Thursday, September 6, 2018

Se Rentan Nubes



El paisaje no podía ser más horrendo y devastador. La tierra se veía triste y gris y su aridez era muy profunda. 


Así era la tierra de mi padre en esos tiempos. Seguía siendo tierra fértil, sólo que esa fertilidad necesitaba agua, agua que venía escaseando desde que yo nací. Hacía once años que no llovía. La tristeza era visible en el rostro de mi padre y se comenzaba a parecer a su propia tierra pues ya se le notaban surcos áridos en la frente y alrededor de sus ojos. 


Cualquier desierto podría tener más vida. De seguro había desiertos en el mundo con más alegría, tierras áridas, pero llenas de orgullo y acostumbradas a vivir sin agua. Tierras desintegradas y convertidas por el extremo calor en granos de arena, imposibles de crear vida y alimento.


Me daba mucho gusto ver  a mi padre feliz, pero su felicidad era cada vez más paulatina y escasa. A veces antes de irnos a dormir, salía de la casa y miraba al cielo, esperanzado en que las nubes fueran más sociables y amistosas y que al fin se reunieran a festejar algún milagro. El milagro de la lluvia. Pero al día siguiente la tristeza de mi padre se acumulaba al ver sus tierras aún más desoladas y secas. El agua comunal ya no existía, el río sólo parecía una vena, vacía y seca, por la cual ya no corría ni una gota de sangre. Estaba tan muerto como la esperanza misma de las gentes de los alrededores, algunos vecinos ya se empezaban a ir a las ciudades.


Y yo le rogaba a Dios, le rezaba y le imploraba que mandara agua, porque me dolía mucho en el corazón ver a mi padre cada vez más triste. El no se daba cuenta que yo notaba todo, tampoco se fijaba que yo veía que el vaso de agua que tomaba para apagar su insaciable sed no se lo terminaba, y le iba a echar el último trago a la plantita de la maceta que teníamos en mi ventana.


Y yo veía en las noticias como en otras partes del mundo había inundaciones, huracanes y lluvias torrenciales que arrasaban todo a su paso. Y yo le preguntaba  a Dios por qué era tan injusto y no repartía sus exageraciones, y por qué no traía un poco de los excesos de allá, a las escaseces de acá. Y por qué la gente más pobre era siempre la más afectada en todas las miserias que padecía el mundo.


Pensando en eso, fue cuando se me ocurrió que debería haber una forma de juntar las nubes y forzarlas de alguna manera a que soltaran sus aguas en algún lugar específico, no para el placer de sólo ver llover sino para satisfacer el hambre y las necesidades más elementales de la gente del campo. Además mi hermanita de tres años nunca había visto llover. Y así me fui a dormir una noche, pensando cómo hacer para traer las lluvias y devolverle la felicidad a mi papá. 


Y esa noche soñé con “Nube Mojada”, el jefe apache de la tribu “sinsolnisombra” que me enseñaba la danza de la lluvia. Su poder sobrenatural de atraer las nubes y su fama ya había rebasado fronteras. Las tierras inmensas de su tribu las envidiaba el mismo paraíso celestial. No sé cómo, pero en mi mismo sueño me daba cuenta que estaba soñando, aunque todo se veía auténtico me daba cuenta que todo era irreal. Y eso me obligaba a poner más atención para aprenderme al cien por ciento la danza de la lluvia, para aplicarla al día siguiente en las tierras de mi papá. 


Pues si me la aprendí, y en la mañana antes de irme a la escuela, antes de bañarme y antes de desayunar ejecuté el baile tan auténticamente como pude. Con una olla y una cuchara traté de imitar el ritmo de los tambores. Todo estaba bien, hasta que mi mamá me agarró de la oreja y me metió a la casa, diciendo que me iba a llevar al manicomio si no me comportaba como gente normal.  
   

Por el río no había corrido agua desde hacía tres años, tampoco mi hermanita sabía lo que era un río. Me imagino que si soltaban agua de la presa o del lago, o de donde salía el agua del río, solo alcanzaría a humedecer por unos segundos la tierra tan muerta de sed por tantos años. Estoy seguro que nosotros estábamos a muchos kilómetros de donde sea que nacía el agua. Y cada vez que pasaba por el río vacío, desquebrajado y seco, me acordaba de mi papá y su corazón.  


Un día vi a mi papá con una vara en forma de “v” caminando incansablemente por todo el rancho. Según el buscando agua subterránea, y lo único que encontró fue una sed inmensa en su garganta. Decepcionado se fue a sentar a la sombra flaca del último árbol vivo que nos quedaba. Tal vez necesitaba una vara más grande, mucho más grande.   
      

