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La Bruja del ‘83

Enrique C Varela 

Enrique C Varela is a 2x publishing contract expengee. He resides in Port Hueneme, Ca. He has had short stories published in Chiricú Journal, The Acentos Review, Somos en escrito, Latine Lit, & Litro Magazine. Stay tuned.

The Boeing 727 breaks through the bloated grey clouds on its final approach to Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport in Guadalajara. On board the airliner is hot-headed Jorge Diaz (the patriarch of the family), his indigenous wife Alma, and their two kids: Daisy, an inquisitive, somewhat distant teenage girl of sixteen, and their eldest son, Casimiro. Casimiro is nineteen and a gangster. A cholo like the ones you'd see strutting down the sidewalks like Ric Flair in any barrio in the U.S. puffing on a leño. Always on point for intruders in his ‘hood, fumbling for something in their hoodie's pocket.

Casimiro elbows Daisy’s arm off the shared armrest with a dominant nudge. “Your arm is making me itchy,” he complains. She gives him a cold look but says nothing. “Here, let me see your phone” he commands and rips the device from her hands.

She pops out an earbud and tells him, “Hey ‘gimme that back.”

"I’m using it," responds Casimiro.

“I said give it back!” asserts Daisy, growing ever more frustrated at her bro.

Their dad, , hears his kids arguing behind him. He peaks over the side of his seat, his head in the corridor. Talking through his teeth, he says, Pos’ que chingados traen. ¡Ya cálmense o los calmo!”

“Apá. Estaba usando el celular y me lo quitó,” grumbled Daisy. Casimiro responds to the accusations with a “Pinche mentirosa.”

“Ya! Los dos cállense. No me hagan mirar mal,” he rebuts. “Tu hermano lo está usando," cinching Daisy with his laser eyes. "Cuando termines se lo das para atrás. Eh, Casimiro. Ya escuchaste, he says, giving him the fajo eye.

Their dad returns to his normal sitting position. Casimiro gives his sister an arrogant half-smile, takes a deep sniff of stale oxygen, and returns to the cell phone in his grasp. Daisy is pissed. This kind of shit has happened to her ever since her brother learned how to exact whatever he wanted from his parents. She can’t do anything about it but be apoplectic. She takes off her other earbud, placing it inside her purse along with the other one. She crosses her arms and closes her eyes. Casimiro notices and asks, “What are you doing, weirdo? Meditating again?”.

A flight attendant rolls a beverage cart down the aisle headed their way. She advertises “cold drinks, cold drinks” like the robot waitress in the movie Short Circuit at Nova’s presentation of their new military killer machines, S.A.I.N.T. As the flight attendant nears them, Daisy opens her eyes and begins staring at a pitcher of water on the edge of the cart, losing herself completely in the slushing crystalline liquid. The pitcher on the cart begins to tremble as if the flight attendant is going over folds in the carpet. The pitcher begins convulsing violently, spilling water on the pushcart and on some of the passengers. Then the pitcher launches off the cart like a bullet. It flies through the air and smashes into Casimiro’s face. There is an explosion of glass and water and an explosion of tiny mirrors.

“Hey what the fuck, fucking hag!” he yells at the flight attendant. He’s soaking wet, a gash on his forehead.

“I’m so sorry, sir. I don’t know what happened. We must have hit an air pocket. Let me go get you a towel and the first aid kit.” The flight attendant rushes off.

Casimiro’s parents stare at him. His dad's head in the aisle, his mom sticking her neck up like a giraffe. His mom shakes her head. His dad is red with anger, like a chile de árbol. He feels all eyes on the plane burn a hole in his pride. It embarrasses him.

“Qué te dije, Casimiro his dad grinds out of his teeth.

Yo no hice nada. Era esa puta.”

Casimiro! No hables así,” his mom scolds. Daisy wipes water from her arm but can't wipe the smile from her face.

