” I said a bit incredulously.

“Yes, and it’s growing. Number one, is this ridiculous, tacky white windbreaker jacket. La Flor in a tacky windbreaker? I’ll make all the tabloids. They won’t let go if they find out. If my public sees me with this thing on, I lose all cred.”

“And, number two?” I asked.

“His motorcycle. A beautiful, tough, and edgy PI does not ride on a motorcycle with her arms around a guy who’s wearing a plaid kerchief on his head to hold his hair in place.”

“Did you wear a helmet?”

“And ruin my doo?”

“Good point. What’s number three?”

“I need my freedom. I’m a free spirit. I can’t be tied down. I don’t want Sunday dinner at the pizzeria. I don’t want to smell sauce and garlic and pizza all the time. Oh God, Ray do something. Save me, I’m too young, too vibrant, too beautiful, too tough, too edgy to be tied down.”

“He’s waving at you,” I said.

“Don’t look at him, Ray. You’ll only encourage him. You’re the writer. He’s only an alt ego. Kill him off. Make him a greeter at Walmart. Do something.”

“You’re not an alt ego?” I asked.

“No,” La Flor said defensively. I move between worlds. I am the best of both. I think my mother was a real person and my father was an alt ego. Maybe it was the other way around.”

“He’s carrying the drinks over. Oh, Ray. He got me the largest, most caloric drink on Earth. How will I fit into my jeans? Do you know how long I’ll have to go on the treadmill tomorrow? Hours.”

Little Carmen sauntered over, his hips jostling tables on his path to us. “Here’s your drink, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. I made them put extra whooped cream on it with extra caramel sauce. I got one just like it. Here’s your coffee, Ray-mo. Use guys spot LaRue?”

“I think you meant to say whipped?” I offered.

“I don’t see no whips? I also didn’t hit any body,” said Little Carmen.

“Do you understand, now, Ray?” La Flor said, her eyes pleading with me to do something.

I shook my head, then looked at my drink. If I took one sip, I wouldn’t fall asleep for a week. La Flor swirled her straw around the whipped cream and caramel.

Little Carmen removed the top and straw to his drink, raised the venti cup to his lips, and began the alt ego male ritual of consuming a drink without swallowing or breathing. This is done anytime an alt ego male is in the presence of a female. It’s a standard matting practice. Little Carmen was letting his drink slide its way through his esophagus. He was obviously applying a male beer drinking technique to a cold drink. I didn’t think it would turn out well.

The whipped cream gave him a white mustache, not a good look. Even worse was the caramel dripping down both sides of his mouth as he attempted to impress La Flor with his male, drink it all at once move.

La Flor whispered, “Reasons eight through one-hundred, please. I’ll be good. I promise. No more sassiness. No more wisecracks. I’ll cook once a week.”

Little Carmen, three-fourths of the way through, suddenly set the drink down and pressed the palms of his hands against his temples.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I gots an ice cream headache. Oh geez, these are the worst. How am I going to get rid of it? I can’t think straight or crooked.”

La Flor pushed her seat out, she took off her tacky white windbreaker, tossed it on the table, and said, “That’s it, LC. We’re done.”

Little Carmen, still pressing his paws to his temples, raised his eyes without moving his head, and said, “But beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, what I do?”

“You couldn’t drink your cold drink all the way down without stopping. It’s part of the job description for my assistant.”

“It is?”
“Yes, and so is not getting ice cream headaches. I’m letting you go, don’t worry, I’ll be a good reference. Ray’s driving me home.”

“What about me? What about my motorcycle? What about us?

I spoke up, we’ve already had one bad breakup and I didn’t want another. I said, “La Flor told me she’ll set you up with J.J. Peterson, the romance writer. LaRue came crawling back and she told him to keep on crawling.”

“Geez, thanks, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. Does J. J. like pizza?”

“Loves it. All in a day’s work, LC,” said La Flor pushing me toward the door. Then La Flor whispered to me, “LC is perfect for her. I can’t stand her. She’s a snooty b ….” I stopped her before she could finish her sentence.

The best decision is to stop making a bad decision. That piece of wisdom I picked up from a book has proven its worth to me time and again. La Flor applied it to a relationship going nowhere. I hope the piece of wisdom comes in handy for you.

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.

 

 

The Day After The Night After

I am in my study and I hear La Flor’s* voice coming from the living room, “I think he’s in his study, L.C.”

A male voice with a sandpapery, gravel pit sound, said, “What’s he do in there, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI? Does he study? I never studies, it’s not good for your kidneys.” Little Carmen pronounced kidneys in two words, kids knees.”