La preocupación de mi papá se me había contagiado, ya sólo pensaba en nuestra gran escasez de agua, día y noche. Antes de dormir, mi mente le daba vuelta a mis pensamientos y por horas sólo veía agua dentro de mi cerebro. Una mañana desperté con buenas noticias en la televisión. Habían encontrado la forma de hacer llover, según esto habían inventado un imán de nubes. Este imán reunía nubes en un par de horas y luego le lanzaban cañonazos o misiles desde la tierra que explotaban sobre las nubes, obligándolas a soltar el agua del susto. Pero todo esto acabó repentinamente cuando empezaron las guerras civiles entre pueblos vecinos, pues reclamaban que les habían robado sus nubes. Y aun así, cada vez aparecían imanes más grandes y poderosos. Hasta que el gobierno los prohibió. 


Y por supuesto, yo despertaba de mis sueños fantásticos cada vez más decepcionado. Aunque eso de los imanes me parecía buena idea.


Nuestra preocupación creció cuando el agua para bañarnos ya se consideraba también un desperdicio. En la casa ya no había macetas con plantas vivas, los perros ya no sacaban la lengua para no sudar, y así ahorraban vueltas a sus recipientes secos.


Por las noches yo ya no rezaba ni conversaba con Dios, en lugar de eso, le reclamaba y le reprochaba sin ningún temor o respeto que se bajara de su nube y nos la prestara por tan sólo un rato, y le recriminaba lo que había aprendido en la escuela: Setenta y uno por ciento de la superficie de la tierra contiene noventa y siete por ciento del agua en el planeta. Y le preguntaba por qué no la distribuía equitativamente, o aunque sea que le quitara la sal al agua del mar y que hiciera un millón de ríos nuevos y luego el calor del sol podría evaporar parte de esta agua y luego esta evaporación se convertiría en nubes y luego en lluvia y luego la lluvia regresaría a los ríos y así sucesivamente, un ciclo bonito e interminable. Y así, con tanta agua de lluvia el mundo entero se convertiría en un paraíso terrenal y ya nadie le pediría nada, y el estaría en paz descansando por toda la eternidad, o podría irse a otros universos a crear vida nueva con otro Adán y otra Eva. No creo que sea tan complicado para Dios.


Viéndolo bien, nos podríamos mudar a donde hay muchas inundaciones y por lo menos nos desaburriríamos de esta sequedad tan terrible. Mi papá dice que eso está muy complicado y que necesitaríamos por lo menos diez años para adaptarnos a semejante cambio tan  drástico. Y yo digo que me gustaría haber nacido en medio del agua y yo digo que dentro de diez años vamos a seguir sin agua y sin lluvia. Y él dice que me calle y que no eche la sal. 


Ya no quiero dormir, ya no quiero soñar. O bueno siempre si, si quiero soñar, quiero soñar que amanezco ahogado en un inmenso lago de agua dulce y fresca, bueno, no ahogado, quiero disfrutar más mi vida y ver la cara de mi papá sin arrugas y sin surcos. Quiero ver su cara con una sonrisa eterna, que salga a brincar junto conmigo en la lluvia, mirando al cielo con nuestras bocas abiertas y recibir el agua dentro de nuestras almas y corazones y dejar que corra por todas nuestras venas. Eso es lo que quiero, soñar y ya no despertar.


Pero vuelvo a despertar. Y creo escuchar que está lloviendo. Pero no me entusiasmo porque sé que estoy soñando. Y escucho a mi padre y a mi hermanita afuera brincando y riendo bajo la lluvia. Y luego mi madre se acerca a mi cama y me pide la mano y me dice que me levante y vaya a ver cuánta lluvia esta cayendo. Y le contesto que no quiero, porque estoy dormido y estoy soñando. Hasta que regresa con una cubeta llena de agua y me la vacía sobre la cara. Y entonces si despierto y me levanto y voy a festejar el milagro de la lluvia. Y brincamos todos juntos agarrados de la mano y nos cansamos, pero ya no nos da sed. Y me voy a dormir y vuelvo a despertar y sigue lloviendo.


Y sigue lloviendo.




Edmundo Barraza         

Lancaster, Ca. 09-01-2014



Monday, July 23, 2018

My Father Created a Monster Final Chapter




THE LUNATIC IS IN MY HEAD
Final Chapter





The worst punishment God could give me would be to have me reunited with my dad.


If I were Satan I would demand Angel’s soul to be by my side forever. Of course, my dad would also be there.


So, it might be possible that both, God and Satan would want me back with my dad. In which case, I would kill him again.



 *****


When I got home the shop had already been closed. I found grandma waiting for me at the front door of the house, she appeared agitated and troubled and was hastily writing the following note: “Angel, they all know about the murders, it’s all over.”