The plane finally arrives at GDL. The family is at the luggage claim focusing on the conveyor belt, anticipating the belching of their luggage from the back. Casimiro pushes Daisy out of the way from her spot as the first in line to be able to reach for their luggage. “Hazte ‘pa ya,” he bitches, crashing his damp shirt into her body, leaving a wet spot on her sleeve. She says nothing. She only rubs the wet spot on her arm.

“Daisy. Ponte para atrás en línea! Vas a perder vista de tu equipaje. Y no te voy a comprar más ropa ni otra mochila si las pierdes,” chastises her dad, stepping back from the luggage conveyor belt. “¿Crees que estoy cagando dinero o qué?” Her dad steps back in front of the conveyor belt alongside their mom. Casimiro laughs at Daisy with a wicked grin borrowed from the Chamuco himself.

Daisy stands still and closes her eyes tight. Tight to the point that the blossoming wrinkles on her forehead are accentuated by her strain. Casimiro sees the family's luggage. Daisy’s pink luggage sticks out like a gabacho shopping at El Super Grocers. The luggage slides down the shoot from wherever the hell it came from and stumbles onto the conveyor belt with a sonorous thud. The thud awakens Daisy from the trance that sequestered her thoughts. She focuses on her pink luggage heading down the crowded conveyor belt packed with mochilas and designer luggage. The pink luggage begins to tremble uncontrollably, rocking back and forth like a loco drunk on the curb. Out of nowhere, the luggage pops open. A pair of Daisy’s underwear, her period underwear, the ones with a brown stain in the crotch zone slingshot through the air and smack into Casimiro’s face. It clinches to his face like a thirsty leach.

Casimiro expels a muffled yell; “What the fuck!” He pulls and pulls on Daisy’s period chonies hugging his face with all their might. He bends at the waist, thinking gravity will lend an assist. But chales. More muffled cursing and strained forearms. Casimiro looks like a fly caught in a web struggling to free itself, only to end up enveloping itself more and more in the clingy fibers. Casimiro’s dad notices his son’s chonie dance and so do his mom and the rest of the passengers awaiting their luggage. “Casimiro! ¡Qué chingados estás haciendo! Aplácate ahorita mismo o te aplaco!” Casimiros' dad's face turns the color of a radish primed to be pozole garnish. He starts stroking his fajo de vaquero over and over.

Daisy can’t help but laugh. Daisy’s chonies finally have enough of Casimiro, and, like a bored lover, dismount his face. The chonies float to the ground as soft as a feather strayed from its fowl. Casimiro kicks them and they get wrapped up in his white Nike Cortezes. “Stupid nasty-ass calzones,” he remarks. Daisy goes and rips them from Casimiro's shoe.

“It’s okay. They don’t like you either,” she comments. She picks up her pink luggage from the end of the conveyor belt.

Two days later the Diaz family explores la Zona Centro of Guanatos (Guadalajara). They visit la Catedral and its underground tombs where various mummified bodies rest; Santa Inocencia, three cardinals, several bishops, and the body of Fr. Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, who was assassinated by narcos at GDL in 1993. The narcos had thought Fr. Juan Jesús Posadas a capo because  a large entourage accompanied him through the airport. Classic case of mistaken identity. Or being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Next, they went to check out La Plaza De Armas and reflected on the gothic architecture of El Palacio de Gobierno. At La Rotonda de Los Jaliscienses Ilustres, they took various selfies with bronze statues of the state’s heroes, evoking memories of their noble acts and resuscitating them in el cielo and in their hearts.

Then they went to El Mercado San Juan de Dios. Weeks before, at a pachanga, Alma’s comadre told her about “-the best shrimp cocktail she’d ever had in her life-”, and the stand where she got the cóctel happened to be in El Mercado San Juan. The recounting of her comadre’s directions to the place was hazy at best, but she was determined to find the little stand amongst what seemed like thousands of other little mariscos stands located inside the winding, confusing, concrete cocoon.

