Who Doesn’t Like Strawberries by Judge Santiago Burdon

Judge Santiago Burdon, Short Stories

Who Doesn’t Like Strawberries

“What do you mean I don’t have any future left, I’ve used it up? How is that even possible?” I questioned.  I had no clue as to what  she was talking about. It  was a challenge to just listen to her rant with the monster hangover I was nursing. Now I had to make sense of what the Hell she meant by  her statement. Please just shoot me my dear and put me out of your misery.

” You’ve spent it, you’re overdrawn. Similar to a cat using all nine lives, only it’s your destiny I’m referring to. It’s been wasted, squandered, and mismanaged. Kismet has given up, thrown in the towel. Get it smart guy?”

She motions pointing to her head while making a goofy face.

“Besides your checkered past clashes with my pastel colored future, so this relationship or whatever it is, has reached its end.”

” So help me to understand what you’re saying. The fate of my  future was that I would run out of destiny.  I am without any tommorows because I’ve used them up in my yesterdays? Fate is determined at birth. My destiny however is determined by my actions; it can’t be possible. Sounds like Bullshit to me!” I motion with my finger pointing to my ass.

 ” Have you joined the Church of Scientology again? Is this your Thetan talking? You’re sounding a lot like my mother, only she’d mix in some Jesus shit and top it off with some mystic witchy stuff. What is happening here I’m completely confused?”

Why is  it when relationships end it  always deteriorates into name calling with intention to cause emotional scars?  I would much rather walk away knowing the time we spent together was a wonderful ride that just ran out of road. This screaming and assigning blame is vindictive.

” And there it is, Mr. Negative putting down a religion he knows nothing about.”

” Hey I’ve done my research and have developed an opinion based on deductive reasoning.  Did you know L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction author before establishing the Church of Scientology? Gives you an idea of how he came up with the doctrine for the religion. You sincerely believe you are an extraterrestrial being? You want to know what really bothers me, is who goes around calling themself L.Ron Hubbard? I find it extremely pretentious using an initial for your first name. Why? Doesn’t he like the name the L represents? Are we supposed to guess the name? Does he think it adds an air of mystery about him?  It’s like e.e. cummings or T.S. Eliot, what the fuck is that all about. Why is it that if I’m not in favor of or advocate a movement or dislike something it means I’m negative?  You didn’t like  “The Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down”  which is on my favorite movies list and I didn’t give you any shit about your opinion. You don’t like strawberries, do I accuse you of being a negative person because of your dislike of  strawberries? No, although now that I think about it, it should’ve been a clue to your negative demeanor.”

“How the hell did we get to talking about this shit? I’ll admit Santiago you do have a talent for twisting a conversation into some obscure subject. I can’t do this anymore.  You should have seen this coming.” 

” How could I have seen it coming? I can’t determine my future if there isn’t any. Let’s not do this.  If you are no longer enamored with me please just say so and leave it at that. There’s no need for this destructive rhetoric, it’s not a healthy or worthwhile practice. Also, this isn’t my first breakup, so I’m sort of an expert. I’ve become immune to the derogatory dialogue and insults.”

” I’m more than sure of that. You’re a professional when it comes to this. Of course you’ve built up an immunity after all the relationships you’ve sabotaged.” 

There’s no winner in these types of frays. I’m truly sorry she has built up such loathing for me. However I’m completely without any clue as to what the hell happened here. It seemed to me we were enjoying each other’s company just yesterday.  Maybe she’s on her… no I’m not going to say it. Really? Y’all want me to mention it during this argument?  I’m at times a bit dense when dealing with women but I have learned there’s never a right time to ask the wrong question or to answer truthfully when asked your opinion, especially concerning her appearance.  All women want you to lie, it’s the one of the many unwritten laws of relationship survival. And all of you want to see me persecuted. You heartless bastards. You’ll have to wait for your sick entertainment at my expense in some other story.

” I’m still without a clue as to your sudden decision to break-up.  I do want you to know I cherish you. You are the complete package and the man that wins your heart is truly fortunate.”

“Stop with the sweet talk. I’ve practiced this dissertation for quite awhile, My mind is made up.” 

‘Well that’s disheartening to hear. How long have you been practicing?”

” I’m sorry Santiago, I don’t mean to act like such a bitch. I feel so… I don’t know,.. I’m sorry if I hurt you.”

” I’m more disappointed than hurt. I need to know the reason. Let’s not make this any more unpleasant than it already has become. I think it’s better we don’t continue with spilling any more bad blood.”

” I’ve got one question I would appreciate you answering honestly.

I found your passport in your Blazer before I took it to the drycleaners and I looked inside. You have been everywhere in Central and South America as well as Mexico numerous times in the past three years. Then I found a second passport from Canada with a different name, your picture and the same destinations. What’s up with you? What kind of work do you do? You disappear for days with no communication then appear back without an explanation. You always speak Spanish when you’re on the phone. And that friend of yours, that Donny Rico guy, there’s something seriously wrong with him. He is definitely mentally ill, no joke. Have you ever looked into his eyes? They are so empty without a spark of life in them. He’s definitely an alcoholic and a drug addict. What do you see in him?” 

“It’s Johnny not Donny.” 

” What? You lied about his name?” 

” No you misinterpreted his name. Johnny is my friend, my only friend and would never hurt anyone I was associated with. I never made condescending  comments about your psycho bitch friends. Talk about basket cases, they’re the most judgemental, self-righteous, backstabbing, delusional and evil women I’ve ever encountered.

Johnny has always been polite and courteous to you as well as respectful, isn’t that true?” She nods her head yes.

“Your friends treat me like a leper.  What am I doing? I’m beginning to get defensive.”

” So what’s up with you? What do you do for work? Are you going to tell me or not?”

“Why is it of any concern to you now? Since we are no longer together  I don’t feel I owe you any explanation.  And I’m feeling a bit violated that you invaded my privacy.”

“Why is it such a big secret? What, are you a spy? A secret agent like James Bond? Santiago please, just because I’m pretty doesn’t mean I’m stupid.” She opens a drawer in the desk then hands me the two passports.

” Do you want to know what I think?

” No, not at all. I’m not interested. In fact I should begin packing up and find a place to stay.”

” You don’t have to leave immediately, tomorrow morning will be fine. I’m not going to kick you out until you’ve found a place.” She sits down next to me on the sofa and grabs my hands.

” I asked my cousin Rodney he is an  Officer with the Border Patrol, he said most likely someone with that type of background with multiple passports is probably a drug dealer or someone smuggling contraband of some kind.”

” You asked who, what about me? Are you fucking insane? Your cousin is a Federal Officer? You didn’t! You can’t be serious.”

” He’s not like a real cop or anything like that, he’s Border Patrol.’

” Well tell all the guys doing time for drug busts that the Border Patrol aren’t real cops.”

“I didn’t mention your name or give him any information that would implicate you.  Listen, I know you’re a drug dealer. Not the kind that sells to people out in the streets. No, you’re one of those movie type characters dealing in the big stuff. There’s a name for them but I can’t think of it right now.”

” What like a, “Narco Traficante”? 

I blurt out. What the fuck is wrong with me? I leave my passports in my jacket for her to find and now I identify myself as a drug trafficker. Damn I’m a real tough nut to crack, and to top it off, I’m in a relationship with a woman who has a Federal Police  Officer in the family. 

” Yes! Yes, that’s it, Narcotics guy. Well are you? Tell me I promise not to tell anyone. Please. It’s hard to believe because I’ve rarely seen you do drugs and you never seem to have much money.  Tell me!”

I wasn’t about to disclose any more information than I already had. For some unknown reason I can’t come up with an embellishment to explain my vocation.

” Well that’s just God Damn great! You’re a real piece of work. If I was a Drug Dealer you would be in deep shit right now. Believe me you’d be on someone’s hit list. What the fuck were you thinking? I’m packing up and leaving now. My work never mattered for the eight months we’ve been together, why now has it become such an issue?”

“Why are you so upset? If you aren’t a Trafficker there should be nothing to worry about.  This is the reason I’ve decided to end our relationship, you are a mystery, I still don’t know who you are after being together for close to a year, not six months, genius. Sometimes I watch you while you’re sleeping and it seems you  never relax, your body is always jerking and twitching. I wonder if you’re chasing after butterflies or being chased by some monster, in your dream. When your son Nigel visited at Christmas he told the story of how all of your children were afraid to wake you from sleeping because you would abruptly jump up with your fists clenched in an aggressive posture. So they would use a broom handle and poke you from a safe distance then run out of the room. Everyone thought it was hilarious and laughed, except me. I thought it was sad thinking about what would cause someone to react that way. I asked Nigel later that night and he told me about your  childhood with your father and your time in prison. Santiago, the reason for me ending our relationship is that I’m falling in love with you. Why I said you have no future is that you seem to live only for the day, for the present, for the right now. You don’t ever talk or make plans for the future or for our future. I feel lost, need some security in my life. Who knows what could happen with the life you lead. You’re here one moment and then you vanish in a flash. You could be killed, busted, arrested or decide to just never come back, leaving me alone. How has anyone ever been able to risk a relationship with you? Oh that’s right they’ve all given up. Don’t you want a mellow life, a safe place, a home with someone who will be there for you, to take care of you, someone to love you?”

“And where could I find such a person? I’m not sure if that type of life is what I want at this time. I did the marriage thing, the house, the eight to five job, the family. I failed miserably at all of it. I’m grateful that my children were able to survive the fiasco, coming through it apparently unscathed. I’m not in favor of doing it all over again. The good side of having made a mistake is that you know when you’re doing it for the second time.”

Tell me what it is you are searching for in life. What do you want?”

‘ What do I want? I want a woman with the faint taste of cocaine on her lips. A kiss that takes my breath away. A cool summer breeze in her touch. Her hair with the smell of a far off rain, skin smooth like a river stone. Her laughter, the sound or Church bells at midnight, ocean waves splashing in her eyes, a hint of confession in her lies, her breath with the aroma of oven baked bread and can throw a mean punch.”

” Get out! Now go you Son of a Bitch!” Those were the last words I heard from her.

” Thanks for picking me up Johnny. I knew things wouldn’t work out with her. It’s all for the best. She’s got a cousin or uncle who’s a Captain in the Border Patrol.  Then she tells him about my passports and my travels for the last few years to Mexico and Colombia. And to end it all she called me a son of a bitch. Can you believe that shit?”

” No way? I know your mother was a very  nice lady. Maybe you should want me to get rid of her for you? Make the problem go away.”

” What the hell is wrong with you Rico?  You’ve been watching movies again, haven’t you. What, “Scarface” or “Blow”?  No, I don’t want you to do anything to her. You got it?”

“Yo entiendo. But I never like that womens. She always stares at me real strange. She kinda freaked me out. I’m happy you’re not with her anymore.” 

” Where did you get this car? Why aren’t you driving the van we used for the run?”

” Well somewhere I lose the keys and the rental guy can’t come till tomorrow with new keys. So I borrow this ride from the hotel parking garage.”