“Yes grandma, I know, but they won’t catch me alive, I won’t spend the rest of my life in jail. I’d rather die.”


“I want to die too.” she wrote on another note.


“I love you, grandma, I love you very much.”


“I love you too Angelito.”


The people in the park kept staring at us like zombies. Staring and moving in slow motion, as if undecided about their next move. I could sense all the tension in the air. Things were about to explode. I pushed grandma’s wheelchair towards the house. She had a stack of papers on her desk. The title on the first page simply read: “My will”.


I bent over and held her hand. I gave her a hug and a kiss. I looked in her eyes with a lump in my throat. All the feelings we had for each other had been clearly shared and expressed every day of our lives. Everything had been said. Then, I grabbed the car keys and left.


The first person that I encountered outside was Leticia’s mother. She had a furious look on her face; her lips were trembling when she said: “You killed my daughter, didn’t you? You killed her, you murderer, I know you did!” and she started to yell, “The killer is here! The killer is here!” the people in the park gathered and slowly began to approach the house. I jumped in my car and headed for the Sequoia Mountains. I could see the maddening crowd in my rear-view mirror, with their muted but exaggerated gestures, claiming for justice and desperate to avoid my escape.


Sadie came to my mind. She could have been my savior, but she appeared too late in my life. She wasn’t destined to be my savior. If she had appeared years earlier, she’d been too young to be part of my life. It was pointless anyhow; the past could never be rearranged. 


Nothing mattered anyway because my past, my present, and my future would soon collide. 


I wondered if God was witnessing my final actions. I wondered if God was enjoying the conclusion, or if Satan was anxious for my arrival. I wondered if they existed. But I didn’t care for either of them. After all, one never helped me and the other one never bothered me.


I should have never been born. It had taken all my life to find a reason to live. But I never did anything good, my life had been useless. I felt empty, I would have stopped breathing if I could.


The turning point in my life was when my mom died. Losing my mom was losing my life.


I arrived at my destination. I could see the bridge. It made no sense having any regrets. No one will know what my motives were or what pushed me to become such a monster. The world wasn't perfect, many more people like me will show up. As long as bad parents exist in the world, monsters like me would keep appearing.


From the fateful bridge, I could see a line of patrol cars with their lights on and their sirens blasting. The air and distance distorted their sound. They were howling like some of my victims once did, needlessly and in vain. 


I finally felt happy, standing on the outside edge of the bridge. Grabbing the rail with my left hand, the gun in my right hand pointed to my right temple. 


While looking at the sky my last thought was that I had created my own heaven by creating hell for others.


No need to ask for forgiveness.



 THE END




Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca. Jan-20-2016






Thursday, July 19, 2018

My Father Created a Monster XVI


XVI

ANGEL'S INFERNO



Sometimes, maybe to justify the extreme hatred I felt towards my dad, I used to make a mental list of the most humiliating moments I had to endure from comments made by him. The reason I did that was to convince myself that I had good reasons to get rid of him and I shouldn’t consider myself a monster. 


I even contemplated suicide just before I killed my dad the night he pushed me to the limit. But technically, I didn't kill him, he froze to death. When I cut him to pieces, he was already dead. I’d rather say, 'I got rid of him'. In any case, that list was to remind myself how much I should hate him and to feel less guilty about it.


A few days after grandpa's death, dad, grandma and I were having dinner and for a reason, I don’t remember, I mentioned how much I missed grandpa. The other two persons on the table had very different reactions. I saw a single teardrop falling on my grandma’s face, it made me choke. Across the table, my dad growled pitifully. 


“Bah, he’s dead, there’s nothing you can do. What you should do is go out and find a girl, or else I cut off your balls! And remember, that dick of yours should only be used on girls.”


My dad had no consideration of grandma’s feelings either. I felt especially bad for her. She had waited all day to be with us, to have at least a moment of distraction. She had a lot of respect for her husband. And yet, my father was dismissing grandma’s husband, despising my grandfather, and rejecting his own father.


And of course, I felt bad for myself. Grandma was proud of me; she had proven year after year how much she loved me. I knew she shared my suffering and I also knew that her inability to express her feelings was terribly frustrating.


I hated dad, but my hatred was justified. On top of all cruelty he made me suffer, he killed my grandfather and my mother too. He robbed me. Things could have been so different if I had had a mother.


*****


In the morning, Pedro and Abel came to tell me that some detectives were asking questions about people that had disappeared in the area. The brothers believed I was their main suspect. Things were getting hot. I asked them if they could get me a gun, Abel said that he could, but he needed some money. 