“What’s that?” asked La Flor, she never paid attention in biology class because Bobby Genroe sat in front of her and La Flor and Bobby Genroe passed notes all during class. Bobby was kind enough to let La Flor copy his test during exams, which explains why they both retook biology during the first and then the second summer sessions.

Little Carmen feeling smart and desiring to demonstrate his high IQ said, “It’s simple beautiful, tough, and edgy PI if use watch Doctor Oz. We, that’s use and me, don’t have to worry about kids unless we gets together and if we do gets together and we wants kids. Then, I won’t study because I don’t want to hurt their knees. I always had good knees, that’s because Big Carmen never studied.” Little Carmen shakes his head toward the study, and said, “Does he mind if use bother him?”

La Flor working on her nails with an emory file said, “Oh no. He likes it when I bother him because I never bother him.”

“I am the same way. You never bothers me beautiful, tough, and edgy PI.”

Enter into my study La Flor, followed by Little Carmen, who is not little and fills my door frame.

“Hi, Ray. Got a minuto for Little Carmen and me?”

Little Carmen speaks from the door jam, “Hey, Ray. The beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, she’s really smart, if use don’t know. You hear how she talks another language. I don’t understand what she says but she says she’ll teach me.”

“The beautiful, tough, and edgy PI has a command over many languages, Little Carmen. I like your white windbreaker with your name in gold.”

Little Carmen turns around and shows off the back of the windbreaker. It says, “Carmen’s Pizzaria.” Little Carmen said, “All the employees get one. It’s one of the perkies.”

“I turn my attention to La Flor. I said, “I have a two or three minutos for you.”

I figured it out, Little Carmen’s voice is like one of those stations you want to pull in when you’re driving a long stretch across the west Texas desert. He said, “Do use guys mind talking in American sos I can understand whats that you’re saying?”

La Flor patted Little Carmen on his bicep. I saw his eyes spin like a slot machine. La Flor said, “We’re good friends, Ray, that’s all, but there are possibilities for more than friends, right, LC.”

“Use lead beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, I will follow wherever use wants to go, even if it’s to a Chinese restaurant, which I do not like. They use too much GMS.”

“Do you mean MSG?” I said.

Little Carmen’s little light turns on, “You’re mixed up, Ray. Use is thinking about texting, sometimes I see MSG for a message.”

“Thanks, Little Carmen.”

“Any time, Raybo. Any friend of the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, is a friend of Big Carmen and Little Carmen.”

Raybo? What did Little Carmen mean by that? I think it is a good thing. I said, “What is it, La Flor?”

“You know I am …”

I finish it for her, “La Flor, the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI.”

“Exactly. I need muscle.”

On cue, Little Carmen lifts both his arms up to shoulder level and pumps both biceps. His biceps look like they belong in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Why do you need muscle, La Flor?” I asked.

She pondered the question. She looked at Little Carmen who is watching his right bicep pop, then turns his head to watch his left bicep pop. Then he looks back to the right and so on, and so on, and so on.

“Isn’t he cute?” said La Flor.

“I understand why you need muscle.”

La Flor turned around and threw her arms around Little Carmen’s neck, which is almost as big as her waist. She said, “LC, he said yes.”

“I did?” I said.

“Ciao, we’re going out for pizza?” she said.

“Where?”

“Duh? Carmen’s Pizzaria.

Relationships. Books are written about why we’re attracted to someone. Books are written how to make relationships work. My theory, people make relationships work because, suddenly, they care more about each other than they do about themselves. Each time I’ve seen people caring more about the other person in their relationship than themselves, I’ve seen the relationship flourish.

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.

 

 

His Name is Juan Der-Ful

Do you, at times, make impulsive decisions? I do. I made an impulsive decision earlier today I regret. In yesterday’s blog, La Flor* discovered a new main squeeze. His name is Juan. Like La Flor, Juan is an alt ego. I thought it would be a good idea if I invited La Flor and Juan to Carmen’s Pizzeria. It was a good idea because Carmen uses tacky plaid tablecloths, it’s small, and it’s mostly a take out business. Big Carmen and his son, little Carmen, who is bigger than Big Carmen are the cooks and waiters. I was sure La Flor would say no. She didn’t.  and, it is in Carmen’s Pizzeria where the following takes place.

We are sitting at one of six square tables. We’re the only people in Carmen’s other than Big Carmen and Little Carmen.

Juan said, “Nobody’s here.”

Big Carmen overheard Juan, and said, “Me and Little Carmen are here and use is here. So, what’s your problem? Use with the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI?”

