Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Don't Practice Santeria... Part 2

When Alberto left, late that night I begged my parents to tell me about him.

"He does Santeria," my mother said.

"He's a bad ass Santero," my dad told me, "His family's like Santeria royalty. As high up as you can get."

"What's Santeria?"

"I don't know a lot about it. That shit scares me, but it's like Cuban Voodoo I guess. Ripping the heads off chickens and shit," my mother explained.

"Whatever it is, whatever they do -It Works," she added after a second.

"What do you mean it works?" I asked.

"Spells. I think they do spells. Chants, sacrifices, spirits. They ask the spirits to do things for them. I don't know. I never asked him too much about it."

"It's an old, old religion the slaves brought from Africa," my father said, "But we've known Alberto for years and he's never talked too much about it. You know, he's our friend, we're not from that same world and to us he lays tile, he's a drummer. Santeria is a big part of his life, maybe the biggest, but it's a secretive thing."

"I want to know how he saved your life," I told my mother.

"I'd been arrested and I was sitting in jail in Millpond awaiting trial. I was there for a couple months already, just waiting."

"Where was I?"

"In kindergarten. You lived with Mommom and Pop. You didn't know I was in jail."

"And you were in jail for selling drugs, right?" I asked.

"Yes. I was selling drugs to make money to hire lawyers to get you back after I lost custody of you. But I became one of the biggest drug dealers on the whole East coast. I was one of the top dogs trafficking from Florida. I was the main supplier and I kept a lot of the supply in my house."


"But the Feds were on to me in Millpond. They had it out for me. They knew what I was doing but they couldn't catch me. They were trying to make a case that would have put me away for years. I knew they were closing in on me, so I cleaned out my supplies and got rid of all of it and a couple hours later they raided my house."

"Oh my God, what did they find?"


"They took you to jail for nothing?"

"Basically," my mother said, "I had cleaned it out so good, but they still managed to find a couple seeds and stems. Nothing that would have amounted to anything you could have sold or even smoked. But it was enough for them to arrest and charge me and back in Millpond where everyone knows everyone's business the judge set a bail so high I could never make it. I had to sit in that nasty assed jail until my trial."

"So what did you do?"

"I made friends with the girls in there. Mostly black girls. It was pretty much all black girls."

"What had they done?"

"Little shit. I'll tell you, most of those girls were sweet as pie. They'd written bad checks to buy groceries to feed their kids. Prostitution. Most of the women in jail were there because they'd gotten in desperate situations trying to care for their kids without any help. Like me. I was there for the same reason."

"So then what?"

"So I'm rotting in this backwoods jail in Bumfuck Millpond and your father here was back in Florida freaking out. We weren't even married yet at the time but we were madly in love. I wrote him poems every day and long, long letters. I begged him to get me out. Meanwhile, the prosecutor had it out for me. They were going to prove that I was the biggest drug dealer in the state and put me away for years. I would have still been in there now. I would never have seen you again probably if that happened. So I begged your father to help me out and he couldn't. It was the night before my trial started. They had built a case like you wouldn't believe against me. I was going down. That was it. My life was over. So your father here went to Alberto and told him the whole thing."

My dad jumped in.

"I was desperate. I didn't know what the hell to do," he said, "I told Alberto the whole thing, as friends you know. I didn't think he could do anything. I was just telling him the story and how upset I was. And Alberto looks at me and goes 'Don't you fucking worry buddy, I got this one.' I told him - she has to see her daughter. She did this all for her daughter and now because of this, she'll never see her little girl again. He told me not to worry. He said 'That prosecutor's gonna bleed. I'm gonna make him bleed.' Then he left."

"I don't know what the hell Alberto did," my mom continued, "I get to court the next day and it was chaos. I was suicidal. I knew I was never going to marry the man I loved, never going to see my child again. I knew there was no way I could fight this. I had spent every last dollar I had on lawyers trying to fight this. They wanted me to plead guilty and take the sentence. Get it over with. So I get there and the trial is about to start and there's that prosecutor ready to take me down. All of a sudden, somebody comes in, tells him there's been an emergency with the prosecutor's wife who was pregnant at the time. She's hemorrhaging."

"No!!!" I gasped.

"Oh yes. He ran out of that room white as a sheet. They had to bring in a new prosecutor, but this one didn't know shit. The other one had made the case. This one didn't know anything about it. He reviewed the charges. They talked to the judge. Judge said it was ridiculous. He'd never seen something so ridiculous - stems and seeds. All this for some stems and seeds. So they dropped the fucking charges and I walked straight out of that court room a free woman."


"Oh yes I did."

"You think it was Alberto, for real?"

"I certainly do. He said he was going to make him bleed."

"But he made his wife bleed."

"Same difference. It worked didn't it?"

Was it just a coincidence? Is there any way to ever know something like that? I couldn't stop thinking about the story. I went to bed and couldn't sleep for thinking about the story. I got up and went into the kitchen for a drink and there, on the kitchen counter, was Alberto's little carved head, stuffed full of dried herbs, seemingly smiling at me. I grabbed it and took it to my bedroom.

To be continued...


Vic said...

This is sooo good. Trying to be patient...

Melanie said...

Oooooooooo! I can't wait for the rest of the story!

MtnMama said...

OMG. What a great story. I was happy this time to read "to be continued" because at least that meant MORE!

JoeinVegas said...

All I can hear is Ricky Ricardo singing . .

Jean_Phx said...

Wow, I got chills with this story - I can't imagine the fear that your Mom must have had thinking that she would never see you or your Dad again. Okay, WL, back to writing.

Jeannie said...

Fascinating. Had an employee once who married a Cuban (thought they were in love) and brought him to Canada. His Mother came to visit and obviously hated the girl...he eventually left her as he was using her...afterward, she found chicken bones hidden all over her house.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine you picked up the herb filled head and took it to your bedroom!

Jennie said...

I can't wait to hear more. By the way...anymore Finley stories?

Wide Lawns said...

Finley! No way. That's not me, that's Crystal. Click on my link to her that says "Crotchdust" and she might have another one up. I haven't checked. I hate writing fiction, so you won't find anything like that from me. I'm not great at making stuff up.

Ambitious Blonde said...

My lord, girl. You have certainly had an interesting life, and you sure as hell know how to tell a great story. Can't wait for the next installment.

Stuart said...

I hope the poor woman was okay, as it had nothing to do with her. And no matter how noble the cause, everyone knew your mother was guilty as charged. Well, it seems she learned her lesson...

Ally said...

You can't see, but I'm giving you the bambi eyes right now.

I promise to not make anymore Quequeg jokes when telling my boyfriend about your latest entries.

Waiting for More!

Anonymous said...

Wow, wonder how that evil peacock turned out after attacking your car then!


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