The money for Father Fidel’s boy's club was going to end up in good hands after all. I told them to give the money to their dad to buy a house with it. 


Two hours later, Abel came back with a gun. Before he left, he asked me if they were also in trouble. I assured him they didn’t have anything to worry about. He shook my hand and wished me good luck.


Unaware of my dealings with the brothers, Joy and Sadie kept working quietly, but with certain apprehensiveness. I’m sure they also felt the approaching storm.


“I’m worried about you, Angel, what are you going to do? Sooner or later, the cops will knock on the door, and they’ll take you away forever.” Sadie said with resignation, not even caring anymore that Joy was present.


“I don’t know Sadie; I don’t want to spend the rest of my days in jail. I’m not afraid of anything, except going to prison. I’ll wait until it blows up, but I won’t surrender, that’s for sure. Nothing matters to me anymore. You were the most important thing in my life, and I know I lost you already. The happiness you gave me was worth a lifetime. Don’t feel bad, just be happy.”


It appeared that losing Sadie had little importance to me, but it wasn’t indifference, it was acceptance. There was no reason to fight, I couldn’t rearrange my fate. I felt defeated.


“Why don’t you run away to Mexico? You speak Spanish, you have money,” Joy said.


“No,” I replied.


I was worried about grandma. I knew she couldn't live without me by her side. And that made me very sad.


It was just a matter of time before my arrest. The gun would be my inseparable friend from that point on.


Sadie stayed with me that night too. I couldn’t sleep, I was thinking about a murder-suicide situation, but only for a second. Sadie didn’t deserve such a selfish and cowardly act on my part. I couldn’t live without her but I knew she could easily live without me. I hated myself for having such an evil thought. Her life didn't belong to me. Watching her beautiful face made me feel sadder still.


*****


I should’ve stopped my killing spree before Father Fidel, or even before that. But I didn’t regret anything. Since I killed my dad, I became alive. Choosing my targets with or without motive, the planning, the hunting, and then the execution, every step gave me an adrenaline rush; I had never enjoyed life so much.


Since I didn’t have any feelings for my victims, using my skills to cut them to pieces was like handling cows or pigs. Knowing that their flesh would be eaten, digested, and then defecated. I was in control, I was the master of the universe.


The unique sound of my tools, the sharpening of the knives echoing in my butcher shop without the sound of human voices, the special care I took while I was cutting breasts, the minor disgust I felt while handling penises. The mortal sound of the last breath from a life recently expired. The whole process was orgasmic. And gaining power and confidence with every person I killed was a reward hard to compare.


*****


I had an appointment with my shrink, but when the day came I thought it would be useless to attend. I knew I needed to have a final conversation with her, and I had decided to express myself openly and without any fear. Last time we met, I shamefully ran away with my tail between my legs and I wasn't too happy about it.


My evil actions caught up with me just when I thought I had found asylum in my own mind when my tormented soul finally found some peace.


If I had the chance to go back to the moment my dad went into that refrigerator and do everything differently, beginning by not locking the door, I would still choose to do it all the same way. I wouldn’t change a thing. 


Considering all the crimes I've committed I'm sure I was a good candidate for a lobotomy to fix my schizophrenia, manic depression, bipolar disorder, or wherever mental illness I suffered.


After a short polite greeting, Jennifer, my psychiatrist began our session.


“We were interrupted abruptly during your last visit Angel, or was it you, that was in a hurry to get out of my office?”


“Both, I think.”


“Very well Angel, this time we won’t be interrupted, I guarantee you.  We’ve already established what you’ve done, and it’s too late to deny it. Before we continue, I want to make clear that all information shared by patients cannot be disclosed without written permission. Unless the psychiatrist believes the patient can cause harm to himself or others. Just answer me this question, have you killed anyone?


“The reason I came to you was that I thought I needed professional help, my mind was a mess. Could I blame one of my multiple personalities? Have you failed in your mission to cure me?” I said.


It was useless, I didn’t know what to say. I couldn't defend myself, all evidence was pointing at me. I'd be a fool if I tried to deny it.


“You were deeply troubled when you showed up in my office. I  take the credit for your improvements, but nothing could have changed the past. If you were involved in the disappearance . . .  you know what? I’m going to stop saying 'disappearance', I’m going to call them what they are, killings. So, if you killed those people you need to surrender to the police. If they find you guilty, you can plead innocence by reason of insanity. I would testify on your behalf and you can probably be sent to a mental institution instead of a prison. If you promise you won’t harm yourself, I’ll give you two days to settle your personal life, if you don’t surrender after those forty-eight hours, I'll notify the authorities. Now, tell me how many persons have you killed?”