” You stole this car?”

” No, I borrow it to pick you up!” 

” Oh Rico! What am I going to do with you?”

” Why? What you wanna do?”


Venus Envy Judge Santiago Burdon

Flash Fiction, Judge Santiago Burdon

When I lived in New Orleans a long while ago, my Dame de Mois at the time, Simone, gave me a Ledbury dress shirt for my birthday. It was magenta with the inside collar and cuffs in a subtle eggshell hue. I was excited to try it on and model it for her. The process of opening a new dress shirt is tedious. I have always been curious as to why they use so many straight pins in new shirts. I began pulling out the pins and putting them in a nearby empty beer can. 

       ” Don’t throw them away!” She screamed. “Give them to me, I save straight pins!” 

       ” Why the hell would you want to save all these pins?” I inquired

       ” I use them on my Voodoo dolls.” She smiled in a scary sort of way. 

       ” What the hell are you talking about? Are you telling me you’re a witch?” 

       ” I don’t particularly care for the word “witch,” I’d prefer Wiccan,

it would describe me much better. Witch has many denotations and has been popularized in books, movies and in fairy tales. Most often we are portrayed in an evil or wicked manner, which is not the case.”

       ” So you practice Magic, like casting spells and mixing up potions?”

       ” Well yes but it isn’t sinister like you’re making it sound. Are you familiar with the Wicca Religion and practices?”  

       “Somewhat, but I’m not as knowledgeable as I wish I was now.”

       “We aren’t evil or Satan worshipers, I’m a good witch not a bad witch, celebrating nature as well as the Moon and planets.

       ” I appreciate your attempt to make me feel comfortable, but the good witch, bad witch reference doesn’t help, it reminds me of the “Wizard of Oz” movie. That damn movie caused me a great amount of anguish as a child ; witches, those damn flying monkeys and all those dwarfs, midgets or little people, whatever is the politically correct name for them, it really freaked me out. My mother made us watch it every Thanksgiving back in Chicago and the song “Over the Rainbow” sent me into a panic and state of fear whenever I heard Judy Temple sing it.”

       ” No Santi, it’s Judy Garland who sang it, not Shirley Temple, you mixed them together.” 

       “See what I mean. A perfect example of how just talking about it causes me distress. “

       It was the first and last time I wore the shirt.

I don’t believe in Witchcraft, God, astrology, ghosts, angels, ESP, tarot, numerology, palmistry or mediums, werewolves, vampires and all the other Pseudo-sciences. I haven’t made a decision on whether or not Bigfoot exists. If so, he is the “Hide and Seek” world champion. I have experienced mystic, paranormal events since we’ve been together for which I can find no logical explanation. 

       I met Simone at a gathering to celebrate the Movie Premiere for ;”Interview With The Vampire.”. I was excited at the opportunity to meet Anne Rice. She autographed my copy of the book which I lost long ago. I was invited to the “Gala Event” by Richard DuBois, a college roommate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, who was now a Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University. It was the perfect subject for him to be teaching, the reason being he was always so full of bullshit. And that’s exactly what I believe Philosophy to be, “Bullshit.”

       I was in a conversation with a group of people discussing Vampires as well as other supernatural beings when the subject of witches and Marie Laveau, New Orleans most famous witch came up. New Orleans is known for its large population of practicing witches, with Witchcraft as a registered religion in Louisiana. I mentioned Nietzsche’s book” Beyond Good and Evil,” and his quote referring to witches.

“Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all guilt”. -Friedrich Nietzsche. No sooner than I had finished speaking, there she stood in front of me, materializing from the shadow of a Magnolia tree (Magnolia grandiflora) created with help of the brilliant light of a full moon.

       She was an absolute vision of loveliness, with facial features that were hauntingly familiar. She reminded me of someone I knew but I couldn’t recall who or from where. 

       ” Good evening I’m Santiago. Have we met before? You look strikingly similar to someone.”

       ” Hello I’m Simonetta, Simone for short. I don’t believe we’ve met but it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Santiago.”

       ” I apologise for being so forward and this isn’t a pickup line, I have a strong feeling as though you’re a pleasant memory and if we haven’t met before , we should get to know one another.”

       “I hope it’s not a pickup line because it isn’t very clever and lacks originality. I do enjoy making new friends.”

       ” Wonderful, I don’t bite, well not immediately.” I joked

       We strolled about the garden in the moonlight, immersed in intimate conversation which felt strangely comfortable even though we had just met. Simone knew things about me I had rarely shared with anyone. I found the insightful knowledge she revealed about me astounding. My turbulent childhood, my failed marriage and incredible children, my work and the dangers involved. She even knew I was a Musician and that I played both Guitar and Piano, it was as if she was reading my soul. The experience was in some manner tantric as though we had been sexually intimate. 

       We returned to the reception hall discovering most of the guests had left and our stroll had consumed close to two hours. 

The building was adorned with some very interesting Art. We took a moment to admire the paintings before parting company.

       ” Do you enjoy Art Santiago?”

       ” Yes, with a passion. I’ve gone to a variety of Art Openings and visited Art Museums in quite a few countries. The Louvre in Paris, The National Gallery in London, Art Institute in Chicago but my all time favorite is the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. I’ve got it ! I know why you seem so familiar. Do you know anything about the Artist Botticelli?”  

       “As a matter of fact I know that he painted the “Birth of Venus” and he was Italian.”

       “You’re exactly correct. Did you know he used the same model for most of his paintings. “The Primavera” and “The Birth of Venus” are among his most popular works of art. They both hang in the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy. Do you know what is incredibly strange? The model he used in both of those paintings was named Simonetta. Your resemblance to her is as if you are her twin. You’re absolutely a work of art, a true angel without wings.”

“Now that’s a great pickup line. You’re getting much better.”

“If I may ask, just exactly how old are you?” 

“Sometimes I feel like I’m older than time itself.”

       Simone possessed a celestial angelic air about her that drew me to her as though I was bewitched. There was a distance in her eyes, when I gazed into them it was as though she had cast a spell. I’d drift off to a place where the night comes to rest and the stars go to dream. I should’ve had some idea of her association with Witchcraft, now that I think about it, there were numerous clues I didn’t pickup on.

       We visited Audubon Park often and I was impressed by her knowledge of plants. She knew the Latin name for every tree and flower. She had a large herb garden in her yard and worked at an Herb Shop. She knew the healing power of each and every herb and what malady it cured. Licorice root was prescribed for me by Simone for my Asthma and Heartburn. I’m not sure if it actually helped, because I am a horrible patient never obeying directions, opting for Scotch, Marijuana, Cocaine and Vicodin as well as other recreational drugs. I never thought it strange how she referred to all drinks as a potion. Coffee, juice, tea were all potions, I assumed it was just an eccentric reference. We enjoyed a wonderful relationship, I can recall only one argument in the entire eight months we’d been together. The sex was sensational, it was as though it was a spiritual experience at times. Our souls wrapped together as one.

She was born on the Spring Equinox celebrating both her birthday and the change of season. The practice of worshipping the cycles of the moon, the change of seasons and basically all of nature is an important part of the Wicca Religion.

We once attended a “Handfast Ceremony” for one of her close friends in her coven, which was actually a Wedding Ceremony.

       ” Santi, I thought you were aware of my practice of witchcraft and accepted it. You were always so willing to participate in celebrations and ceremonies, I just assumed you knew. You never questioned or commented about my practice and didn’t express any objections. This doesn’t cause you to rethink us being together, does it?”

       ” The reason I never mentioned or questioned what was going on is quite possibly I didn’t want to know. I believed we were having such fun sharing in the celebrations together. You appeared to be so happy.” 

       ” Do you still love me? Do you?”

       I can’t recall if I’ve ever actually said that I loved her. Damn I hope we didn’t exchange “I love yous.” Everything seems to deteriorate in a relationship after that exchange takes place.

       “Simone you are everything and more than I ever experienced in a lover and I have never felt the way I do about you with anyone else in my entire life. It causes me to wonder if I may have been under some kind of spell or the influence of a potion of some kind. What am I saying, it couldn’t be possible, I don’t believe in Witchcraft.”

       Things were never quite the same between us after that day and my Ledbury shirt. 

A month later I received a call from my business partner who was now in Costa Rica offering me an opportunity to earn an enormous amount of cash for assisting in a Cocaine smuggling expedition. It seemed like a bad idea so naturally I accepted his invitation. One more last time.

 I decided to move from New Orleans to Costa Rica in a week and told Simone of my plans.

          ” A week! I’m not sure I can be ready in that short amount of time. There’s a lot I’ll need to take care of.'” She responded in an excited tone.

       ” It’s okay, I wasn’t planning on taking you with me.” 

       ” You mean I’m not coming with you to Costa Rica? You’re an insensitive bastard.”

She stomped off slamming the door then opening it and slamming it again. 

” Fuck you Santiago! Hope you get Dengue or Malaria or some other shit!”

My reason for not taking her with me is because of the danger associated with such an endeavor. If I were killed or busted, it would be a tragic episode filled with drama for her to have to deal with. Five years ago I was busted in Colombia and served almost three years in prison. I was in a relationship with a wonderful woman at the time who said she would wait for me. I wouldn’t burden anyone with such a torturous responsibility. I intended to explain to Simone why our relationship should be temporarily ended. I never had the chance, she wouldn’t take my calls or personally talk to me. I’ve always regretted my decision to move away from my Wiccan Venus.

       I did contract Dengue eight months later, spending a week in the hospital. Now and then I feel short stabbing pains especially in my groin area. A Doctor’s examination couldn’t determine a cause for the piercing pains. I had an idea as to the reason for the stabbing pains and the person that might be responsible. I just don’t want to think about it, write about it or say it out loud. I don’t believe in Witchcraft.

                                                                #END#

The Company I Keep by Judge Santiago Burdon

Flash Fiction, Judge Santiago Burdon

The  Company I Keep


I never had the courage to abandon my misery,  because it’s the only company that is able to put up with me. My thinking is that it’s better than being alone. So I pose for paintings, portraits of abuse in every color, a horrible chef but it is eat or starve, dressed in dirty baggy clothes torn and tattered, my pants ripped in the back exposing my ass so everyone can see what an asshole looks like, Spark up the joint, pass the crack pipe, fill the syringe with every drop of forget, are there any lies left in that Vodka bottle?  Enough of this crybaby  testimony, although I would like to offer one last thought, what I’ve discovered is the only truth is in the streets where I sleep, with new cardboard box smell and diesel exhaust, and if you listen closely in between car horns, sirens and screams, you can hear asphalt confessions whispering “Self-loathing is the sincerest form of flattery”  I just no longer get embarrassed from the attention.