Carmen has a way with the ladies.

La Flor puts a kiss on her palm and sends it off to Big Carmen. Big Carmen said, “If Gina was visiting her mother, I’d ask

Big Carmen said, “If Gina was visiting her mother, I’d ask use to come over. Not use, whoevers you are,” Big Carmen jabs a large flour covered forefinger toward Juan. Then he said,  “I’m talking to the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI.”

La Flor winked at Big Carmen. Then she said, “Now I know where Little Carmen gets his good looks.This table is perfect.”

Big Carmen turns toward Little Carmen, “The beautiful, tough, and edgy PI is one smart dame.”

Back at the table, La Flor said, “What are you doing Juan?”

“I was sitting down, La Flor.”

“Did you forget something?”

I know where this going. A fast ball catches the inside corner of the plate. Strike one. Juan’s young, naïve, self-centered, typical male at that age. I said, “She wants you to help her with her chair.”

Juan looks at the chair, then he looks at me. He looks back at the chair, then he looks at La Flor. I can almost feel his brain trying to make a connection it never made. It’s painful to watch. La Flor cocks a hip and puts a hand on it. I whisper to Juan, “Pull her chair out and don’t forget to slide it in under her as she sits down.”

“Oh. Thanks, man,” said Juan.

La Flor and Juan slide their chairs to the corner of the table. They are holding hands. La Flor, in my opinion, overdressed for Carmen’s, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s La Flor. Juan is staring at her, I want to ask Big Carmen if he has if a bib for Juan, he’s drooling. Instead, I want to get to know this alt ego better. I said, “What is your last name Juan?

Before Juan can answer, La Flor jumped in, she said, “I already told you. Are you sure you’re not having short-term memory problems, Ray?”

“You told me Juan’s last name?” I said.

“Duh, yes I did. His name is Juan Der Ful.”

Juan nodded his head, “Yes I have a hyphenated last name. My mother’s name is Dür and my father’s name is Ful so I’m Juan Der-Ful.”

“How did your parents chose the name Juan,” I asked.

La Flor squeezed Juan’s hand and said, “Do you mind if I tell him?”

Juan shrugs and said, “It’s okay.”

La Flor said, “When the nurse asked his mom what they wanted to name Juan, she said Won.”

“That makes sense.” I said.

“No, Ray. She said, Won.”

“Like the number,” I said.

“No, Ray. You are slow. Won, like winning a game.  It still works because Juan is Juan Der-Ful.”

Little Carmen who is six feet three inches tall, his dark grunge is spotted with flour. his chest and arms overdeveloped from lifting one-hundred-pound sacks of flour came over wearing his sauce and flour stained apron, “Whatchu guys want. How ya doin, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI? You free after? Maybe use and me we go dancing at the new hot alt ego dance club.”

La Flor gives Little Carmen an encouraging smile. Juan makes his first bad move, he gives off a slight scent of male testosterone.

Juan turns toward Little Carmen and is about to say something I fear he will regret until he visits an oral surgeon. Little Carmen spoke first, “Use better be giving me use order and not any crap about me asking the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI to go dancing after she dumps use for the night.”

Juan moved to male level two until he noticed the twelve-inch cutting knife in Little Carmen’s holding left hand. Instead, Juan said, “We haven’t seen menu’s.”

“That’s okay. Me and Big Carmen, we can make any pizza anybody wants, if they wants pizza. Do use wants pizza?” said Little Carmen waving the knife like he was conducting the symphony.

I saw it happen a couple of times before and it never worked out. Juan decides to go full throttle and impress La Flor. He said, “I’ll order for everyone.”

“I looked at La Flor. I know how picky she is about her pizza. And, she is not as picky as me. She rolled her eyes and slid her chair away from the corner of the table.

Juan said, “We want anchovies, lots of them. Don’t skimp. We want sausage baked into the crust. We want big black and green olives. I want you to spell La Flor with the olives. Instead of mozzarella can you use Velveeta.”

Juan sat back his chair, a sense of male pride sweeping over his body. His arms crossed over his chest.

Little Carmen bends over and puts his large, somewhat bent nose three inches from Juan’s face, and said, “The beautiful, tough, and edgy PI don’t like pizza like that. Whoever heard of pizza with Velveeta?”

Juan still being cool said, “Pizza Hut serves it.”

Bam, Little Carmen sticks the point of the knife into the tablecloth. “Big Carmen don’t use Velcheeta. And we don’t have lots of anchovies. Use gets four. No more.”