We were interrupted by her assistant to let us know she was leaving. We heard when she locked the front door. My shrink and I were alone. I could see the fear in her eyes; she shouldn’t have allowed her secretary to leave. But it was too late now.


“Okay if you want to know how many people I killed, grab a pen and start writing,” I said.


Then, as I stood up, I took a heavy crystal ashtray from her desk and started walking behind her. Her usual look of professional dominance and superiority disappeared in a second. She froze and looked terrified. I walked around her chair and hit her on the forehead. She fell backward on her fancy chair, bleeding profusely.


“Please Angel don’t kill me, I’m pregnant,” and after that, every time I hit her, she kept begging, “I’m pregnant Angel, please don’t kill me, I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant,” until she stopped moving.


She was the first person I killed outside my butcher shop. I couldn’t get rid of her body the same way I did with the others. Too bad. I’ll never taste her flesh.


When I walked out of her office I kept thinking about her last question, “How many persons have you killed?” then, I began with the list . . .


        1.     My dad

        2.     The Thief

        3.     Ana Suarez

        4.     Leticia

        5.     Fredo

        6.     The hooker

        7.     Father Fidel

        8.     And the shrink. (I wonder if I should include a baby.)


If dad would have been nice to me, none of this would have happened. All my life had been boring and meaningless until I killed my dad. From then on, my life was exciting and I was always looking forward to the next day.


The distance between the psychiatrist office from downtown to my shop was two or three miles. 

The best time I had, was when I was a kid. Back then the city was greener without so many roads and so many cars. On Saturdays, I used to walk along the river upstream and go all the way to Three Rivers. It would take me all morning to get there and then I would spend two or three hours swimming and fishing. It was easy to ask for a ride on my way back. As I grew older I would hike up all the way to the Sequoia Mountains.


I know a lot of people in this town, but none of them I consider my friends. As I stroll around town, many people would greet me, even if I try to be invisible. 'Hola Don Angel', many of them would say. But lately, I noticed a radical change in all the people that frequent the park, the homeless and winos don’t want to acknowledge my presence, they'd turn the other way when I go through the park. I don’t mind, I didn’t want to be their hero anyway. I used them too. One thing’s for sure, no one will miss me when I die, except grandma. I know she’ll find a quick way to follow me.


I promised myself not to cry in front of grandma. With the exception of my psychiatrist, grandma was the only person who knew about my crimes. She condoned everything I did, all the carnage I caused and the sins I’ve committed. Grandma and Sadie were the only two persons I loved on this Earth.


My grandma couldn’t hide her anxiety since the detectives came to investigate Father Fidel’s disappearance; she seemed more distressed every day. I’m sure she knew the end was getting near.


During the last week, every night, she came to my room to give me a kiss goodnight, something she hadn’t done since I was ten years old.



Edmundo Barraza
Visalia, Ca.






Monday, July 9, 2018

My Father Created a Monster XV




XV
IN A DESCENDING CYCLE



Instead of waiting for the police to come to the house asking questions about Father Fidel I decided to go and talk to them. I had to assume their investigation would lead them to my house anyway.

I told them he was one of my grandma’s best friends. I mentioned about the donations grandma had provided to the church. I had bank receipts and cashier's check copies. I told them about the thirty thousand dollars in cash he had asked for to build his boy’s club. I said we gave him the money when we invited him to dinner last Friday. 

I didn’t mention he was a pedophile. They would discover that during the investigation. I never talked about him in the past tense, that could give the impression that I knew he was dead already. I referred to him as if he was alive and he’d show up any minute. And I told them another lie, that he had mentioned a general contractor from the L.A. area he might hire. Grandma supported my story.

The money was still in the house, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought I could make small deposits at a time and return it all to the bank. But for the moment I was stuck with that cash. 

I told the same story to Joy and Sadie. Either they believed it or were troubled with the possibility that I got rid of him. In any case, they didn’t say a word after I presented my 'true' facts.

The church offered fifteen thousand dollars reward for any information leading to his whereabouts, and the City of Visalia put up another fifteen thousand dollars for a total of thirty thousand dollars. The same amount Father Fidel had at the moment of his disappearance, ha!

That entire week Father Fidel was on the front page of the local newspaper.

A few days later, the police found Father Fidel’s ring in a pawn shop. A homeless person had pawned it, and he claimed it had appeared in his hamburger. They didn’t believe him and put him in jail. Since the cops had a suspect in custody, news of the priest went to the second page and things settled down a bit for a while.


*****



My shrink was forty years old, her name's Jennifer. She wore her dresses with elegance and style, the smell of her perfume was discrete and subtle. A classy lady, and smart too.

I called her office to make an appointment, but since we were interrupted in our prior meeting by another client, I decided to always have the last appointment. 