The Key by Judge Santiago Burdon

International Noir, Judge Santiago Burdon, Short Stories

The Key

Kicking at the ground while I walked around a vacant lot in  the Inner City without purpose, I discovered under leaves, papers, grass clippings and scattered rocks a multitude of

bottle caps, cigarette butts, cans, and plastic bottles. Like an amateur Archeologist discovering pieces of a not so ancient civilization and their Socio-Economic status studying discarded and littered clues. My first reaction was the amount of littered pieces of their culture was left behind, which caused me to conclude the lot wasn’t as empty or vacant as previously thought. I wondered why I hadn’t found a single used condom since it seems they appear everywhere  I  go. I developed a hypothesis of a wasteful, apathetic and selfish culture unconcerned with preserving their habitat. 

Then on the ground near an ink pen, a green plastic lighter and the  skeleton of a pocket comb with missing teeth layed a key. Just a  key, I couldn’t see anything special about it at first. You could tell it  had been there for a long while from the rust it had collected over the years. Its shine was a bit tarnished but I could still read the brand name. I dug it out of the dirt and it left an impression of its shape. I became interested in the type of story the key might tell if it could communicate.

Did someone lose it? Was it thrown away no longer needed? What did it keep locked away?  

There wasn’t a key ring with other keys, only the single key.

I was keyless at the time without a key to a house, key to a car, or anything that needed a key. I did however have the key to the highway and the ability to sing in key.  I’ve been known to get  keyed up. I can still tickle the keys on a piano and type or text on the keyboard. I’ve smuggled

Keys of Marijuana ( nickname for Kilo, a unit of weight used in the Metric system) from Mexico to the Florida Keys, actually spelled Cayos. I’ve been to Key West where I ate the best Key Lime Pie ever. Who  doesn’t enjoy Key Lime Pie?  Never keyed a car, although mine has been keyed. I’m without a key to any kind of lock including the key to someone’s heart, which I believe should be a combination lock. My experiences in love and romance have caused me to re-key my heart far too often. 

The key to my parent’s house I once found no longer opened the door locks. They had re-keyed them after discovering they were robbed  of cash,  jewelry and other valuable items. I was the key suspect in the thefts due to my drug addiction. They believed I stole the items to fund my habit concluding very few drug addicts kept a steady job or had an income to support their addiction. They never directly accused me but never gave me a new key.  My father simply mentioned that I no longer needed one.  Truthfully I didn’t steal the items.

I  rubbed the key on  my pant leg trying to restore its luster. I held it above my head trying to catch the sunlight’s reflection causing it to sparkle. I had a key once again in my life and wondered if I ever found the lock would it still work?  It was then I realized the key does work! It has unlocked memories, thoughts and ideas from my imagination. I looked at the key in the palm of my hand, wrapped my fingers around it and held it tightly in my fist. Then I threw the damn thing as far as I could. I didn’t need anything screwing  up my life any more than it already was.

A couple of weeks later walking through the same lot I noticed the face of a watch without the band. I started to bend down to pick it up but stopped and let it  lay where it was. If I retrieved it, I was sure it would  turn out to be just wasted time.

Buenas Madrugada by Judge Santiago Burdon

Judge Santiago Burdon, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

PhotoFunia-1591088957Buenas Madrugada 

She just looks at me with these big charcoal eyes and doesn’t say a fucking word. She’s got a beer in one hand and a joint in the other and she’s sweating like a whore in church. The motel room has the AC cranked . It’s so cold you could hang meat. She stands there naked and paralyzed with fear. There’s another “Angel of the Night” passed out naked on the bed. The knocking at the door continues. It’s not the typical Cop knock . In the United States, Colombia and Mexico the Policia golpea con fuerza (knock with force).  But I’m in Perez Zeledon, San Isidro, Costa Rica and the knock is soft and unassuming. I begin to laugh at the bizarre spectacle taking place.

The knock is now accompanied by a male voice. ” Hello, it’s the Hotel Security please answer.” He orders. Just the security guard, I got this I tell myself. “Voy” I yell. The panic stricken girl takes refuge in the bathroom locking the door. I answer the uninvited visitor with a cheerful “buenas” after opening the door. ” Señor, I had a complaint about noise coming from this room.”  Who would complain about too much noise. I hear music loud talking and laughing leaking out from other rooms flooding the predawn darkness with sounds of precipitation. I make a sincere effort to handle the situation without causing a confrontation. “Yes no problem. I’m sorry for the disturbance.” I say in Spanish. “And a question. Is it possible you could give me a beer?” He asks. “Of course no problem.” I grab a cold cerveza and hand it to him. “Anything else sir?” I say. “If you have a cigarette I would like that very much.” He begs. I give him a couple of smokes, he shakes my hand and nods his head in a grateful manner. “Good night or morning.” I say while laughing. So the reason for his visit wasn’t about the noise. It was purely a search to satisfy his vices. Gotta love the Ticos constant quest for immediate self gratification and without ever saying “porfavor or gracias”.

I knock on the bathroom door. “Andrea todo bien mi amor. It was just the Security Guard asking for a beer. Everything is ok. Open the door Diosa.” I whisper. I hear the lock click and I turn the knob trying to open the door but she has blocked it with wet towels. I push with force and it gives way. I see her cowering in the shower shaking with a terrified expression. “Baby what’s going on with you? No more coca porti. Come’on Diosa get outta there. Take an oxaforte, it’ll make you feel better.” I offer “Bigotes soy muy high!” She informs me.

“I know baby, come on now. Who takes care of you?”

I have known Andrea for 5 years. She stole my heart the first time I spent a night and 50 dollars with her. It was Quepos Costa Rica on the Pacific coast when her cousin Diana introduced us. Sometimes there’s this connection, a fire, electricity between two souls. And there was truth in her flame no doubt in her spark. Unfortunately it always becomes convoluted and gets messy. The sheets , the libretto, the emotions and living. “I had her trapped between my skin and my soul”. Mana, Rayando el Sol.

She stands still holding the beer and joint then hugs me not with affection but with the emotion of a child seeking security. “You’re safe baby. You trust me , right” I say.

 “Si papi siempre contigo ( yes always with you).” She answers. I carry her to the bed and take the unlit joint from her hand but she refuses to relinquish the warm half can of beer. Yaneth, my other companion and friend of Andrea, wakes then heads to the bathroom. “Que hora es Bigotes? Es madrugada?” She yells from the bathroom. “Si yo creo. I believe so. And please keep it down. The Security Guard was just here complaining we are making too much noise.” And just as I ask her to be quiet and not play the music loudly she cranks up the volume on the TV and the music screams. She begins dancing and it’s difficult to stop the sexual display. Naked , with a body that would make men beg for just one chance to touch her gossamer skin. She’s fucking gorgeous and every move defines sensuality with refinement . I give Andrea an Oxaforte and Ambien to take the edge off. She swallows the pills with a hit of beer and gives me a tender kiss. ” Go ahead, I know you want her. I will watch.” She says. “It’s ok? Just me and Yaneth without you?” I ask.

 You must understand that there’s an etiquette or code of conduct when dealing with prostitutes, especially Ticas. A special client or boyfriend such as I am to Andrea is considered property or a possession. It’s a depraved twisted relationship where the doctrine only applies to my actions and not hers. She is a working girl and can fuck anyone she chooses for of course a price. Which is on a sliding scale depending how much she likes the client. Although if I fuck someone else especially a friend of hers, that’s a violation of the terms of the supposed agreement .

I was involved with a Tica off and on in a liaison de amor for a couple of years sometime ago. Vanessa was a working girl that considered my involvement with another woman as a betrayal . “If I fuck other women you say I am cheating on you. But it’s ok for you to fuck other men and I am suppose to accept your behavior. If you fuck other people then I fuck others.” I stated.

 “NO ! You fuck other women to have pleasure. To have an orgasm and pay her for that. Sex with others for me is work and not for pleasure.” She refuted. Of course I never believed for a moment that she didn’t at times enjoy her work. I just don’t subscribe to that type of logic. And so ended that relationship. However I discovered that school of thought was a widely practiced rule by many.

Yaneth continues to dance rubbing her tits against my face placing my hand between her legs. “VENGA BIGOTES FUCK ME! ” She implores. Andrea pushes me toward Yaneth. She buries my face in her breasts and sways gracefully to the music. “Un Chino porfa BEBE!” Yaneth demands.

Now a Chino for you rookies is yes the word for a Chinese person in Spanish but in street lingo it also identifies a cigarette minus some tobacco with cocaine added in and smoked. It’s a pleasant high which I prefer over smoking crack. Crack instantly takes me to a level of euphoria that makes it impossible to function socially.

I comply with her request and twist up a monster removing the filter and inserting a small piece back in its place. I look at Andrea and she appears relaxed having opened another beer. I can’t believe she’s still awake. She smiles and extends her hand for me to pass her the Chino. “I don’t think so baby. A half-hour ago you were freaking out. Wait a while and pass on this one ok?” Then it happens! A Tica pissed off for being told what she can and cannot do by a man is considered disrespectful. She objects with a display of anger that would make a weaker man tremble in terror. “Who are you to tell me no! You’re not my husband or my father. You can’t tell me what to do.” She screams. I immediately hand her the Chino and strike a flame with the lighter and she inhales then passes it to Yaneth. She takes a hit and passes back to Andrea completely by-passing me. “Hey what’s going on here? What about the Gringo? Are ya gonna share?” I protest. They both start laughing and hand the chino to me. Yaneth starts kissing Andrea and pulls down the sheet uncovering her Goddess like naked body. Now we’re back to the original game plan I say to myself. I take a short hit and pass it back to Andrea who blows me a kiss. “Te amo Bigotes.” Andrea sings. Just at this moment in time, it can all change in the flutter of a Butterfly’s wings. “Yo tengo tu amor. I got your love. Yo tengo tu amor. Yo tengo tu love.” The song serenades from the music video on the TV. Who said the darkest hour is always just before the dawn? They were so far off course. “Buenas madrugada.” I say.  Hope there are no interruptions.

Jeopardy On Easter by JUDGE SANTIAGO BURDON

Flash Fiction, Judge Santiago Burdon, Non-fiction, Punk Noir Magazine

PhotoFunia-1591088957Jeopardy On Easter 

My oldest son Nigel and I went to an Easter Worship Service at a Christian Church with my cousin’s family. We were visiting for the holiday and I thought it polite to accept his invitation to attend the service. I believe it was a Methodist Church. “There’s a Methodist to the madness.” My son was  maybe nineteen years old at the time and had never attended a  Christian Church Service.  Unlike my daughter McKenzie who at age 11 became fascinated with all types of religions. She became obsessed with Buddhism but was confused by why it was defined by some as a religion and considered by others as a way of life.

” How can there be a religion without there being a God to worship?” She questioned.

” I’m not sure what the rules are according to the Religious Practices Counsel?” I answered.

” There’s no such organization. You just made that up. Didn’t you?”

” Yes I did McKenzie. I was without a logical explanation to your question, so I made it up.”

She was correct, however Buddhism is not a religion but a “Way of Life”. And there is no Central Deity or God. Someone had definitely been doing her homework. My children certainly kept me on my toes when it came to answers to questions on  a wide variety of subject matter. Sometimes it seems as if I was a contestant on a  Game Show,  constantly having questions fired at me.

