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Chicacabra (Chapter 31) Homecoming

December 19, 2010



Yoly Solis


Chapter 31: Homecoming


Piropo (pee-rope-oh)

Compliment, flattery.

Poetic prose (at least men think so) said by men to attractive women, preferably in a public setting. Also yelled at unattractive women if men are bored.

Warning: Do no take seriously. Feel free to glare, flip off and send to hell. However, never, never respond with piropos. Men will become frightened and run for their lives.  



“I still can’t believe Cristina’s son is serving in Iraq.”

“Si, we’re very proud of him but Cristina hasn’t been dealing with it very well, neither has Papito.”

“Is that why she’s so, you know, like she is?”

“Nah, she’s always been that way. But she has gotten quieter, more sensitive.”

Lucky she missed knowing Cristina when. “Oh.”

“The worse was when she showed up at American Airlines and demanded a flight to Iraq. She was wearing a camouflage outfit with cropped pants, high-heel boots and the glitter belt I gave her for Christmas. She looked so cute. Anyways, they told her they didn’t fly to Iraq and she said America owns Iraq and that she wanted to torture terrorists alongside her son. She even brought along a terrorist-torturing instruction manual. Well, you can imagine what happened next.”

No, she couldn’t and she wouldn’t.

“They arrested her and we had to bail her out of airport jail. She scratched up one of the security people pretty good, too; lost three acrylics.”

“Uh, we should bring something to the party.” Joyce said.

“They didn’t press charges, though. I guess they felt sorry for her; I know I did.”

Who wouldn’t feel sorry for a phsycho-chica on her way to Iraq?

“Let’s stop at the liquor store. I’ll pick up a bottle of wine. No way am I going without bringing something.”

“But then you’ll make me look bad.”

“Okay, so why don’t we get two bottles?”

“Ay, that’s a good idea. Let’s go to Pantry Liquors on 8th Street. They’ve got the best prices.”

Gisela’s gloomy mood had lightened. Dr. Phil wasn’t so smart after all. 

After circling the shopping center twice, Joyce found a parking spot. Men of every age, coloring and receding hairline hung around the small shops and drank out of paper bags. Eighth Street happy hour. Blood-shot eyes followed their every move.

“Gisela, what is this place? Those men are staring at us.”

“That is what men are supposed to do.” She smiled back at the strangers, egging them on.

“Gisela, this seems dangerous, we’re outnumbered.

“Cosa Linda!”

“Si cocinas como caminas.”

“Que rica tu estas mami.”

Joyce grabbed Gisela’s arm. “Wasn’t there a rapist attacking women in this neighborhood?”

“Ay si, but he only raped old ladies.”

“Oh, that’s reassuring.”

“Don’t worry, Joyce, we’re single, we can flirt with any man we want.”        

A man, who couldn’t afford to replace a missing front tooth but could afford a massive gold chain worth thousands of dollars, blocked their entrance to the liquor store.

He sucked in a deep breath; the gap between his teeth whistled.

“Que rica tu estas, linda. Ven conmigo que te voy a enseñar las estrellas.”

Gisela giggled. Joyce gagged.

He stuck his tongue out then wiggled it in the air.


Joyce dug her fingers into Gisela’s arm. She wished she had acrylic nails.

Gisela giggled again then posed like Marilyn Monroe. The sharks began to circle.

Joyce clutched Gisela’s arm with one hand, and without looking back, her other hand groped, searching for the front door of the liquor store.

She felt something hard but it wasn’t cold like a door handle should be. She pulled at it but the door wouldn’t open. Then she turned around.


The scream startled some of the men; they retreated. Others were not deterred.

“Gisela, we’re leaving right now.” Joyce yanked her arm and ran towards the car.

“Why, Joyce?” she said out of breath. “They’re so nice.” 



“You’ve lost your mind, you know that? And now I’ve got to disinfect my hand!”

Gisela smiled like a naughty, little girl. “I think I should drink from a stranger’s cup, don’t you?”

“In this case you mean drink from a stranger’s beer bottle.”

“Either one. As long as it’s a stranger; it’s sexier that way.”

Gisela must get back with Pedro, pronto.

“Ooh, look how pretty,” Gisela said, pointing.

She was right. Flags peppered Cristina’s front lawn. An oversized American flag flew in the center, surrounded by countless flags from other nations.

Joyce locked the car door and smiled at the mini-United Nations of Southwest Miami. She recognized most of the flags: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Spain, Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Costa Rica, Panama and Brazil.      

“This is amazing,” Joyce said. “What does it mean?”

“It means that all of these countries are represented here today to welcome Papito, Jr. back from Iraq.”

Cristina hosting a United Nations delegation–beyond bizarre. 