I didn’t know if the treatments were effective, but I enjoyed our meetings. We talked about depressing things, phobias, obsessions, disorders, and other mental dysfunctions. 

With the exception of all my crimes, I exposed all my hidden secrets within my soul in our conversations, including all mental abuses my dad made me suffer.

It felt weird knowing nothing about her, while she was an expert on my mental state. Often, I would regret having talked so much afterward. 

Perhaps, I shouldn’t call our discussions “conversations” since I was the only one exposing my soul in the process.

"I've noticed some improvements in you Angel. You're not so shy anymore, and you don't complain so much about your father . . ." 

“I'll never stop complaining about my father. But you're right, I feel like another person now."   

Having turned into a killer to become a normal person must sound ridiculous, but killing my father was the best thing I've done in my whole life. That was the turning point for me.

“What would you do if your dad reappeared in your life?”

"I would kill him again." my mind immediately replied, but instead, I said, “I could never allow reliving the same situation, I would rather die.”

I felt insane, because I knew he’d never come back, and still, I sincerely imagined he could. Deep in my mind, I was sure I would kill him again.

“Do you consider yourself a violent person?” she asked. 

“I know I could defend myself if the situation arises,” I replied.

“What I mean to ask is if you think you’re capable of killing somebody” 

I felt cornered. All of a sudden I thought she knew all about me, but I tried to keep my cool.

“I think I could be, but only to defend the three persons I love the most in the world, my grandma, Sadie and myself.”

I didn’t have to be sincere with my response. I knew I killed Fredo and the prostitute without a reason, but things had changed. I wouldn’t kill anybody without a motive anymore.

“How old is your girlfriend, Angel?”

“Old enough.”

“How old, Angel?”

“She’s nineteen. Why?” I lied again.

“I saw you with her a few days ago, she was pushing your grandma’s wheelchair. She seems to be sixteen or seventeen years old.”

“I said she’s old enough. Can we change the subject now?”

“I’m sure you know that having sex with an underage girl is a grave crime. It’s a felony, and you could go to jail. I’m here to give you advice, and that’s what I’m doing.”

“It feels like you’re conducting an investigation, this is not a conversation, it’s more like an interrogation.”

“I’m sorry if you feel that way, Angel. But my obligation is to help you in any way I can. And for that, I need your collaboration.”

“Okay.”

“Did you read the newspaper today, Angel? There's an article about some people that have disappeared near the Oval Park, right around the area where you live. I’m sure you know about it, having contact with so many customers in your butcher shop,” then, she grabbed a newspaper from her desk, and continued. 

“The list includes an old lady named Ana Suarez, a sixteen-year-old girl named Leticia Gomez, Alfredo Lugo, whom they believe was gay, and of course Father Fidel. Should your dad be considered on the list, Angel?”

My face turned hot and red. I began to sweat like a pig. I’ve never been good at faking or hiding my feelings. I wanted to run to my room and hide under my bed. I was convinced that my attitude was revealing my guilt. 

“Of course, I’ve heard about all those people. In a meat market you hear about all kinds of stories, but if you’re implying that I have anything to do with the disappearance of those people, you’re wrong. It seems that you are accusing me of those murders and that’s completely unjustified and unfair too.”

“I never said anything about murders. Do you think they were killed? Because the authorities are investigating disappearances, not murders. They’re missing persons, if they’re dead, they haven’t found their bodies.”

“I don’t know if they were killed and I don’t care at all. I didn’t even know any of them.” I was feeling trapped. I couldn’t compete with an expert, especially if she was right.

“Well, Ana Suarez was your neighbor, she lived all her life right behind your house and Leticia worked for you in the butcher shop. You’re contradicting yourself, Angel, there’s no need to be nervous. Oh, and another thing, about the homeless person who claimed to have found Father Fidel’s ring in a hamburger, didn’t you serve those hamburgers to the poor people in the park? And weren’t you the last person to see Father Fidel alive? I believe he was in your house the night he disappeared.”

“Apparently you’ve been following this case very closely, but everything you mentioned is public knowledge. Ana Suarez lived in the house next to mine, but we never talked to her, she was a recluse. And Leticia worked for me for a few weeks, but then, she went to Hollywood to look for fame and fortune her mom knows about it. In any case, it feels like you’re accusing me and it hurts me deeply.”

“I've collected parts of this information during our conversations, you've mentioned some details concerning these people. My obligation as a psychiatrist is to take care of your mental health. Part of the treatment requires to question your social behavior. I need to get inside your mind to be able to help you better. About those missing persons, they’re just that, missing. If they don’t find the bodies, there’s no crime to follow. I just want you to talk to me about any subject. And if you know anything about those people, you should talk to the police. And one more thing, my intentions are to help you not to hurt you.”