“I’ll take Potpourri for Five Hundred Dollars Alex.”

McKenzie being the inquisitive skeptic she was, a trait inherited from none other than myself, decided we would attend a different Church every Sunday until she was satisfied she had enough information to make an educated decision on God and religion. I was excited to accompany her on the Odyssey. We did the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness, LDS, Jewish,(which she enjoyed most) Christian Reformed, Baptist, you get the idea. Luckily her interest diminished right before Football Season started. Evidently the whole business of religion and the worship of a sadistic, mystical entity became unappealing. She focused on Beads, Bead Stringing and Semi-precious Stones. This  pleased her mother being she owned a Bead Shop and is a talented jewelry designer also teaching classes. I was becoming exhausted and uninspired being dragged around Tucson every Sunday.  I looked forward to being able to enjoy my hangovers.

The sermon was lengthy and uninspiring delivered by a monotoned Minister to a yawning congregation.

The stage was filled with scenery representing the miraculous event which was assembled for a play to be performed by the Sunday School class . There was an imitation cave structure with a large boulder set off to the side. For some reason Nigel was fascinated and puzzled by the cave with the large rock.

” Hey Santi, I understand about the cross and Roman Soldiers and all but what does the cave have to do with it?”

” Well son understand that after the Jesus guy was crucified on what they refer to as Good Friday.”

” If they killed him why is it called Good Friday?”

” Great observation. Let me finish and I’ll address that issue.”

I went on with my explanation.

“The body of Jesus was given to his followers and they placed his corpse in the cave.  Then they rolled the large rock in front of the entrance so no one could desecrate the grave. After three days a miracle occurred some say witnessed only by Bartholomew a disciple of the once Jew now Christian, Jesus.”

” Just tell me, don’t go making stuff up.”

” The rock had been rolled away and Jesus came back to life then arose into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God.”

” No way. Tell me the truth!”

I told my children any information I revealed would always be the truth.  I never wanted them to be armed with incorrect information. If they repeated my statement it would be factual. It would be the truth.

” Nigel that is exactly what happened the best I’m able to describe. Well, as told in the Bible the book of a thousand fantastic fairy tales and unsubstantiated stories.”

“So you’re saying all these people believe that story? All Christians in the world believe it?”

” Yes son I swear to you it is what they believe. That’s just one instance of an unbelievable event. There are many more..”

” No way. What’s wrong with them? How can they believe such a fable?”

” They call it faith. I call it gullibility.”

” The Easter Bunny is more believable than the  Jesus Christ story.” He continued. ” Now what’s with the Easter Bunny delivering colored eggs? Can you please make sense of how this all fits together? Why isn’t there an Easter Chicken?”

“I’ll take Paganism for one thousand Alex. Oh boy a Daily Double!”

Gay For A Day by Judge Santiago Burdon

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Judge Santiago Burdon, Punk Noir Magazine

PhotoFunia-1591088957Gay For A Day

 

My son Dashiel invited me to the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco. He was participating in the Fandango as a person on one of the floats. I was thrilled he wanted  to share this event with his father, so I enthusiastically accepted his invitation. I flew into Oakland instead of the SFO in an attempt to avoid the throngs of people arriving for the celebration.

The City of Oakland has always fascinated me.  It was once the Headquarters for the Black Panthers , Jack London had lived here and wrote his stories. The most notable fact is that it is the home of my favorite NFL team the Oakland Raiders.

I made the decision to rent a car which seemed like a good idea at the time. It would later prove to be a poor choice being that San Francisco has a more than efficient mass transit system in place.

There was a promotion available by the rental agency for a budget priced Toyota Prius and I readily took them up on their offer.

The car was smaller than I’d had been accustomed to driving and other cars in traffic were so much larger causing some concern. I wasn’t sure if they could even notice me and as the message displayed in my sideview mirrors warned… objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

I made my way over the East Bay Bridge into San Francisco to meet my son at Washington Square. Amazingly I arrived at my location near the Cable Car Museum without an incident. A parking space opened up just as I  rounded the block and I parked the mini-mobile with ease into the space.

I walked across Stockton Street to  Park Tavern where I was to meet Dashiel. I was 15 minutes early for our agreed meet up time and wasn’t expecting him to be there since being punctual wasn’t one of his strong characteristics. I noticed him immediately looking so much like a man. We hadn’t seen one another in over ten years since my daughter’s funeral.

His signature Hollywood smile radiated throughout the tavern after he saw my reflection in the mirror behind the bar.

“Hey Santi you made it! I was worried you’d run into some type of problem as usual.” He said with a laugh.

” I’m happy to report that I didn’t encounter a single dilemma.”

He stood and gave me a hug that didn’t seem to last as long as I would have liked. I’m so in esteem of my son for the person he has become. My emotions are a mix of pride, joy and melancholy and they begin  to surface but I quash those feelings not wanting to sully our reunion. I ask if  he would like a late lunch before heading to his apartment in the Mission District. He accepts and we pour down a few brews with our Bar Burgers and  head out to the Micro-Mobile.

“We grab the bus on the other side of the park.” Dashiel instructs.

“Oh I rented a car! They had a screaming deal at the rental agency, I couldn’t pass it up.”

” Really? Ok,well you’re going to end up wasting more time searching for a parking spot than it would take to ride a bus.”

There it was! My son lecturing and advising me on my poor decision. I learned early in our relationship that we were much more than just father and son. Even at a young age he served as a teacher, a prophet of sorts enlightening me.. There is so much we can learn from our children. I respected his opinion and ideals and he accepted mine I think.

He often defended my acts of indiscretion that caused the

family,  relatives and acquaintances considerable agitation.

“It’s not all his fault. Life has always had it out for Santiago. He is at the mercy of fate’s left hand.”

No one ever questioned his logic.  He seemed to enjoy the part I played in his life. For Father’s Day one year,  I received a greeting card he created with a photo taken of me sitting down  between two scantily clad prostitutes at a bar I once owned. Their ass cheeks exposed  facing the bar with their backs to the camera,

me facing the camera with a pleased expression. The caption read; ” My father is not a role model. He is a cautionary tale. Happy Father’s Day Santiago.”

It is a gift I shall always cherish.

We reach the Tiny-Toyota and he erupts into a laughing jag pointing at the car in disbelief.

“What the fuck is this? This is what you rented a goddamn Prias? Never would have imagined you in a car like this.” He jokes  “Are you an Environmentalist now? This is definitely not you!”

I was a bit hurt by his sarcasm but understood the humor in his remark.

” Ya I know,  what  was I thinking?”

” You weren’t thinking. You were feeling. See, that’s the downside of emotion, it has no logic.”

“Hey Dash stop with the philosophy lesson. I’m having to deal with the consequence of my folly. I  know why my decision making has temporarily become unreliable.”

” Ya I know. I have heard your quote more times than I can remember.

“Most of my poor decisions were made when I was sober.,” It’s a great quote Santi and I’ve used it many times.  It always gets a great laugh and as you requested I always give you credit as the author. Let’s giddy up.”

We both squeezed into the Tonka “TOYota” pushing the seats to the farthest back position. He is six foot four or five inches tall and still unable to extend his legs. I entered the afternoon traffic with a questionable confidence in the abilities of other drivers. Then a SUV cuts me off just missing my driver’s side front fender while merging into my lane without a fucking signal.. I slam on the brakes pounding on the horn at the same time.

” Cocksucker.” I scream out the window.

“Ooo really, where is he?”

His comment causes me to laugh and at the same time it creates a disturbing vision in my mind.

” I think I threw up a little in my mouth from your comment Dash.”

He responds with a bout of hysterical laughter.

” You should know however the driver was a woman.”

He immediately stops laughing now with a disgusted expression.

” I think I threw up a little in my mouth. Thanks a lot.”

We’re both moved to tears from laughing.

” Dash I thought I’d get a Hotel room instead of staying at your place. That way you and your roommates won’t be uncomfortable or feel the need to alter their lifestyle.”

“Sure Santi if that’s what you want to do. Although my roommates are pretty low-key and know you’re cool. I’m the one who is famous for my acts of decadence. I inherited my depraved sometimes immoral behavior from none other than the master of epicurean conduct…my father.”

” Is that a compliment or are you using me as an excuse?  Let me fill you in…it’s a road riddled with potholes, unpaved sections with gravel, large rocks and boulders lining the way. I wouldn’t recommend anyone travel that particular stretch of highway.”

We reached the Renoir Hotel with moderately priced rooms and a time-worn charm located in the Tenderloin District near a unique Farmers Market. Dashiel headed home on the bus after I checked in. We agreed to have dinner together later and after visit some clubs to meet up with his friends.

I was excited to spend the night partying with my son and appreciated his willingness to introduce me to his friends. I quickly fell asleep tired from my journey, having three hours to recharge before hitting the San Francisco nightlife.

The phone startles me awake with a ring of astounding decibels of loudness. It’s Dash informing me he’s on his way and will arrive in twenty six to thirty four minutes. Strange reference to time. His way of wanting to be unique and eccentric which he is. The shower is delightful with a large shower head and great water pressure. I’m not able to enjoy the refreshing spray for long after hearing a knock on my door. I exit with a towel wrapped around my body dripping wet to answer.

” Is that you Dash? I just hung up with you.” I say while opening the door.

” Pardon me Mister Santiago I’m Frederick the concierge. Your son left a request at the front desk to wake you up personally. Is everything to your satisfaction?”

” Well Frederick I will not kill the messenger but I am a bit perturbed. I was in the shower.

I believe everything is to my liking. Thanks for asking.”

“Wonderful. If there is anything you need and I mean anything please don’t hesitate to ask. My name again is Frederick. Anything.”

He appeared to be a friendly sort of fellow, young and hopelessly hip, so against my better judgement which I seldom seem to use I decided to make a request.

“Anything you say!” He shakes his head yes.

” Can you find me an eight ball of Cocaine? No fucking trash! I’ll pay for quality. And deliver it here in half an hour?”

” Certainly, it’ll be my pleasure. You have cash?”

” Yes American dollars. So we’re on?”

“I’ll return in half an hour or sooner.”

I close the door shivering from the cool air, still wet from the shower. I’m not sure I demonstrated good judgement but I’ll  accept any  consequences that may result from my decision.

I’m clean shaven and dressed in a matter of five minutes. The view of the city is intoxicating, an abstract panorama of multicolored lights painting a masterpiece.

Still have a few minutes before Dash will be here, so I lie down on the bed and click on the Television. As soon as I get all cozy and comfortable there’s a knock at the door.

” Voy” I holler in a disgusted manner.

” It’s Frederick Mr. Santiago the concierge.”

” That certainly was quick. Are you liquid? Please come in ”

He smiles reassuringly while pulling the baggie from inside his vest.

” I’m sure you’ll be more than satisfied with the product. I got it from..”