Big Carmen looks at La Flor, “Does the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI want her special pie with a glass of wine, on the house of course.”

Juan said, “I’ve had enough.”

Little Carmen turned back to Juan and said, “Use full already. That’ll be ten fifty. Thanks for coming. There’s the door.”

Juan looked at La Flor. La Flor was looking at Little Carmen.

I said, “Juan, it’s better if you leave. I’ll cover your tab.”
Today’s Lesson: A Little Carmen in the hand is worth two Juans in a bush (I know it’s not deep or profound. And, it doesn’t make much sense. It was the best I could do on a Saturday).

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.

 

 

Random Thoughts Flying Toward Me

There are times when the unexpected is normal. Living with La Flor* not like anything I previously experienced. The abnormal is normal. The unexpected is expected. And, as far as La Flor is concerned, the world and all its inhabitants, including at ego inhabitants revolve around her. For La Flor, this is life as it is meant to be.

This morning, for example, I decided to break my routine and pass up on the oatmeal and Greek yogurt and opt for a perfectly toasted English muffin, with organic peanut butter spread over it, filling every crevice; Then I drizzled dark golden brown raw honey on it. My taste buds were salivating. I went a bit overboard and sprinkled flax seeds on top of each half. I placed them on my plate and set my plate on the table on the patio. I returned to the kitchen and took hold of my coffee pot. I poured a cup. My coffee was hot, dark, and gave off a caramelly sweet aroma trailed by a hint of smokiness. All was right in my world. La Flor was sleeping, or so I thought. I sat, my hand reached for my cup of coffee when my reverie was broken.

La Flor said from 4 feet behind me, “Ray, is your shampoo safe?”

I need to become more aware the signs of random thoughts flying toward me from La Flor’s cosmos.

“I haven’t given much thought as to whether or not my shampoo was safe, La Flor,” I said without turning around.

“You should,” she said, pulling a chair up next to me and taking my cup out of my hand.

I said, “There are so many other important things to worry about besides shampoo. There are cups in the cupboard.”

“Is that so?” She said and took hold of one-half of my English muffins. She looked at it, and said, “Next time leave the flaxseed off for me, Ray. They get caught in my teeth.”

“I’ll have to remember that, La Flor.”

She took a small bite, chewed for a second, then took a sip of my coffee.  After she swallowed, she said, “Coffee and an English muffin toasted to perfection with creamy peanut butter and raw honey is a great combo. You need to try it sometime.”

I rolled my eyes and said, “What about the shampoo?”
“Oh yah. You know when you’re washing your hair you’re just tossing chemicals on it. It’s not good for your skin or your hair.”

“Did you wash your hair today, La Flor.  It looks especially radiant.”

“Of course, I washed my hair.”

“Why are you complaining about my shampoo?”

“Do you think I would use your shampoo? The Target special.”

“I did not get it from Target.”

“Walmart?

“No.”

“Where did you purchase the plastic container of chemicals that can peel paint off a car?”

“I will tell you if you first tell me where you are getting your information.”

“Okay. My mystery writer friend and I stopped over at the natural food store. We were in the shampoo aisle when this guy took a look at me and fell in love on the spot. I have this effect on men.”

“My species can’t help themselves when you enter the room.”

“It’s a curse I live with,” said La Flor.This is new. What’s his name and what does he do?”

“What’s his name and what does he do?”

“He is a naturalist. His name is Juan.”

“Do you know what that means?”

“Are you talking about Juan or being a naturalist?”

“Let’s stay with naturalist for the moment.”

“For sure, Ray. It means he naturally fell for me.  Of course, he couldn’t help but fall for La Flor the beautiful, tough, and edgy PI.”

“How does he wash his hair?” I don’t know why I asked this question. I think I have low blood sugar. She is now eating the other half of my muffin.

“You’re getting very personal, do you care to rephrase that?”

“Okay, does he wash his hair with chemicals?”

“No, Ray he buys it the Natural food store. This goes with his being a naturalist and falling for me naturally and the shampoo container says all natural. It’s like the perfecto stormo.”

“And, why are you listening to him?”

“He is 6 feet 2.  He has the most gorgeous brown eyes. And, I think I’m in love. And, he has money.”

“Sounds like he has all the right qualifications. And, all this happened over shampoo?”

“Go figure,” La Flor said.

“Can you tell me a bit more about Juan?”

“He is Juan der ful.”

And to think how peaceful my day started. I said, “I think I’ll make myself an English muffin, do you want anything?”

“A warm up on my coffee, if you don’t mind.”