I felt relieved when we were interrupted by her secretary to let us know she was leaving. I seized the intrusion to excuse myself too. I was exhausted. That session was pure torture.


*****


Sadie had never stayed in my room overnight, maybe, out of respect for Joy and Grandma, but we used to make love several times a week.

She’s been my savior. She's the main reasons my sanity is under control. I don’t know what I would do without her. 
The day after my shrink shook me and crushed me without mercy, Sadie also came out with some shocking surprises. After we closed the shop she said that we needed to talk.

She said Joy had accepted her boyfriend's marriage proposal and that they had plans to move to L.A.

“Joy wants me to go with them; she insists I must go to college. And I think she’s right,” she said.

“No, she’s not right, you belong here with me. L.A. is three hours away from here and if you go away, I’ll lose you forever. Why don't we get married? My life would be meaningless without you.”

“No Angel, I wouldn’t know what to do if I was married, besides, I really want to go to college. I can come and visit you every month, and you can visit me too.”

“No Sadie that would never work. I know that if you leave, I’ll lose you forever. If you leave, you’ll change for sure and forget about me. Long distance love could never last; besides, you’ll meet a bunch of guys your age. Please don’t leave Sadie, I beg you.”

“I don’t know Angel, I love you very much and it breaks my heart to leave you, but I can’t be without Joy in my life. Joy is like a mother to me. It’s a tough decision, but I’ve made up my mind already. You’ve been an angel to us. We will always be grateful to you. It won’t be easy to say goodbye to grandma either especially since I won’t be able to call her on the phone. I’m really sorry Angel. We can visit each other as much as we can, let’s not consider this the end.” 

“You’re killing me, Sadie, you really are.”

She had finalized our relationship and it seemed that she had ended my life too. I felt a desolated emptiness inside my body. I felt numb and dizzy. 

But she wasn’t done with the bad news.

“There are a few more things I need to tell you, Angel. Joy and I believe you killed Father Fidel. He was a real monster, but as bad as he was, there was no need to kill him. I don’t need to know whether you did it or not. People suspect you have something to do with the recent persons that have disappeared in the area. They also say you were involved with Leticia, the young girl that used to work in the shop. They say she disappeared the night you went with her on a date. They also mentioned a hooker and a thief that used to hang in the park.”

“But that’s absurd Sadie if they disappeared, that doesn’t mean they were killed, they never found the bodies. If there’s no body, there’s no crime to follow.”

“That’s the other thing, Angel. They believe you’ve been feeding them with human flesh, especially since they found Father Fidel’s ring in a hamburger. Things are about to explode Angel.”

“Is that the real reason you’re leaving then? Tell me, Sadie, you really believe in those rumors?”

At that moment, I knew I had lost her. I felt she was a million miles away from me. I wouldn’t dare to cause any harm to her, she was the love of my life. The only love I will ever have. But her love had disappeared too. I knew God would never allow guys like me to be happy.

“No Angel, the reason I’m leaving is to be with Joy and to go to college. I never forgot about that promise I made after our mom left. I will always love you and that’s a promise too.”

Then, I asked her to spend the night with me and she gladly agreed.

We both knew that that night would be our last night together. That night, we made love and we cried, and we made love and we cried again.  

Sometimes simultaneously.



Edmundo Barraza
Visalia, Ca.





Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My Father Created a Monster XIV





DIVINE PUNISHMENT


I froze and hesitated to open the door. Grandma was behind me. The shop had been closed for three hours. Father Fidel opened his eyes wide, probably expecting a salvation. Nervously, I opened the door slowly inch by inch. Pedro was on the other side. How could this be possible? I sent him to the house front door around the corner.

“What are you doing here, Pedro?”

“What happened with Father Fidel? I know he’s here; I saw him entering your house. I was following him.” he said, ignoring my question.

“Why were you following him?”

“I want my revenge," he said angrily, appearing older than a thirteen-year-old boy “my older brother’s with me, and he’s going to help me get even.” he continued.

I wondered how many more kids wanted their revenge.

I had a tough dilemma, but I couldn’t back out of the original plan. Father Fidel will never see the sun again. But now, I was forced to include Pedro and his brother in my plans. They knew he was here, I had to let them in. I couldn’t turn them down, besides, I was curious about what they had in mind.

“Okay Pedro, I told you Father Fidel was going to disappear very soon . . .  "

“Yes, but I want my revenge first,” he interrupted me, and added, 

“You have to let me do it, that’s why I brought my brother.” 