I hold up my hand to stop him  from talking.

” I don’t need to know the details. It is not a good idea to relay sensitive information regarding the score. You don’t know who the fuck I am and the less I know the better. You understand what I’m saying? Uh see I forgot your name already.”

” My name is Frederick.”

” Okay nevermind.”

I inspect the package and it appears to be three and half grams almost all in one shiny rock. I dip my finger into the bag and place a taste on my tongue.

” I think We’re in good shape here guy. Good job. How much do I owe you?”

“Aren’t you going to do a line to test it?”

” I don’t think I need to at this time. I am going out for dinner and don’t want to ruin my appetite. You work here and I’m confident you wouldn’t rip me off. How much?”

” It’s one hundred and eighty. I know that’s a little pricey but I know you’ll be happy.”

I give the fellow two hundred and tell him to keep the change. After he leaves I repackage a fair amount to take with for the evening and hide the other away under a bureau drawer.

I kick back once again on the bed waiting for Dashiel. As my head hits the pillow there’s a knock at the door. I’m sure it’s my son this time and I open the door.

” Hey Dash,ready for dinner and a night on the town?”

” I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile. I was thinking we’d head over to Lolo’s for some Mexican. Does that sound good to you?”

” Excellent choice. Think we should take a Taxi. I’m not up for driving.”

We had the pleasure of a Japanese cabbie. He was a talkative gent from Japan having been in the United States for twenty five years.

I was surprised by his blatant prejudice of  the Chinese. He commented how pleased he was that we weren’t  going to Chinatown.

The Mission District is by far my favorite neighborhood in San Francisco.

Hispanic culture is alive and proudly displayed, along with a variety of Mexican Restaurants all with delicious cuisine. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Lolos as well as some engaging conversation pertaining to the days when we were a family. I was impressed by Dashiel’s memory of vacations and holidays spent with relatives. There is one event which occurred on vacation at SeaWorld in San Diego that is one of my favorite stories to relate concerning Dash. There is a large map of the United States painted on the concrete, each state marked with the name of the State Capitol. He was maybe five years old at the time and already quite intelligent. We all stood together on Arizona paying tribute to our home. Later in the day we lost Dasheil and notified Security immediately. We were desperately searching for our son when the location of where he might be came to me.

I quickly ran to the area with the large painted map, there was Dash waiting patiently to be found, standing on the State of Arizona.

We met up with some of Dashiel’s friends at The Stud one of San Francisco’s oldest gay bars. They were a diverse group of intelligent, amicable, humorous, talented and polite young adults. The future of the World would be left in good hands with these type of individuals. A method of determining a person’s character is knowing the company they keep. I was treated courtesly with a touch of teasing and taunting which I enjoyed. They seemed comfortable with my presence and it felt good to be accepted into the ranks. Although I was somewhat confused being referred to as a “Breeder” I never considered my heterosexual lifestyle as unordinary nor thought of a homosexual lifestyle being strange or unnatural. We are all residents of the same planet with different characteristics, beliefs and preferences living the same crazy life surviving adversity. There are enough negative vibes in the cosmos without adding hate for a sexual preference. I knew it was all in good fun and not intended to be hurtful. We all took turns singing karaoke. There were some excellent crooners in the crowd.

I wanted to catch a Drag Queen show but it was getting late and Dasheil had to be up early for the Parade. We’d have to catch the shows next night. I gifted the group with a generous amount of Cocaine we hadn’t consumed.

We return to the Hotel room and get tucked into our beds and after a few minutes I hear Dasheil start to giggle bursting into laughter.

“You okay over there Dash or having a humorous dream?”

“Sorry, I was remembering a time when we were on vacation heading to Wisconsin I  think. It was late at night, you were driving while we were asleep in the back. I remember McKenzie woke up and came up front with you. To keep her entertained you allowed her to play beautician and she placed a bunch of barretts, hair clips and ribbon with bows in your hair. You looked like a bad day at the beauty parlor but you told her she did a wonderful job. After an hour or so we made a pit stop at a Gas Station Restaurant. You exited forgetting about all the barretts and other things in your hair. Entering inside to pay for gas and a cup of coffee in the restaurant you returned to the van confused and embarrassed.”

” I remember the incident clearly.”

” Shauna, McKenzie and I watched through the window the reactions of people and you having no clue as to what it was they found so humorous.”

” After I looked in the rear view mirror I joined in the laughing. One of many times in my life I provided laughs for others at my expense. The memory was worth it though.”

” I love you Dad.” He whispered.

” You love who? You said Dad.”

” I know. Just thought you should know I think of you as my father although I always call you by your name.”

” That’s a good thing to know. I love you Dasheil. Good night son.”

Off to Dreamland we both traveled.

The phone rang with the sound of a Fire Alarm. A clanging instead of actual ringing. Of course Dashiel stayed sleeping undisturbed by the call. How is that some people can sleep through a damn hurricane or screaming sirens?  Myself, a light sleeper and one that always has trouble falling asleep. I’ve seen people sleeping upright in bus seats or on benches, concrete floors and in places filled with hundreds of different noises around them. I envy their ability to sleep under adverse conditions

I order room service for some coffee, English muffins with jam and orange juice. Actually I had an appetite for poached eggs but Dasheil has a strong dislike for them and gets sick to his stomach at the sight of them.

We wolf down the meager breakfast I showered first and was dressed in Superman changing time. Dashiel however took close to half an hour to make himself presentable for the Parade. He came out of the bathroom dressed in regalia fitted for a Drag Queen performance. The red boa accenting the colorful costume.

” You look incredible Dash. How’d you fit all those clothes in your small bag? I’m totally blown away by your costume.”

” Thanks. I was hoping you wouldn’t be critical of my dressing up like this.’  He looked at me with a disappointed expression. Causing me to answer with a defensive “What?”

” Is that what you’re wearing to the parade?’

” Yes. What are you saying?”

I was dressed as I normally do. I’m no fashion icon and I’m not trying to make a statement about who I am.

” You’re going to stick out like a bad penny in a pile of quarters. Hawaiian shirts are passe. The 60’s are long gone, dead. Sandals are an ancient statement of a Doc Martin mentality.”

” This is all I brought with me. What do you want me to do?”

” Wait let me get my makeup bag.”

Now there’s an expression I can bet most of  you would never expect to hear your son say. Understand how perfectly bizarre my life is. I am one lucky man to be part of this kind of experience. How fortunate I am to have my son’s confidence allowing me to participate in his lifestyle.

First he ties my shirt at the bottom exposing my stomach. Then he takes mascara and applies a generous amount on my eyelashes making them appear longer. Next some black eye shadow with a small amount of blush to my cheeks and finishing with a blue lip gloss. He hands me some long dangling  earrings  to replace the ones I have in my pierced ears.

“There ya go. Now you look presentable. And if anyone asks just say you’re a Chicken Hawk. They’ll get it.”

” Shouldn’t I have some wings to be a Chickenhawk?”

” Forget it. It’s not important.”

We grab a taxi and head to the Parade route. He has the Cab drop me off at a place along the parade route. Dash heads to the staging area where the parade floats start there run.  We had set a meeting place earlier for after the event.

There was an enormous crowd of spectators assembled on the streets. Together they created a kaleidoscope spectacle all in colorful costume.

The procession passed by with floats, supporting gay rights, lesbians, dykes, transvestites and transgendered. Everyone I encountered was friendly and in a gay mood. Someone handed me a large rainbow flag and instructed me to wave it enthusiastically as the media was on the scene. I was having a wonderful time and happy to be part of the celebration. Then I heard the music of one of Dashiel’s favorite songs. This had to be his float next to pass by.

“It’s raining men hallelujah. It’s raining men. Amen. Gonna run outside and get soaking wet. It’s raining men.”

There he was on top of an enormous float with the song blaring. They were all dancing and a few lip syncing the song.

The theme of the float confused me. There was a large fist displaying  the middle extended upright.  Only three words in large letters painted on each side and across the front and back “FUCK YOU DAD”  Dashiel noticed me in the crowd and pointed to me laughing while dancing on the float. He blew me a kiss and waved. I then understood the gist of intention was not a statement of our relationship but a declaration of what it didn’t represent. I began laughing as well with him applauding as he rolled by. What a great way for all those persecuted by their own father because of a trait determined by birth not by choice to express their feelings. I was filled with pride and elation. Our relationship was never poisoned because of his sexuality. To be truthful I believe I knew when he was at an early age that he was blessed. It never bothered me in the least. There was no long drawn out decision to ponder.

I began euthusiastiicly waving my gay pride flag. After a short while I began to sweat profusely from the exercise. A spectator standing next to me commented on my eyeshadow and mascara  running, giving me the appearance of a raccoon she said. I looked at my reflection in a store front window and she was correct. My makeup had run over my face and eyes now looking like I had lost a fight leaving me with black eyes. I looked ridiculous but had nothing to clean off the makeup.

So I returned to the formation of spectators and resumed waving my flag.

A woman reporter stepped in front of me with a cameraman behind her and asked if she could do a quick interview. I answered yes but had forgotten about  my appearance.

” Why aren’t you dressed as anything for the parade to express your gay pride?” she asked.

” I am.  I’m a Chicken Hawk.” I blurted loudly. ” It’s hard to tell without wings.”

Can you imagine how embarrassing it was being interviewed at the Gay Pride Celebration broadcast  on National television … looking as I did, with makeup running all over my face. I found out later a Chickenhawk in gay slang is defined as an older homosexual man that preys on young gay boys.

This event I will fondly remember, when I was…

Gay for a day”.

Do You Believe in Magic by JUDGE SANTIAGO BURDON

Flash Fiction, International Noir, Judge Santiago Burdon, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

PhotoFunia-1591088957Do You Believe in Magic

A Psychic was considering to rent the store front next to the bar I owned. She asked my opinion as a business owner about foot traffic and specifically if I thought it was a good idea and if she would be successful. She wasn’t sure if it would be a wise investment. I was bewildered by her line of questioning finding it quite confusing. With a surprised tone in my voice I answered. ” I’m somewhat puzzled by your question. Being a Psychic isn’t that something you would know having the ability to see the future?

She looked at me with a loathing expression, threw her hands in the air and with a disgusted tone called me a smart ass turned and walked away.

The space remained vacant for three months and was eventually rented by an extremely pleasant guy named Marvin from Boston. He opened a magic shop and claimed to be related to Harry Houdini. He became a regular at the bar and drank Sam Adams with a shot of Old Grandad. He was a gifted story teller entertaining customers with humorous tales of his career as a magician in his younger days.

Occasionally he’d do magic tricks for patrons although almost exclusively for good looking women.

I realized an opportunity to book his act in the bar. I asked “Mystic Marvin Master of Illusion.” if by chance he’d be interested in performing once a week with payment to be negotiated.