The family spent an hour looking for the elusive mariscos stand. The place was packed with savvy shoppers looking for a fresh deal. In the bump and grind and rush and disarray of the treasure hunt, Casimiro saw an escape. He managed to elude his parents' watchful eyes and merged with the meandering crowd. He made a left, then a right, then another left. He scoped out the scene and didn't see his parents or his weird sister. He was fully immersed in the mole of people and artesanías and strange exotic smells and random barro knick-knacks. Then an extravagant twinkle in the corner of his eye, a chispa, left him in awe. The diverging of his focus was set straight towards a dark stand stashed between one displaying dried yerba buena and manzanilla flowers that hung from the ceiling. The other stand to its flank sold Mexican candies like tan-colored-sugary rollos de guayaba and red, white, and green borrachito gummies.

This particular area of the Mercado was empty and reeked of old lady sage. The cheap stinky kind. Casimiro se cree super cholo, so without checking out the spot first, he steps into the cave-like stand. All it needed to complete the illusion of a cave were bats and the whip spiders  on the walls. He saw what had caught his attention--a shimmering necklace made of plata. Walking in, he hit his head on a marionette of La Santa Muerte, launching it forward, and making it strike the other marionettes' hanging beside it as if it were a bumper humper in the middle of rush-hour traffic. The other marionettes keeping La Santa Muerte company included a puppet of a female in a nightgown with dark hair over her eyes (looks like La Llorona), a hunched man-beast-looking thing displaying fiery, red eyes (¿El Cucuy?), and a scrawny looking dog with big, yellow, sharp teeth (¿Apoco El Chupacabras?). Theybegan swaying back and forth like wind chimes rocked by a gust of the Santa Ana Winds. “Ten cuidado chico, las vas a quebrar said an old, sandy voice. Casimiro turns to see who it is. He looks around but doesn't see anybody.

“Aca ‘bajo chico. Casimiro looks down and sees a tiny figure cloaked in a black rebozo and wearing a black dress rearranging some candles on top of a rustic wood table with orange-red price tags that read “setenta y siete pesos.”

“No se preocupe Doña. No se los voy a quebrar," he quirks back ascertaining his suspicion that the vendor is a viejita based on the figure's stature and her strangely syrupy but acerbic voice. She turns around, candle in hand. Casimiro tries to look her in the eye in his usual intimidating manner but only sees black. He looks at her up and down like he’s dogging a foo' from another hood attempting to find some semblance of the viejita in the drab attire. At least this old hag wears matching clothes, he thinks. Not like the paisas wearing que pink this and blue that.

“Es mi traje favorito,the old lady mutters.

All the while the marionettes keep swinging and slamming into each other like a Newton's Cradle gone haywire. Pa’ ca y pa' ya. The pendulum wave action eventually turns into a rogue wave. It sends the puppet of La Santa Muerte crashing onto the chipped concrete floor. Its head explodes in shards of smooth minuscule Jalisciense porcelain pieces.

“Te dije que tuvieras cuidado chico. Ahora me debes 600 pesos por el títere, she exclaims extending out her bony, almost skeleton-like arm and hand.

“Ni madres,” he responds emphatically. “Yo no te voy a dar ni mierda. Yo no la quebré. Shoving the rest of the marionettes out of the way and sending them crashing onto the ground in a sensational not giving-a-fuck-moment, he flees the stand. The viejita steps out of the stand just enough time to observe him melt into the crowd. She grasps broken pieces of her marionettes close to her chest.

“Vas a ver pocho.”

Casimiro spots his family at a mariscos stand eating shrimp cocktails after looking for them in the concrete maze for thirty minutes. “¿Dónde estabas, hijo?" his mom questioned mid-chew.

“You should have stayed over there,” Daisy added sarcastically.

“Fuck off."

“¡Ya apláquense los dos o me los friego! Vente a comer,” his father sternly dictated. “Nos vamos al aeropuerto en dos horas, eh. No te voy a comprar nada de comer en el aeropuerto. Es muy caro.”