Pedro turned around and quietly called his brother. Appearing out of the dark, he had a knife in his right hand, his arm firmly tight against his right leg. I had to let them in; I had no other option. I told them how the priest had been deceiving grandma, and that she knew he was a pedophile too. “Follow me,” I said, and then the four of us advanced to the butcher shop. A single line, I was pushing grandma's wheelchair, the brothers walking behind me. Like executioners heading for the gallows to meet a  condemned criminal. It must have looked like a scene from the Spanish Inquisition.

I felt overexcited with the turn of events. Three generations, a seventy-year gap between the youngest and the oldest, very odd indeed.

We found the priest lying on the floor near the front entrance, he was ready to kick the door to call for attention. He had rolled over the entire length of the shop. He had to know his end was near when he saw Pedro and his brother with a knife in hand. I dragged him back and sat him on the floor, against the walk-in refrigerator.

Pedro was the first to confront him. “Pinche Padre joto!” (“Fucking homo priest!”) he said as he slapped him on the face. I wondered why Pedro didn't confront the priest that way when he first tried to take advantage of him. But then, I realized that I had been in the same situation with my father, and I didn't confront him until he was dead.

Perhaps, seeing how weak Pedro had slapped Father Fidel, his brother approached the priest and hit him with a solid blow. There was no doubt; the real punishment had begun.

I thought about removing the gag from his mouth to hear his defense, but he had no excuses, nothing could save him. He couldn't expect paradise after committing such atrocities. He looked pathetic. No one could have pity on him knowing the true story, not even his mother.

“Why did you do that to me? I didn’t do anything wrong; my mom only wanted me to be an altar boy, she even thought I could be a priest like you.” Pedro said with tears in his eyes. 

Father Fidel had tears in his eyes too, but his tears were of fear and desperation not of pain or repentance.

I took Pedro’s brother aside and asked him what they had in mind. He said he didn’t know yet, but he suspected that his brother wanted him to do the same things Father Fidel did to Pedro.

“Okay, I’ll give you an hour to get Pedro’s revenge, but don’t kill him and don’t say a word to anybody about what we’re doing here,” I said to him. Then. I pushed grandma to her room.

His name was Abel; he was nineteen years old, and he didn’t speak English. He was sixteen years old when they arrived in the US. He had been working in the fields with his dad since then. He didn’t have time to go to school to learn English or anything else. Pedro had told him all about it just this morning. They had been following Father Fidel all day long, they were waiting for him to come out of the house.

When I went back, the priest was lying naked on the floor. The brothers were done, things were even now. Could they ever be?

Abel and Pedro shook my hand on their way out. Pedro didn’t look like a kid anymore. I guess a horrible experience such as that, could turn a young kid into a bitter man in a short time. He would look at the world in a different way, he would be more cautious. His innocence gone.

The priest was unconscious, he was bleeding from his genitalia, his penis was gone. I couldn't avoid comparing this image to his smiling face on the picture with the Pope. What a ridiculous contrast.

I still felt enormous hatred for him. I decided to work on him while he was still alive. As he lied on the floor I put a butcher’s block under his right hand and proceeded to cut it off with my machete. The unconscious priest then sat up and lifted his right arm. Seeing no hand attached to it he fainted again. Then, I severed his head. 
    
Later, while dismembering his body, I smiled when I found his missing organ inside his anus. My guess was that they had pushed his dick up his ass with a stick or something like that. I confirmed my suspicions when I saw the toilet plunger near his body.

Many people will miss him, probably a reward would be offered by the Church or the local government. But the church choir will be singing with genuine happiness.

In the morning grandma gave me a note, “He’ll be missed and they’ll organize a massive search. He might have been a monster, a child molester, but nobody knew about it. Everybody loved him; he was very popular too. We need to be extremely careful.” She had a good reason to be worried.
The disappearance of a priest was not the same as a missing runaway teen or a homeless thief.

It could have been possible somebody knew where he was going, maybe, somebody saw him coming to our house. But there were no traces of him in the butcher shop. I spent a lot of time cleaning in detail with industrial chemicals and all kinds of cleaning materials to make sure there was no evidence left of him. He was in the house; we invited him to dinner, he came, he ate, and he left. He had a little to drink, but he wasn’t drunk, and then, he took off. 

I told grandma not to worry too much. But I was worried a little.

On Saturday, as I carried the sinful grounded flesh to the park, I was thinking I should have taken it to church to have it blessed with holy water first.

That time grandma and I refused to participate in our cannibalistic ritual. There were many things about Father Fidel that we didn’t like. He was worse than a 'normal' rapist; his victims were innocent children. In my opinion, he was a hundred times worse than me.

After a couple of days, Father Fidel was on the news. They were announcing his disappearance. 




Edmundo Barraza
Lancaster, Ca. 08-22-2014