The bar had a small stage and I let a local musician host an Open Mic on Wednesday and Sunday nights. On Friday and Saturday nights  Comedians performed hosted by a local Radio Personality and City Councilman. He didn’t possess much charisma and lacked audience appeal. Neither he or the Comedians he booked were very funny and didn’t draw much of a crowd as promised.

Mystic Marvin was excited at the opportunity to perform his magic. We arranged for his first performance the upcoming Friday night at nine o’clock as an opening act before the so-called Comedians.

The word spread quickly around the pueblo and I did a small bit of advertising, putting posters outside the bar and passing out  flyers to everyone that entered.

My novia (girlfriend) at the time was a gorgeous woman who I was fortunate to be able to afford. She was a vixen in bed with a voracious sexual appetite. I found it necessary to increase my testosterone dosage to keep up with her. She was also a thief and pathological liar which I considered minor character flaws I chose to overlook in light of her other qualities.  Marvin and Veronica seemed to get on well together despite the language barrier. She spoke little to no English and Mystic Marvin was one of those” I know enough Spanish to get by” type of people. Which I’ve discovered actually translates into “they don’t know shit.”

He asked if it would be possible to have Veronica act as his assistant for the magic performance. There wasn’t any reason that I could imagine not to grant his request. Veronica appeared thrilled at the prospect to be on stage without having to take her clothes off. Besides our relationship had been waning and I’d been trying to come up with a way to terminate our arrangement. I was pleased she would be occupied and not hanging around, getting in my way. She was suppose to be working as a waitress but never caught on to exactly what the job entailed.

They took their gig very seriously practicing twice a day and sometimes into the early morning hours at the magic shop. After five days Veronica came to me and asked me to purchase a costume for her to wear for the performance. The sequined costume she wanted cost one hundred twenty- five dollars.

“Are you serious? I’m not laying out that kind of cash for a costume. That should be Marvin’s expense. You tell him what I said.”

” You are so mean to me. You never want me to look nice because you’re jealous other men look at me.”

” First of all I am not the jealous type. If it were so I would’ve kicked your ass out of here long ago. I’m well aware of your flirtatious nature.

Secondly, this was Magic Marvin’s idea to have you perform as his assistant. This falls under the responsibility of the talent. Don’t make it my problem.”

Marvin walks in at the height of the heated discussion standing behind Veronica with an apologetic look on is face. I’d finished my oration, turned to walk back behind the bar when Marvin decided to add his commentary.

” I know you think there’s something going on between Veronica and me. You have a right to feel that way. I know I’ve been monopolizing a lot of her time.”

” Marvin that’s not at all what the conversation was about. If there’s something going on between you two, well that’s something I haven’t considered and honestly don’t give a shit.”

I knew he was banging her and it honestly didn’t upset me. I was getting more sleep at night. “The disagreement was over her wanting me to pay for a costume for the performance. And I believe it is an expense you should be responsible for not me. I find it interesting however you assumed the disagreement was about me being suspicious of the two of you having sex.”

”  She mentioned that you were jealous she was spending so much time with me. That’s what I thought you were arguing about.  I bought the costume for the show yesterday. She tried it on and modeled it for the customers. You were gone, went to pay the electric and water bills I was told. Strange that she would ask you for money when she knew it was paid for.”

I look around the bar, check the kitchen, office and bathroom, Veronica is nowhere around. I call out for her but she still doesn’t appear. Then I’m told by one of the customers she’d left after I started the conversation with Marvin.

” It’s not strange at all Marvin. As a matter of fact it’s her modus operandi. She’s a con and pathological liar. Don’t try to make sense of it, that’s just the way she is. Are you ready for tomorrow night? There should be a good sized crowd from what I’ve heard.”

” Yes I’m good to go. My act will last about forty five minutes to an hour is that ok?”

” Just fine. I’ll see you tomorrow night then. You go on at nine so be sure to get here around eight thirty or so to get set up.”

” You bet Santiago. I’m going to try to find Veronica she may be upset. See ya tomorrow.”

” She’s most likely at the bar in the Casino. Catch you later.”

Can you believe that insensitive  snake trying to shake me down for money knowing it was already paid for. She thinks I’m a dipshit gringo and it’s my first experience dealing with women and their underhanded ways.  After all I’ve done and tolerated from that stripper prostitute. Her dishonesty goes with the territory.

The night of the performance the bar was jam packed with standing room only. I was a bit upset with myself that I  hadn’t thought to  charge a cover of a couple of bucks a head. I did up the price on the drinks however.

Mystic Marvin and the Lovely Veronica put on an entertaining and professional show. He included an audience participation segment which received thundering applause as well as laughs for it’s humorous content.

After a few weeks the crowd dissipated and his act became less amazing. Although he performed one of the most mystifying magic tricks I’d ever witnessed. It was a disappearing act that ended with both him and Veronica vanishing. The next morning I noticed the Magic Shop empty and Veronica’s clothes had disappeared from my apartment along with some cash. There was no note no goodbye they just disappeared.

I was actually quite elated there wasn’t a long drawn out break up. Melissa a young, beautiful and personable woman I hired as a replacement that afternoon.

That night at the bar I bought a couple of rounds for all as  a tribute to my single status. The comedians even seemed to be funny although I’d heard the same jokes for months.

I bumped into Marvin about eight months later when I took a short vacation with Melissa to the beach in Guanacasta. He was sitting alone at a bar looking somewhat unhappy, overweight and desheveled. When he recognized me his expression revealed both fear and surprise. I waited for him to initiate conversation which he did with questioned confidence.

” Hello Santiago it’s Marvin how ya doing? It’s been a while.”

” Doing just dandy Marv. Man you look like you’ve been  tortured by Jehovah’s Witnesses that beat you with Bibles. Are you still with Veronica? You two left together so I was told.”

” Ya well that’s right. I should apologize for how I acted after you giving me an opportunity to perform at your bar.”

” Okay go ahead.”

” Go ahead what?

” Go ahead and apologize for being a back stabbing prick.”

” I’m truly sorry.” He whimpered.

” I really don’t fucking care.”

“She blindsided me Santiago. I got all caught up in her web of deception and couldn’t get out.”

He continued his voice cracking as he spoke.

” I thought she loved me. I did everything for her and she pulled the rug out from under my feet. Took off with some surfer bum but not before cleaning out my bank accounts and stealing anything of value I had. Took my little dog Abracadabra too.”

I  wanted to say how sorry I was but I wasn’t.

” Well ya know what they say.”

” No what do they say?”

” Love is great until the magic wears off. See ya around maybe.”

Never saw the guy again. Soon afterwards I began learning card tricks and graduated to some elementary sleight of hand tricks as well. I never developed a quality trick always screwed it up somehow.

”  Do you believe in magic. In a young girls heart…”

Lovin’ Spoonful.

Chapter 1 “Imitation of Myself” by Judge Santiago Burdon

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Judge Santiago Burdon, Punk Noir Magazine

Chapter 1

 

“Imitation of Myself”

Judge Santiago Burdon

 

Rayando El Sol

Scratching At The Sun

 

My eyes flash open and it takes a while for things to come into focus. The surroundings aren’t familiar and I wait for my human Bio-Computer to provide me with the necessary information. One revelation that I am certain of and I can lay odds on, is that I am not in jail. Always a good thing.

 

I hear a woman singing , dishes clanking, birds chirp and squawk outside the window, dogs bark and a solitary rooster crows off key. I recognize the voice singing “Rayando el Sol” while doing dishes. It’s my close friend and smuggling partner Becky. Now  the events of  the past evening start gelling together.  I’m at Becky’s house in Nogales Arizona , a mile north of the Mexican border.

 

I take notice of less than half a bottle of Mescal on the brightly multicolored serape

covering the table next to the bed. There’s an ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts also a few roaches and a mirror with a pile of Cocaine. Tecate beer cans are strewn across the floor like dead soldiers.  Proof a battle against sobriety had taken place.  Drugs, alcohol and I remember a couple of prostitutes, friends of Becky’s hermosa cousin Bianca. I take comfort in knowing nothing out of the ordinary took  place. Just another night of the usual.

 

Suddenly like a bee sting a frantic search for my wallet and other personal items ensues. I locate my pants under the bed and discover my wallet minus one hundred and eighty five dollars. My passport and other identification along with my credit cards are still there. Gracias a Dios,(thank God) an expression I use often however, I am far from being a religious man. One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh as far as I’m concerned. I expected the money to be gone. The other personal items are far more important.

 

I snail crawl out of bed and wrestle with my pants then my shirt. I don’t see my shoes and they hardly seem to matter at this space in time. I head for the bathroom. Gotta piss like a poisoned race horse.

 

I take a look at myself in the mirror to see if my disheveled state is  noticeable and notice my chest through my unbuttoned shirt. In large red letters that I assume is lipstick is written “Papi  Rico” and “Dame mas” (give me more) I hope there’s video, I don’t  recall any of this taking place. Upon finishing my business I  slap some cold water on my face and make my way toward the kitchen.

 

Becky stands in front of the sink belting out the song, “mi muero porti viviendo sin ti”

( I’m dieing for you living without you) Mana

 

She’s a short, heavy set Mexicana with typically skinny legs. She spent two and a half years in prison for running marijuana across the border. After something like that you’d think she’d give it up but the money is too fucking good. It always keeps you coming back for one more last time.

 

“Well good morning lover boy! You were in rare form last night.” she shouts.

 

“Jesus Christ Becky can ya keep it down. I am nursing an ass kicking

 

hangover.”

 

She laughs and gives me a kiss on the cheek and a warm hug.

 

“I love you, you clown. Sometimes you make  me laugh so hard I pee my pants. “ she giggles

 

“And other times?” I ask.

 

“Do you really want me to answer that?

 

Now what do you want for breakfast? This kitchen isn’t open all day.”

 

“Breakfast! Are you kidding me? I am seriously sick! I poisoned my self on half bottle of Mescal.” I whine

 

She breaks into a low chuckle and then a healthy loud belly laugh.

 

“Half a bottle! You mean two and a half bottles. You and the muchachas were pouring ’em down last night.” She testifies

 

“Ok eggs and refried beans it is. Here’s some coffee, it’ll make ya feel better.”

 

” Hey Beck, what time is it? Have you heard from Rafa?” I ask.

 

“It’s 3:45 in the afternoon October 17th 1989.”

 

“And what….?”

 

“It’s Tuesday” She

 

answers before I can finish slurring my question.

 

“And Rafa?”

 

“Haven’t heard from him hun. Sit tight, he’ll call.” she reassures.

 

Ok, so here’s the skinny, the lowdown, the whole ball of wax.  I know, such trite expressions.

 

I’m waiting on a load, eighty kilos of cocaine to drive to San Francisco.  It crossed the border yesterday morning and sits in a van on the United States side for a day or so to observe if it’s been tracked.

*********”***************************

Chapter 2

“Imitation of Myself”

Judge Santiago Burdon

Breakfast For Two

 

Rafa is a code name  for someone I can’t disclose if I want to see everything I’ve ever loved or do love continue to live.