Soon after arriving home weird shit started happening to Casimiro. He liked smoking blunts and liked smoking them outside because when lit, the thick dank smoke swirls in the wind and dissipates. Disappears like a guest that's overstayed his welcome or like the stench of rewarmed, rotten beans. And obviously, his dad would whip him with the fajo in the nalgas if he sparked up a churro in his room or anywhere else in his home. The point was to relax, not get stressed all over again. His mom, nomás would have scolded him, es todo. It was a small miracle his dad or mom hadn’t said anything when he walked in from the back smelling like a freshly ran over skunk. Ya le andaba a Casimiro.He needed a quickie with that whore Mary Jane in the backyard. Especially after going a whole month without tasting her grassy lips.

He sparked it up. He was straining to inhale on the grape-flavored blunt. It went out. "Did I roll it too tight?" As he attempts to relight his prized joint, a volcanic flame bursts out of the lighter. A dollar store lighter.. It cinged his eyebrows right off. While he’s bent over rubbing his synched eyebrows a crow falls dead at his feet. Then another, and another, and another.

“What the fuck?” He stands up straight and tippy toes around the murder of dead crows like a ballerina meticulously going through her routine. He tip-toed all the way to the back door of the house. Littered about the walkway to the back door are multitudes of dead animals: a few colibrís and bees and brown sparrows, two red-tailed falcons, six possums, too-many-to-count huge, brown street rats, Doña Chucha’s calico cat, his blue pit, Killer. Then he spots an owl observing him from the house's rain/roof gutter. The owl is big and brown and with enormous yellow piercing eyes, a nefarious scowl. It sits there, observing Casimiro's hopscotch moves, menacing and unafraid.

Casimiro runs to the bathroom mirror to check out his eyebrows. “Fuck,” he says, while massaging his forehead up and down where his eyebrows used to be. It looks like they were shaved off by Ciego when I was brewed or something, he thinks. The stink of burnt hair is stifling. He tries to turn the exhaust fan on, but upon placing his index finger on the switch to flick it on, a stinging rush of electricity runs through him. It runs up his arm, takes a dive at his shoulder, and homes in on his tailbone. The toque makes him squeeze his butt cheeks. He jumps back, rubs the seat of his pants. He thought he had shit himself.

He stumbled out of the restroom rubbing his tailbone. He headed for his room down the hall, but halfway to his room, the hallway began spinning end on end, like the barrels in a funhouse. He pushed himself up against the sides of the hallway to gain some sort of equilibrium. The rotating got so dizzying he dove onto the floor and crawled to his room like an oversized toddler wearing clothes he still needs to grow into. Whispering to himself, he says, “Damn. That was some good ass Sativa,” whatever toke he was able to inhale, like Clinton.

The tumble cycle stopped the instant he flopped face-first onto his room’s tan carpet. “Fuck that. I’m going to sleep.” He pulls himself up onto the bed, rubs his ass again to make sure there was no cerotes glued to it, and covered himself with his San Marcos tiger blanket. He had no difficulty falling asleep.

Casimiro sat in the bowl of a giant glass smoking pipe. A pipe Cheech and Chong would covet. Casimiro raises his hand to his face but can’t break the darkness. Wind chimes intoned. He instinctively looked behind him. Nada. He turned back around. A veiny index finger attached to a timeworn hand manifested out of the shadows and tries to squish him down into the bowl like squishing a snapper (personal size bowl of yesca) into a brand-new glass pipe. But like a tercosnapper packed into an un-resonated bowl, Casimiro jumped out of and rolled onto the chipped floor of El Mercado San Juan De Dios. The place was dead. No one was around. He was on his ass with his arms holding him up. Then the floor began to rumble. He looked up. Two giant pink chanclas stomp towards him, stomping on every booth and turning them into shards of concrete. They grow closer and closer to Casimiro. He tries to get up but can’t. The clapping of the chanclas is at his throat, distorting the sound of his pounding heart. In a rush, he starts walking away like a scampered crab trying to evade a hungry seagull. He immediately bumped the back of his head into something hard. Hard- but-not like a wrestling mat. He's unlatched from the floor, stands up, and turns around. He looks down and notices he's in the palm of a hand. And it's moving! His balance is shaken. He holds on to a glistening tread he finds anchored to one side of the splintered hand. Like shining a spotlight on an actor in a Broadway play, the black reboso from the shop owner in the Mercado appears. Then someone turns on the lights. The old lady is a giant puppet! She whips her rebozo off. It’s la Santa Muerte! The puppet lunges Casimiro into her craving mouth like slinging popcorn when watching a flick.