“Ay,” Gisela said, her hand pressed to her chest, “I hope there are single men here. Maybe some of them are desperate for paperwork, you know, and will do anything to get it.” Gisela winked.


The Gladiator’s truck sat parked across the street. Her heart pounded, and once the front door opened, the music pounded also.

The guest of honor, still in uniform, stood in the middle of the living room. Crowds surrounded him, talking to him; touching him as if he were Elvis come back to life. Joyce smiled. Cristina must be proud.

But Cristina stood in the kitchen scowling at the buffet table.

“Look at them,” she said, “they haven’t stopped eating since they got here.”

Joyce set the Publix cheesecake sampler on the kitchen counter. Cristina inspected the dessert, no doubt searching for the price tag.

“Hide it in the refrigerator; otherwise we won’t get a chance to taste it, not with those chupacabras.” She pointed her middle finger at the in-laws. They saw her, commented then pretended not to notice. Insults couldn’t obstruct their appetites.

Joyce did as she was told. “Cristina, you must be so proud. Your son is so handsome, everyone is swooning over him.”

“They’re all full of crap. They don’t care what happens to him.”

“C’mon, Cristina, enjoy your day. You must be happy he’s home.”

Cristina pointed at Gisela. “Pedro’s here.”  

Crap. Pedro must have sequestered The Gladiator.

Gisela couldn’t stop the smile from curling her lips. She pretended to not care; acting was not her forte. “It’s a free country; Pedro can go where he wants.”

“He’s outside. Go talk to him.” 

“I have nothing to say to him.”

Tía Margarita appeared. “Pedro is outside crying like a baby. He’s making a scene.”

“He’s not making as much of a scene as the chupacabras; no one’s that bad.”

No, only Chicacabras can out-shine Chupacabras.

“He’s stealing the show and I’m getting tired of defending you, Gisela,” Tía Margarita said.

“Defending me?”

“Si, one of the men told Pedro about Pantry Liquors.”

Nothing is secret inside the Chicacabra Empire.

“They said that if the Anglo lady wouldn’t have dragged you off, you would’ve done something nasty.”

Gisela lifted her chin. “That’s ridiculous, isn’t it Joyce?”

Joyce headed for the buffet table. The Chicacabras must own a spy satellite. It probably had sequins glued to its metal encasement.

 Joyce picked up a Styrofoam plate. The buffet overflowed with scrumscious platters. She reached for the roast pork but one of the chupacapra in-laws blocked her path. Cristina wasn’t kidding.

She shuffled towards the other end of the buffet table and reached for a hefty spoonful of Arroz Imperial, but another chupacabra stood in the way. She glanced back at Cristina. Big mistake.

“Oye, chupacabras! Put your hands in the air and step away from the buffet!”

An elderly woman screamed and dropped her plate. The chupacabra in-laws ignored the warning shot.

That’s when Joyce spotted the cooler. And so did Cristina.

“I knew no one could eat that much! You were stealing food all along, taking it home to feed the other chupacabras.”

The argument escalated, then blew up into the expected Cristina brawl. Until Papito, Jr. entered.

As if a muzzle had been strapped to their screaming faces, they shut the hell up.

“Is everything okay?” The hero said.

Cristina stretched her face into a forced, hell-raiser smile. “Everything is fine, mi amor. We’re just talking about politics, you know how that goes.”

He smiled. So did everyone else.

“Mi amor, why don’t you take the chupa…, er, your future in-laws into the living room and tell them about your tour of duty? They seem to think that all you do is kill people; they need to understand all the humanitarian work you do. Make sure you explain all the details, especially those military procedures.”

The chupacabras glared at Cristina; she had won.

“Hurry,” Cristina said to the chicas, “grab the coolers and hide them inside the shed in the backyard.”     

Damn, she was good.

The tablecloth hid the dozen or so coolers. Joyce slid four out from underneath the buffet table while the chicas slid over the rest. Food from another party also rested inside. Looked like a baby shower had been raided.

“Here, let me help you with that.”

The Gladiator bent over and pried the coolers from her fingers. She got a whiff of his aftershave and inhaled.

He wore a short sleeve, white linen shirt and kaki pants. Man candy, man chocolate candy.

“Where do we put them?”

“Cristina wants them inside the shed,” Joyce said, swinging the door open.

He peeked inside. “They’re full of food. Is that a good idea?”

“She wants us to leave them open so the ants and Palmetto bugs can enjoy.”

He shook his head. He knew better than question Cristina’s motives.

She held the door open. He brushed up against her then stopped to sniff her hair.

“You smell good,” he said.

She smiled.


He ignored the call. They stared at each other like hungry wolves.

“I need to get a headboard for my bed,” The Gladiator said, “Which do you think I should get: rod iron or wood?”

Joyce gasped.

“Manny, vamonos!”

 To be continued…

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