Let me give you an idea of the kind of mentality you encounter when dealing with these “Jefe Traficantes.”

I was deep inside Mexico visiting Rafa’s ranch in Sinaloa. There was a party for his daughter’s Quinceanera. Everyone’s having a spectacular time. They’re taking photographs, dancing, drinking, eating great food, Mexican band playing  Musica de Campo.

so I ask Rafa ,” Come on, how about a photo of you and I together Jefe?”

“No! That’s not a good idea. It’s proof of our association. ” He says

“What, but you have photos of me?”

 

“Si claro” he flashes a cold smile.

“If I ever want to have you killed always good to have a picture, makes things simple. Now let’s have some mescal and celebrate. “

Do you want to know something?  I never once thought he was joking.

I choke down a wonderful breakfast leaving the coffee and opting for a glass of milk. I stroll out in the backyard, noticing the bougainvilleas in full bloom. The wind scratches at me with a chilly touch . Seems uncharacteristically  cold for October in the desert. Now here comes Becky’s obnoxious hyper  enthusiastic dog Guero. The thing I like most about people are their dogs. In this case that expression doesn’t apply.

I open the back gate and throw a stick  but  the dog sits down and just stares at me with a confused expression. He doesn’t trust me I guess, or he enjoys my miserable company.

I lay down on a handicapped picnic table  missing a leg that has been propped up with some concrete blocks and there are boards missing on one side of the bench seats. I feel it coming on and there’s no way to avoid it. I attempt to force my body to hold back but it doesn’t respond and I start vomiting. It becomes a steaming pile of puke that the dog quickly devours.  The site of that only increases my nausea and I continue providing nourishment to Guero.

Becky screams from the kitchen window “Hey cabron your phone call, come on, he’s waiting. I collect what little of myself is left and make it to the phone. All systems go except one thing, me the driver. I’m to meet my connection at Sacred Heart Catholic Church near Interstate 19 at 8:00 p.m.

I turn on the TV

in an attempt to relax and catch some of the World Series. Next thing I remember is Becky shaking me.

“Wake up ,Santiago. Hey wake up. Look ,watch the TV.”

My intended destination for the run, San Francisco has been hit by an Earthquake.  By the looks of the news footage they’re showing , it was a strong shaker.

I try to call Rafa to ascertain if he’s aware of the Earthquake and if the run is still on. As I expected there’s no answer.

Ten minutes later the phone rings. It’s El Gallo one of Rafa’s employees (soldiers).  We are to meet in fifteen minutes at La Chiquita  Sportsbar.  Fuck I hate that son of a bitch with my entire being and he’s not very fond of me either. The reason I loath the pinche carbon is a whole other chapter.

I jump in the shower, get dressed and begin the search for my fucking shoes.

Becky is in the truck  beeping the horn, ya like that’s going help. Then my memory kicks in. There in the closet they sit, with my watch, ring and turquoise necklace tucked inside one of the shoes. I give myself a verbal good boy.

El Gallo informs me at the meeting that I am to pick up the van take it back to Becky’s place and wait for further instructions. He hands me the keys to a rented new Ford Aerostar.

“afuera” (outside) is all he says. Cheap fucking Naco didn’t even buy me a beer.

I hop into the van with windows all around and loaded with eighty kilos of Cocaine. Don’t like those closed in cargo vans they’re much too suspicious. Becky follows me back to the house. When I turn into the driveway I breath a sigh of relief and I park the mule deep into the back of the carport. Becky parks her truck closely behind it.

We enter the house without saying a word to each other.

©2013

judge

Dark Cloud In A Silver Lining by Judge Santiago Burdon

International Noir, Judge Santiago Burdon, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

The weekend, especially Friday night, I revere as a weekly religious event. Worshiping at the local taverns with an ass-kicking band playing rock n roll hymns and a cold libation to toast to whatever the hell I want.

 

I’m not the type to drink myself into a stupor. Getting drunk is a waste of an evening as well as the next morning nursing a hangover. I prefer to get dimly lit, just enough to engage in social interaction without displaying tendencies of an asshole. Scotch is my social lubricant with a few lines of cocaine; they always serve as a perfect duo.

 

It was an hour before my date was picking me up. Yes she was picking me up and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some women find it rather sexy. There had been a couple of incidents that had caused my driver’s license to be suspended, so she’s kindly volunteered to be my chauffeur for the evening. Besides, it’s a pleasure to be driven around without the fear of being pulled over for once.

 

I decided to hit the shower while my clothes were in the dryer. I had been neglecting my manscaping for quite some time, and with Bethany a sure thing, it was time to take action. Far from a professional at this activity, I decide to proceed.

 

My tools consist of a large pair of scissors and a Bic triple-edge razor.

 

There was a time when the more hair a man had on his legs, chest, and around the one-eyed monster, this was considered a sign of masculinity. Nowadays, many of these “men” shaved themselves smooth, with some even choosing the painful method of hot waxing.

 

The water pressure is blasting from the shower head with such force it actually stings. I am cutting the longer hair around my pubic area with scissors to shorten it, prepping to finish off with the razor.

 

I rest my foot upon the rim of the tub, providing a better view of my groin area. The conditioner in my hair begins running down, coating my body with its slickness. As I  attempt to snip a patch of hair from my right testicle, my foot suddenly slips, causing me to tumble into the tub.

 

Instantly I notice a large ribbon of blood streaming out from underneath me. Even as I sprawl across the bottom of the tub, I’m  still holding the scissors in hand.

 

I don’t believe I’ve stabbed myself as I search my body for wounds. Slowly crawling to my feet, it is then that I notice the stream of blood trickling down my right leg.

 

Taking a closer look, I finally discover my self-inflicted wound and what appears to be a large macadamia nut hanging from my scrotum.

 

“Son of a bitch!” I scream. “I cut my balls off!”

 

I quickly tuck the round white gonad back into its sack, pinching it closed in an effort to stop the bleeding. Should I go to the hospital emergency room? The pain increases and the bleeding continues.

 

Damn, if I go to the ER, it’ll sure be embarrassing to explain how this happened… Sweet Jesus, what am I  going to tell Bethany?

 

And then, as if right on cue, the door bell rings. Surely it’s Bethany, arriving early as she always does.

 

“Hey Beth, come on in, the door is unlocked,” I call out to her. “I’m in my bedroom in back. Please hurry!”

 

“What’s going on baby? Where is all the blood coming from?” she asks. “Did you get shot, Santi?”

 

“I can only wish I had been shot… I’d gladly face that type of injury rather than this!”

 

“Tell me what happened? I can’t help if I don’t know what’s wrong.”

 

“I cut my ballsack while shaving in the shower. My foot slipped and the scissors snipped right through. I saw my gonad hanging out, Beth.”

 

She moves in closer to get a better view. I lift the towel to show her, noticing the bleeding still hasn’t stopped.

 

“Oh Santi, you poor thing! I think you should go to the emergency room.”

 

She tries to keep a serious face, but the humorous implication of the incident wins out and she begins laughing, apologizing between chuckles.

 

“Ha ha,” I say, “absolutely hilarious, I’m sure…”

 

“Come on, let’s get you dressed and we’ll get you to the ER. Sound good babe?”

 

“Let’s go.”

 

A woman in control of a situation that demands immediate attention is a real turn on. Bethany is a take-charge kind of girl. Besides being an incredibly gorgeous woman, she’s intelligent as well as responsible.

 

Why I’m not completely taken by her loveliness is beyond me. Then again, maybe I am in love with her and it’s the reason I don’t commit to a relationship. It would end with me ruining her innocent nature and destroying her already fragile belief in love. It is better we are an occasional couple. I adore her too much to cause her emotional distress that would most likely manifest into her hating me eventually.

 

Women I’ve been associated with are drawn to me for only one reason, I’m a novelty. A novelty similar to those sold at your local joke store. You’re familiar with what I’m referring to: Black gum, sneeze powder, Chinese finger cuffs, the hand buzzer and the famous fart pillow. Like the fart pillow’s humor quickly fades, the novelty in my personality becomes a mundane routine no longer entertaining. Eventually this leads to a complete state of disbelief with her questioning how she ended up with a man like me.

 

Meanwhile, Bethany is speeding like a possessed NASCAR driver, weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights and beeping her horn in short rapid bursts. I’m terrified, but impressed with this talent she has kept hidden from me all this time.

 

“Take it easy there, Earnhardt,” I tell her, wincing with pain. “It’s not worth getting in an accident baby!”

 

Now if I were driving, I would have been pulled over for speeding, or not using my turn signal. She, on the other hand, has somehow managed to avoid the police, and the other motorists on the road even courteously let her cut them off from lane to lane.

 

We arrive with a screeching halt as Bethany slams on the breaks, coming to a stop just outside the ER entrance. She turns to me, smiles, then giggles like a schoolgirl.

 

Our exhibition draws the attention of the attendants inside and they respond by rushing out to the car. In the hopes of getting faster treatment, I act as though my injury is much more serious than it actually is. I groan like I’ve been gravely injured as they drag me from the passenger’s seat.

 

A male attendant brings a wheelchair, then he and another lift me into it. My jeans are soaked through with blood at the crotch. I’m dripping red droplets on the pristine white tile floor as I’m wheeled to the nurse at the triage desk.

 

“What do we have here dear?” she asks. “How long have you been bleeding like this? What happened?”

 

“I accidentally cut my scrotum and now my gonad is hanging out…” I mumble in reply.

 

“Speak up hon, I can’t hear what your saying. You cut your stomach? Is that what you said?”

 

“No no no, I cut my scrotum,” I repeat, a little louder this time as I lean in closer.

 

And then, my secret revealed, the nurse repeats exactly what I’d just told her in a loud, boisterous voice for all within earshot to hear.

 

“Did you say you cut your scrotum and your gonads?! How in the Lord’s name did you manage to do that?!”

 

Just as I expected, laughter erupts from those seated in the waiting area. Patients, attendants, and nurses alike erupt into barely contained hysterics at my expense.

 

“Darling, do you want to explain the circumstances surrounding your injury?”

 

“No, not here I don’t!”

 

“Okay then, let’s get you to an examination room and evaluate the laceration and you can explain to the doctor. Would that be better?”

 

Bethany is standing behind me, rubbing my shoulders reassuringly as she offers up her own take on my near castration.

 

“He’s a bit embarrassed about the accident and would rather not share it with everyone, if you know what I mean? It’s something that I think most folks wouldn’t understand.”

 

Suddenly she starts laughing as well, which sets off a chain reaction of others laughing along with her.

 

“Thanks for your moral support, Beth,” I whisper to her as we’re led into the room. “You sure helped keep me from being humiliated back there.”

 

“Sorry Santi, but you’ll find the humor in this someday and laugh your ass off, too. Oh baby did I hurt your feelings? You’ll forgive me later when I get you home.”

 

“Is this your wife, Mr. Santiago?” a nurse asks.

 

“No! And with the black marks she’s accumulating, there’s little to no chance she will be in the future!”