Casimiro wakes up dripping in sweat. The red glow of his clock accentuates the perspiration on his chest. The time displays 3:33 a.m.

“What’s up with you, Fester,” comments Daisy, clowning her brother with a mouth full of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A groggy Casimiro takes a seat at the kitchen table. Casimiro looks like shit. Like a tweaker. He's all jumpy and dehydrated and sweaty.

“Ahorita te hago unos blanquillos, his mom announces. Casimiro crosses his arms on the table and puts his head down. His mom places the plate of huevos estrellados next to the ketchup and him. He raises his head and inhales a whiff of huevos. A drop of blood scurries down his right nostril and plops onto the table. Then another drop of orange-reddish blood falls onto his huevos. It looks like Tabasco sauce. Then the leaking turns into a deluge. Casimiro tries to plug his nose with whatever he has. Napkins, the mantel, but it's not working. So, he takes his white shirt off and uses that. The spreading of crimson blood on Casimiro’s white shirt exacerbates the terror of the situation. He looks like a sloppy small-town carnicero.

Daisy notices and stops eating in medi res. His mom walks to the table from the stove with a bottle of Tapatio to accompany her huevos estrellados. She takes a seat next to her kids. “No sé cómo les gusten los blanquillos con cátsup,” she passionately says, shaking the Tapatío bottle over her huevos. She puts the bottle down and then turns to look at her son to ask him to pass her a napkin.

“Casimiro!” she howls, jumping from her seat. Casimiro's dad's chihuahua, the one he never wanted in the first place and later pampered like a dying heir to a billion-dollar trust, howls in unison with her.

“No lo puedo parar,” he cries to her with the red tarp to his face. “Ya tengo cinco minutos poniendo presión a mi nariz y nada. His mom tosses Casimiro the kitchen rags and disappears into the living room.

“¡Jorge! ¡Jorge, ven!” she's screaming. Her voice fades as she gets deeper into the living room. Her yells are superseded by soccer chants and rambunctious commentators speaking in South American Spanish.

Jorge walks in with a Modelo tall can in one hand and an attitude in the other. His soccer final match was unexpectedly interrupted. Even the chihuahua, Tito, runs out from between his feet enraged that he’s been disturbed from atop his master's thighs. But surprisingly, his dad puts on his supervisor hat, assesses the situation, takes a swig of his pisto, and speaks. “¿Por esto me llamaste Vieja?. Jorge asks with a drunkard's chuckle. , He pounds the rest of his tall can, pushes the empty can into Alma’s belly, and tells her, Toma Vieja. Pónlo en el re-si-clean." He shimmies to the fridge, opens the door, and pulls out another tall can, closes the fridge door, opens the freezer door, and pulls out a rock-hard slab of pork shoulder. He closes the freezer door, but not until he pops open his tall can and takes a chug in the breeze of the freezer. He shimmies back to Casimiro and slaps the slab of pork shoulder on top of his nose like a jab from Ferocious Fernando Vargas.

“Ouch, Apá!”

Pontes los pantalones, muchacho. No seas marica. Nadie puede ser un marica en mi casa,” he advises his family, wagging his finger at them like an old man scolding the paperboy about his morning paper that wasn't porched. “Ya, déjenme en paz.” He walks back to the sanctuary of his La-Z-Boy recliner perched in front of a seventy-five-inch Super HD TV. He’s followed by  Tito and his wife pleading for disculpas.

