Cuento 5: “Solidaridád,”Paradisíaco (889 words)
Gardening’s why I’m here in Nicaragua, beyond loving my family into productive life and pushing my writing to staccato elegance, castañeteo, sometimes, when I’m here. Too, I’ve a well-sprung heart for Teote, and, given all the FCE work—the school s, health clinic, police station, town hall, women’s bakery, plus, experimental farms, scholarships, visiting vets and optometrists, ad infinitum. Just for starters, we brought potable water back to town, out for 13 years, not bad for gringo crazies with hearts in the warmer places. Gracias, Glenwood Springs, Sister City.
It’s all just greater gardening, to me. Of course, I also love being a don.
Por favor, look here, over this plastic fence, queridos!
“Tierra Mia” backs up on La Grundge-ia, a.k.a. Teote Abajo. Once a haven for war homeless, now it’s Zorro’s starving village, con putas en la noche, all down my western border. Most are polite young women with abandoned kids who enjoy this more than working tabaco. I own and rent two houses on Puta Street, my buffer, to several young -Betanco-niece-sex-workers—Believe me, amigas, I’ve tried to save their virtue, but, no dice!--plus a third, across Puta City’s main street, not really part of my plan for “Tierra Mia,” but for noise control. Its acquisition speaks to realer-than-real life on Teote’s meanest street.
I bought the gay bar and its blasting PA, es verdad, now rented to busy teachers, when doña Marvin, the owner, one of Teote’s “men in dresses,” wanted to move farther off, onto the highway to Jalapa, paved now, and fast, and needed to sell. “La Faerie Queen de Teote,” so named by another Brigadista, whispered to Marta over café that she’d “cut the price, move out rapidamente y permanente, if a certain noted Chéli would expedite the cash pronto, via Western Union, in 2 days. ”
Otherwise, she’d “probably have to stay, for years”—location is everything, even in Teote—“until a sucker comes along.” Anyway, she said, “I guess I’ll open a Disco Bar for heteros on the other side, shocking pink and blue, just stunning, like Paris or Nueva York, with mirrors,” she said, “though un poco loud, with two barros playing such musica diferenta ,” she added, with a mince of claro sympathy to Marta, and . . . . So, Martita, who hates la musica de Marvin almost as much as I, got on her cell, my gift, called me, and, voila, I marshaled all the angels needed to reap mi tranquilidád.
Por gracias de Diós, with help from Miguel, and, especially don Moncho, one shrewd Jerry McQuire, I eventually obliged, after shaving another $900 off Marvicita’s cut-rate asking price, “for malo wear and tear in all the fuchsia bedrooms,” mi padre said, with a macho smirk in his voice. The cash, ready, had fallen in my lap, gilded manna, the week before, another synchronicity. “Found Money” hyperventilates to this end of the road for the incipient don Douglas, Land Baron de Nicaragua.
The deal got me an upscale house in Teote, cheap, with multi-colored cribs, a modern kitchen, and a bordello de hombres bathhouse deluxe, with aqua Greek columns around a deep pink pila, cold-water-only, Teote-style. It’s the one house, excepting palomas, I’d live in, did it not front La Calle de las Putas.
I bought it to bury the noise, but I also engineered a laugh-riot-sensation the following Christmas Dinner in Colorado, telling my grown son and daughter, in front of the clacking relatives, they’d one day own a very pricey gay bordello in Puta City, Nicaragua! Hoo-Hah! We almost lost our giblets and gravy, giggling. Trickster-don!
Now, though, I’m selling it, for doble the dinero, to an evangelical church on a mission, with need, apparently, of a large baptismal font. No PA is part of the deal. I’ll buy a couple more buffer houses with the gains. I hope I’m not cheating my stateside kids of their heritage, but I’m not much into abuse. Marta says muchachos con vestidos died of slit throats in esta barro, and I don’t need any more ghosts than I already have.
The deal with Marvicita felt destined, smooth, mutual. Both doña Marvin and I are happy in our expansive and, for me, much quieter, places. I’ll never hear Ricky Martin’s “Vida Loca” again, her favorite song, blared out her barro’s system until 10 pm every night but domingo.
Even gay putas need their Sundays off, and most go to church in very sedate dresses, with braided beards, of course. When doña Marvin’s not in bright Gucci knockoffs, she, being a macho modern guy, goes for black Armani copies, muscle shirts and chains of gold and silver, un guapísimo, especially for church with her colorful entourage. They separate and celebrate with their families, pass the paz, and visit with the padre after misa. In drag. With beards. Surrounded, like doña Marvicita, by children from earlier sexual choices, supported by their current services.
Now, that, mi amigos, is Teote, pequeño, in small: one for all, and all, regardless of circumstance, for one, in solidarity. Gracias a Diós por todo.
Perhaps the locals who covet La Doña Estebana’s pasture just want to live across the street from don Douglas Betanco, on the quietest street in Teote, tranquilo but for “The Moody Blues,” medium volume, my constant writing compadres, in blues-y Nicaragua.