 

“Were you going to propose to me tonight Santi?” she squeals excitedly. “Were you?”

 

“Only family allowed in examination rooms, I’m afraid.”

 

“But I request her presence,” I grudgingly admit. “I prefer she stays. I need the company.”

 

“Alright,” the nurse sighs, “I guess we can make an exception…”

 

It is then that the doctor arrives, prepared to assess the damage.

 

“Okay, let me have a look at this laceration,” he says as he snaps on gloves. “I’m Doctor Sullivan. You want to explain how this happened?”

 

“Not really,” I tell him truthfully. “Let’s just say scissors should never come in close proximity to one’s genitalia.”

 

“Amen!” he says. “Doing some manscaping, were ya? In the future, you might want to look into using an electric razor instead. Somewhat less dangerous.”

 

“Yes baby,” Bethany says, “that way we won’t have to spend our Friday night in the ER. What if we decide to have children and you end up with a home-done vasectomy? I wanna have babies honey.”

 

“Are you for real?” I shoot back at her. “What in the hell are you even talking about? How could you take care of a baby? Your houseplants died, your cat went missing, your goldfish went belly up, and now you want a baby?”

 

“Okay,” Doctor Sullivan says, “we’ll get some stitches in there and get you and the Mrs. on your way. I’ll get you good and numbed up to dull the pain. I’ll write you a prescription for some Vicodin. Luckily, you didn’t cause any major damage to the family jewels, so I think you two should be able to have a houseful of ankle biters.”

 

He exits the room and I hear laughter echoing throughout the hallway outside. I’m sure they’re not laughing with me, but at me, because I have still yet to find any humor in this situation.

 

I turn back to Bethany and she’s crying.

 

“What the hell is wrong with you? Feeling guilty about your earlier antics?”

 

“You’re a real son of a bitch, you know that? What an insensitive thing to say… Bad enough telling me I wouldn’t be a good mother, but you said it in front of the doctor and everything! Where are your manners?”

 

“My mother is a wonderful woman, so don’t refer to her as a bitch. There is no reason to bring her into this twisted event. Also I’m truly sorry for making such an insensitive remark. Undeservingly, I directed  my frustration at you. Please forgive me…”

 

She walks over and kisses me softly on the head. The kind of kiss that reaches deep down and touches your soul. She then slaps my face playfully and smiles.

 

“You’ll make a wonderful mother, without a doubt.”

 

Finally, I get my stitches along with my Vicodin, and we start the drive back home.

 

“Hey Bethany, I’m feeling much better now,” I tell her along the way. “Let’s make a quick pit stop at the house so I can change my clothes, and I’ll take you out for a superb dinner. Then, after, we’ll grab a couple of cocktails and see some live music. I owe it to you baby, you deserve a decent night out. What do you say?”

 

“That would be nice honeybun, but can I pick the restaurant? And we’re not going to the Saxon Pub to see all your old girlfriends. Is that okay?”

 

After dinner, we wind up at the Continental Club in SoCo Austin, a decision of hers I am pleased with. I must confess, however, part of my passive disposition is due to the Vicodin I’d popped earlier, washed down with the bottle of  Merlot we’d shared at dinner.

 

Bethany has adopted a warm glow about her with an affectionate display of touching, kissing, and holding hands. She took a Vicodin as well, drank her fair share of wine, and we’d sparked a joint before dinner and finished it on the way to the club.

 

The place is jammed with University of Texas students yelling and acting out with immature obviousness.

 

Just the way I like it. Everyone enjoying themselves, the music screaming with the incentive to dance or just tap your foot. A close acquaintance of mine, Rusty Weir, is playing accompanied by Sean Shark Waterson on harmonica.

 

I’ve started walking with a slight limp due to my accident, which I have finally begun to view humorously now that I’m high.

 

“Baby, I’ve gotta pee,” Bethany says. “See if you can find us a table? I hope the line for the bathroom isn’t too long…”

 

She kisses me on the cheek and gives me a pat on my ass before walking off. I respond with a smile and give a thumbs up to acknowledge her request.

 

As I search for a table, there at the end of the bar I notice an old flame, one that still flickered in my memory. ‘Ravishing Rachael’ is the flower you so want to pick and make your own, but her beauty comes with some thorns.

 

She walks up to me with the confidence of the jaguar she is, puts her arms around me, and acts as though she is going to kiss my lips before pulling away. She giggles and twirls a strand of her long, curly black mane, biting her lower lip.

 

“Santiago,” she says, “where the hell have you been keeping yourself? Mexico, Guatemala, Jail? I’ve missed you. You never call and you change your number every other week. Why don’t answer your email?”

 

Now, Rachael is the most enthusiastic person to party with I have ever known. Also, she is a goddess in bed with an intimate way about her and an anything-goes attitude. She’s also bisexual, and whenever we’d go out together, she would just point at another woman in the bar. She’d then ask if I approved and recruit her to participate in a threesome. I’d  never heard her sales pitch myself, but there were only three occasions in my memory where it ever failed.

 

“It’s nice to see you, Rachael. I’ve been busy with this and that. Is your number the same? Are you still living in the apartment off of McNeal? I promise to give you a call. I’m with someone tonight, and I’m quite certain she’s not a three-on-the-mattress type.”

 

“So you’re dumping me already? Damn, hello and goodbye all in one breath. And why are you walking with a limp? Too much working out in bed?”

 

“No, I nearly cut my balls off while manscaping with some scissors earlier. Had to get stitches and everything. I just got out of the ER a couple of hours ago.”

 

Of course, she immediately begins laughing.

 

“Oh my God, that is definitely something that could only happen to you, Santi. Another  crazy experience to add to your list. Let me see! I wanna see…”

 

“What? I’m not dropping my pants right here in front of the whole bar.”

 

I could have just responded with a “no”, but no, I just had to go and encourage her curiosity.

 

“Come on, we’ll go into a stall in the restroom. Please, Santi, let me see! I wanna see your stitches. What a great pickup line! Wanna see my stitches, baby?”

 

“Okay, but let’s make it quick. Bethany, my companion, will be back soon.”

 

“You can’t do it, can you? You’re just unable to call her your date? Still hung up on the whole commitment thing, huh?”

 

The bathroom was relatively vacant with just a few guys draining their snakes. An empty stall was available and we quickly ducked in. Rachael shut the door behind us and locked it.

 

“Hey man, this is the men’s room,” someone comments. “Girls aren’t suppose to be in here, it’s against the law.”

 

“Are you for real, Mr. Bathroom Policeman?” I comment back. “I need her to assist me in changing my ostomy Bag. Does that fucking satisfy your curiosity?”

 

Stepping up on top of the toilet seat, I undo my pants and Rachael fishes out my balls, which are still wrapped in gauze.

 

“Baby take it easy, don’t pull so hard! Can you see now? Move the bandage to the side…”

 

“Ouch! Santi, that must’ve hurt and scared the hell out of you.”

 

A strong pounding on the stall door startles me.

 

“Open this door immediately. “

 

Racheal quickly complies and the door swings open, revealing me standing on top of the toilet my pants around my ankles and Rachael’s mouth at my crotch level.

 

“We don’t approve of this type of shit going on in here,” the bouncer informs us. “This is a goddamn public restroom, and we can’t allow this kind of thing to be happening. Understand?”

 

He was a large fellow, fitting the common description of one in his line of work. Crew cut, musclebound, his blazer testing the strength of its buttons. Sweat droplets on his upper lip and brow. His shoes are unpolished and he has a baby face he’ll most likely never outgrow.

 

“Please, Sir,” I try to explain while pulling up my pants, “this is not as it appears!”

 

“Get down from there before you get hurt. You’re both going to have to leave.”

 

“You can’t throw us out without at least hearing me out! I had an operation earlier today, and all she was doing was assisting me with my bandages. I swear that’s the God’s honest truth! It wasn’t what you think, so how about a pass? Whadaya say, big guy?”

 

“I understand, bud, but you brought her in here and that’s a definite No-No. I’ve gotta go by the rules. I’m sorry. Come on, let’s move it.”

 

Meanwhile, the crowd in the bathroom has grown into a small mob of people with curious looks on their faces. Some expressing comments, some laughing.

 

“I guess that guy was getting a blowjob in the bathroom stall…” I heard someone say.

 

“He was snorting coke with that babe in here…” said another.

 

We’re escorted out by two bouncer bookends acting as though we’d committed a felony.

 

“Can I at least inform my female friend,” I plead, “so she won’t think I abandoned  her, please?”

 

“Never a boring moment when I’m with you, Santi,” Rachael jokes.

 

“I have to find Bethany… I’m not going to have her think I deserted her.”

 

They lead Rachael to her table to retrieve her purse and jacket. She turns and blows me a kiss. I scan the crowd searching for Bethany, but it’s dark and difficult to identify her.

 

“Bethany! Bethany!” I scream over the noise of the crowd. “I have to go! Come outside, Bethany!”

 

“I’m right behind you, Santi!”

 

I hear her voice singing in my ear from over my shoulder. I turn around to begin my opening statement, immediately laying out my defense. As I start to speak she raises her hand, signaling me to stop. She turns and I follow her out.

 

We reach the exit, but before we can leave, the crowd starts applauding and cheering. I go to wave at my newfound fanbase but Bethany swiftly grabs my arm, holding it down.

 

“Don’t you dare!” she snaps.

 

“Oh, don’t be upset,” I tell her. “You’ll find the humor in this someday and laugh your own ass off!”

 

Sweet revenge.

 

“I hardly think so!” she fires back. “We’ll discuss this back at home. You have an enormous amount of ass kissing to do. You know what you are, Santi? You’re a disaster looking for a place to happen.”

 

“Personally, I prefer ‘the company that misery enjoys’. Or ‘the black cloud in every silver  lining’. My mother’s favorite.”

 

“Those too!” she spits in fury, seconding the motion.

 

The drive home is draped in silence, punctuated only by accusatory daggers from Bethany’s angry eyes.

 

The whole while, I’m thinking how lucky I am to still have both my testicles.

Biography

On an unseasonably cool July morning in Chicago, equivalent to David Copperfield, Judge Burdon was born on a Friday.  The Brontes, Keats, Burns and Dickens inspired his study of English Literature. He attended Universities in the United States, London and Paris directing his focus on Victorian novels and authors.

His short stories and poems have been featured in; The Remnant Leaf, Stay Weird  and Keep Writing, Independent Writer’s Podcast, Spillwords, The Beatnik Cowboy, Down in the Dirt Magazine, The Raven Cage, Eskimo Pie, Across The Margin, Story Pub, Scarlet Leaf Review, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Stray Branch and others.

Judge’s first book “Stray Dogs and Deuces Wild” was recently published . He is presently engaged in finishing his novel “Imitation of Myself.” A non-fiction story encompassing his experiences as a drug runner for a Mexican Cartel. Judge celebrated his 66th birthday last July and lives modestly in Costa Rica.

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