“Fuck ,man. What else?” Casimiro vents as he holds the pork shoulder against his face. Daisy resumes eating her soggy cereal.

“At least you got it easy. He’s only two beers in. Al rato let's see how he acts. So, what else has happened to you that’s so bad? What, the cherry on your joint fall off or something? We just got here yesterday.”

“Killer is dead. And so is every living thing in the backyard,” he says, sniffing in some blood and spitting it out on the floor.

“What? How?”

“I don’t fucking know. Then my lighter melted/fried my eyebrows off l and I got a toque trying to turn the bathroom light on. Then the hallway started spinning. Then I couldn't sleep for shit because I kept dreaming about the old hag from the Mercado.

“What old hag from the Mercado?” asks Daisy with rising interest.

“Some old bitch wearing a black rebozo thing over her head. You know. Like the ones Grandma used to wear to church. She was a vendor and she yelled at me to pay for some stupid puppets that broke.”

“Did you break them? Did you pay her for them?”

“No, and fuck no. Why should I? I didn't break them. She needs to pay me if anything. I banged my head on those things. I should sue her,” he menaces.

“And they fell and broke? The puppets. Didn’t they?” she inquires. Her spoon sits floating in a mush of splintered grains and cinnamon.

“A lo mejor.” Casimiro's pants pocket vibrates. His pants pocket waves up and down like a seismic shift on desert sands. He digs in his pants pocket for his phone with his free hand while his right holds the pork shoulder to his nose. He pulls out what he thinks is his phone.

“What the hell!” Daisy shouts. Casimiro slowly moves the pork from his face and looks at his left hand.

“Hijo de la chingada!" he manages to blurt out. He lets the pork cushion fall to the floor. It hit the floor in a splattering of red water. He launched what he had in his left hand clear across the kitchen. It hits/bangs up against the fridge. He gets up to look at whatever the hell he threw. He picks up a puppet. One that looks like him. The dammed little doll tiene hasta su baby Cantinflas bigote and all.

“What the fuck is going on?” Casimiro asks the skies above.

“I think I know what’s going on,” Daisy interjects walking up behind him.

“What? You better tell me right now!”

“Wait. How do you guys say it,” she asks the universe out loud. “Chales!”

“Ah, come on,” he pleads with her.

“Under one condition,” she replies. “You have to promise to stop messing with me.”

“OKAY, okay. I promise. Just tell me.” The desperation in his voice is palpable. She sticks out her curled pinky finger.

“Pinky promise?”

“I pinky promise.” They interlock pinkies.

“Follow me to my room pues,” she says grabbing an egg from the fridge on her way to the hallway.

They walk down the hallway to her room. Her door is adorned with various faded stickers of ‘90s boy bands, one of Doña Florinda from El Chavo Del Ochoand a yellow caution sign hung sideways at the very top. She opened the door, and they walked inside, under aloe tied with a red string hanging from the ceiling. She tells him to take a seat on the floor in the center of the room.En chinga, like Julia from George Orwell’s 1984 ripping the red sash from her hips, she pulled a black satin sheet covering a makeshift altar molded of barro adorned with white carnations, pinkish dahlias, and blood-red noche buenas. She grabs four tall religious candles with labels of Catholic patron saints glued to them from under a cuadro of La Virgen De Guadalupe and places them on the floor next to him. A candle in front of him, one behind him.. The other two candles to either side of him.

“Give me some bud,” she orders Casimiro. He searches in his sock for it.

“Toma,"he says handing her his compressed skunky sack of buds.

“Thanks. I ran out of copal.”

“Of what?”

She doesn't pay any attention to him. She’s in the zone tearing up bud in her copalero. The sticky bud sticks to her fingers. A sign that the herb is well-cured. She lights the bud resting in the copalero with a BBQ lighter. A crispy aroma of gas and grass and spice and skunk begins to set up shop in her room. The smoke lingers as a swirling haze in the air and sets on the ceiling.

“Hey, dad’s going to smell that shit. And when he does, he’s going to whip our asses.” Casimiro rubs his imaginary fajo.

