Few things in life are certain. One thing is for sure, La Flor’s interest in career opportunities has a shelf life of 24 hours. Don’t believe me. Follow along.
“Ray, I need a career change. I’ve accomplished all a human being can accomplish in the medical field. It’s time to move on, don’t you think?” asked La Flor.
“What’s the real reason?” I asked.
“Big Carmen asked me if I took care of bullet wounds. The only red I like is when I put it on my lips,” said La Flor.
“I think it’s time for a career change.”
“Are you proud of my accomplishments in the medical field?”
“You only worked with one patient, Lil Carlo,” I said.
“Yes, and everything I did was a medical breakthrough. I’ve got to leave some breakthroughs for other people,” said La Flor.
“What kind of change are you thinking about?” I said.
“Oh, it’s set and this one is permanent,” La Flor said with enthusiasm.
“LC and me are going to be a famous duo. Like Ike and Tina, Sonny and Cher, Marie and Donny, Otis and Carla.”
“What about the Everly Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel?” I added.
“Get real, Ray. LC should be here any minute, we’re going to write our first song and then sing it acapella for you,” beamed La Flor.
“Don’t go through any trouble,” I said.
“LC sings like an angel. He’s better than Buble. Sinatra might have been famous if he sang like LC. Justin Bieber? Wish in one hand, you know what in the other, guess which one Bieber will get first? Taylor Swift would give anything to replace me and now she can drool. Need I go on?” asked La Flor.
“No, I get the picture.”
“LC is an accomplished musician; of course, your prejudiced and wouldn’t notice,” said La Flor.
“An accomplished musician? I’ve never seen him with an instrument,” I said.
“He’s a private person. He could be a star in his own right. He isn’t because he’s dedicated his life to pleasing me,” said La Flor.
“Wise choice. What instrument has he mastered?” I asked.
“The air guitar,” said La Flor without a hint of smile.
A screech of tires. A door slamming. A siren in the distant background. I ran to the front door, and opened it just in time to avert the explosion of my door against the wall. LC dove headfirst into the entrance way, sliding ten feet across the Saltillo tile on his full body spandex suit.
“Close the door, Ray-mo. Quick,” he hollered.
I closed the door. LC pulled off his ski mask, latex gloves, and said, “I needs a beer. It’s hot working in a ventilator system. Do me a fav and burn my clothes.”
La Flor has perfected the leap, which she performed with amazing dexterity. Legs around LC’s waist, arms around LC’s neck. Lips synchronized to lock on contact. I turned and walked to the fridge. It’s my first choice when my anxiety level kicks up a notch.
Twelve minutes later, five minutes for the gymnastics, five minutes to change, and two minutes to pack his discarded clothes in a donation bag to leave at the church. LC comes out of the bedroom donation bag in his right hand, the remnants of his bottled beer in his left hand.
“I am ready to compose and dispose is use know what I mean,” said LC proud of his quip.
“Leave the bag in the hallway, Ray can carry it to church when we go on Sunday. I don’t want to you to be caught, I mean messing up your clothes with it,” said La Flor.
Come by tomorrow to see the duo’s first song. They promise it will be a hit.
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?