Our best plans often get interrupted. Getting upset or angry over the interruption doesn’t recreate the ideal we wanted. Going with the current eliminates the anger, resentment, and often offers some pleasant surprises. 

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.

 

 

Is There an Alt Ego PI Meetup?

I’m practicing my PI observation techniques. Ray is out on the patio watching the birds. He has a large glass of iced tea next to him. The glass is sweating. It’s south Texas. It’s summer. And, it’s hotter than hell. I’ve never been to hell, I have no intention of going there. But, if it’s anything like a town we passed through on a trip through west Texas, I want no part of it.

Ray’s lips are moving. He either talking to the birds or to himself. I’m wondering if I should go outside and see if he suffering from heatstroke. No, it’s too hot. I’ll keep an eye on him. If he slumps over, falls out of the chair, or starts dancing the salsa without salsa music, I’ll call 911. The paramedics are used to heat cases. Oh no, he’s getting up. He’s coming in. I don’t have time to move his laptop and delete this file…

“What are you doing with my laptop, La Flor*?”

“What laptop, Ray?”

“The one in front of you.”

“That’s a laptop? I thought it was a table ornament,” La Flor said, arranging my MacBook to align with the table edges.

“Were you trying to write a blog?” I asked.

“Who me?” La Flor said, pointing an index finger to her chest.

“Yes, you.”

“Are you serious, Ray?”

“I am serious. It is my personal computer.”

“I thought we shared everything in this household.”

“I don’t share your attitude, La Flor.”

“I’m willing to share it with you, it might help.”

“Let me see what you wrote.”

“They were random thoughts. I’ll delete the file,” La Flor said and opened the MacBook.

“No, you don’t,” I said and took a step toward the table.

“Yes, I do.” La Flor rapidly tapped keys as if she were a virtuoso pianist.  “Too late I deleted everything,” she said. A smirk smile on her face.

“Have you heard of the cloud?” I said giving La Flor my impression of a smirk smile.

La Flor walked to the window. She opened the plantation shutters. She gazed at the Texas summer sky. “It’s a perfectly clear day, not a cloud in the sky. I think you had too much sun.”

“I have the file on my iPhone. I retrieved it from the cloud,” I said.

“Did not. There are no clouds; you are not going to trick me,” said La Flor, her arms folded.

“Let me read it to you,” I said.

“It’s not fair. You make something up and put it in the blog. You don’t care about my feelings,” said La Flor doing a poor job of acting hurt.

“You trying out for the local theater group? Meeting a new set of friends might be a nice change,” I said.

“I don’t do local theater. I don’t do church choirs. I don’t do sneak and peek cases if you know what I mean.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” I said.

“You should read my friend’s blog. It might help.

I offered La Flor a suggestion, “Is there a PI meetup? Maybe you’ll meet a male alt ego PI. Someone with the same interests.”

“Problemo, Ray.”

“What is the problemo, La Flor?”

“First, it’s a good thing we’re fluent in a foreign language. You never know who is listening.”

“Or, reading,” I added.

“I’m smarter, tougher, and edgier than any male alt ego PI. I didn’t want to toss my beauty in, it would be overkill.”

“Is that a problem?” I asked.

“For me, no. For males, duh! You know your species.”

“It would be a chance in ten million, no make it twenty million, no make it beyond impossible.”

What?” I asked.

“Finding a male alt ego smarter, tougher, edgier than me. But, they will all act like they are. There is the problem.”

“I see your point.”

“Think about it, Ray. There’s got to be more to life than sitting in at a PI meetup with a bunch of guys trying to outdo the other with stories they’re making up. I might add, there’s more to life than sitting on a patio watching birds fly in and out five bird feeders and talking to them.”

“We’re running out of space, La Flor. You started today’s blog, why don’t you end it.”

“I thought you’d never ask, Ray.”

“I’m talking to women out there, all the beautiful, tough, edgy women like me, La Flor PI.  And of course, to all the men who want to meet the beautiful, tough, and edgy women like me, La Flor PI.”

“La Flor,” I said.

“Don’t interrupt me, Ray, I’m on a roll.”

Chase your dreams, girls.  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not smart enough or worthy of good things happening to you.  Don’t settle for second best, third best, or fourth best. If it doesn’t happen right away, don’t quit. Don’t give up. When you give your best, what you give will be good for everyone.

“Are you going to edit this, Ray?”

“Not at all, La Flor. Your advice is good for everyone. It’s good for men and women, alt egos, and everyone in between. You did a good job.”

“Thanks, Ray.  Now let’s get bust loose.”

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.