“Don’t worry," responds Daisy taking out a huge bottle of Jalisciense mezcal and a bundle of romero tied together by one of her hair ties from under her bed. She takes a huge swig of the stingy liquid with no guilt, like a betrayed lover. She wipes the alcohol from the side of her mouth. She then grabs theromero bunch, douses it with the mezcal, spits some of it in front of Casimiro, and on him, and begins slapping him and rubbing his arms with the wet flora.

“Hey, what the fuck are you doing, pinche loca!” Casimiro reacts, moving his arm away.

“Do you want me to help you or not? Look, I think someone put a curse on you.” Casimiro is mute, he stares right through her.

“I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I feel like there's something inside of me dying to manifest itself. No sé. Pero when we came back from Mex, it felt like something was not right. I figured it out when you told me about the stuff that happened to you. Especially after what you told me about what you did to the merchant lady.”

“Te digo. I didn’t do shit.”

“That’s what you think. Pero, how you feel disrespected by guys” Daisy makes air quotation sings with her fingers, “from the other side of town, she feels you disrespected her. And she wants revenge.”

She resumes slapping and scrubbing his arms with the romero. Then she slaps him upside the head with the fragrant herbs. Le da cachetadas with it.

“Hey, careful,” says Casimiro with leaves of romero in his mouth. She scrubs his face and bald head with the stuff as if it’s Head & Shoulders. She moves to his midsection and from there to his crossed legs. She tells him to get up, so she gets his back and butt.

“Almost done,” le dice. She reaches into the pocket of her robe and pulls out the egg she got from the kitchen. She rubs him with the egg in a circular motion, ever so careful not to drop it. She starts at his head and meticulously works her way down to his feet, never missing any body part. “Okay”, -she tells him. “Sit down again.” This time, they both sit cross legged. She grabs the copalero with the smoldering bud and dumps the neon-red ashes in her Sin City ashtray. “Let’s see who did this,” she says. She breaks the shell of the egg on her bed frame and dumps the bilious thick yolk into the copalero. The egg begins to fry like their mom’s huevos estrellados. They simultaneously, almost bump their heads, peeking inside the copalero.

The egg begins to fry into an image. The brown yolk in the sunny side egg shows the old lady in the black rebozo whose puppet Casimiro broke rearranging knick-knacks in her shop. She has her back turned to them.

“I knew it was that hag!” Casimiro loudly proclaims.

“Shut up, pendejo! bellows Daisy, irritated with him. She can't stop shaking her head at him. The figure in the yolk puts down a barro jug. It turns around and faces them. And like in those scary movies from Asian directors featuring white creaky ghouls, the black rebozo instantly appears upon the face of the yolk globe.

“Hueles eso? Jorge asks his wife sitting on the couch watching the championship soccer match. Alma takes a whiff.

“No querido. No huelo nada.”

“Pos’ yo sí. At this point in the match, Jorge is four tall boys in and clamoring for a release of frustration as his team is losing two to five. He explodes off his recliner, never minding his chihuahua on his lap, and makes a beeline for the hallway. Alma follows closely. He violently opens the door to Casimiro’s room. Nobody. His fat nostrils grow. The smell is coming from somewhere else.

“I, I can’t breathe!” Casimiro holds his neck and then flails his hands up and down like he’s attempting to fly with his wrists. The figure wearing the rebozo in the yolk tilts its head to one side.

“Ah hell Nah!” Daisy loudly asserts. She gets up and closes her eyes. Dust from Daisy’s desk, smoke from the bud, and leaves from the romero begin to churn in a frustrated orgy of matter. The gusts of air turn off the candles. She opens her eyes.

“De aquí!. De aquí viene el humo,” Jorge declares, inserting the tip of his nose in the crevasse between Daisy's door and doorframe. No vaya a empezar esta cabrona también.” He reaches for the door handle and begins turning it. Alma flicks her finger in the air like flicking a booger off her fingertip and Jorge's feet go out from under him. He falls to the floor like a novice ice skater. “Ay, chingados,” he says. He lies on the floor resembling a lumpy bag of Mesquite. No sé qué pasó?”

“¿Estás bien, querido?” Alma asks half-heartedly.

“Sí, sí,” he responds, seemingly pulling himself up from his fajo de cuero.

Daisy extends her arms and with her hands squishes imaginary masa in the air like Abuela would when prepping the grounded cornmeal for tamales on Christmas Eve. Back and forth she works the air. The image in the yolk grips her neck as fast as Daisy can amasar. Meanwhile, Casimiro slumps on the floor, leaning on his elbows, trying to catch his breath. He looks up and sees his sister in the eternal struggle that is amasando la masa. He regains his composure and sees the black rebozo occulting the bruja’s face as it spontaneously combusts. The rebozo is left like ash like the tip of a burning cigarette abandoned on a window seal. And like a burning cigarette that gets hit with a gust of wind, it crumbles off her gingerly. Casimiro sees the bruja’s face  and can’t believe his eyes. The bruja has his sister’s face! Daisy’s face!

Jorge turns the door handle to Daisy’s room. The bruja’s eyes begin to roll back, turn white, and her head begins to slump forward. Foam begins to bubble out of the mouth of Daisy's double in the egg yolk. Jorge opens the door in a mountain lion’s rage, it slams up against the wall leaving an indentation of the of the lock. Alma snaps her fingers. The smoke stifling the air instantly evaporates. Sandalwood incense sticks light up. The candles with the Catholic saints roll under the bed and the sheet soars from the floor and covers the barro altar. The romero and mezcal bottle roll under the sheet covering the altar (y es mejor porque si no, se la tomara Jorge). Jorge is so in the rage and peda of the moment that he doesn’t notice shit going on around him. Daisy's eyes revert to their normal brownish hue.

¿Qué chingados están fumando? asks an enraged and drunk Jorge to Casimiro sitting on the floor and to Daisy standing in a stupor next to her bed.

“Yo no huelo nada, querido, says, Alma standing behind her husband. Jorge takes another whiff. The smell of sandalwood incense is heavy in the air now. Daisy completely snaps out of it.

“No estamos fumando, Apá. Como crees que usaría esa cosa,” responds Daisy, posturing daddy’s little girl.

“Yeah, Apá,” interjects Casimiro. “Daisy was just showing me the cool new Aztec book she bought in Guadalajara. And to get in the mood, she burned some incense.” Casimiro, without knowing for a  fact that it’s there, sticks his hand under Daisy’s bed and pulls out a worn copy of Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis. “Ya ves Apá. This is lo que me estaba enseñando.” Jorge stared at the book. He’s speechless like a believer goggling at a U.F.O. He looks around her room, grasping for the elusive joint, pero nada. Alma spots the copalero with the huevo frito still inside of it. With her foot, she slides it behind her, all slick-like.

“Pues yo no sé,” a frustrated Jorge announces, scratching his head. “¡Gooooool!” the TV announcer is yelling. “¿Gol? Ya me voy. Estoy perdiendo el juego.Jorge stomps out defeated.

Alma bends down and reaches for the copalero. She inspects it, rotating it in her hand. “Está bonito, she says, admiring the small clay artifact. “A mi, me gusta usar el molcajete. Le cabe más copal.” Like pounding a tall pilsner glass of IPA, she downs the egg in one gulp.

“Le falta sal,” she remarks, wiping the side of her mouth with her hand. She dusted her hips, fixed her flowered dress, and walked out of the room. Daisy and Casimiro look at each other asbewildered, as their father was a moment ago. That was the last day Casimiro underestimated Daisy or treated her like someone insignificant. Never again was she relegated to his olvido.

The brown owl with the big yellow eyes and wicked scowl is outside sitting on the family's infertile guayaba tree. Through the orange and purple glare of sunset reflected on the bedroom window, it observes Daisy and Casimiro while cleaning its feathers.


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