Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pequeña Señora

The two men dripped sweat after the short chase. They sat in the patrol car, hot and miserable, in the mid-day heat. Officer Barrett wrote in his log.

The prisoner looked up and smiled. “Hey hombre, they say if you breathe in the smoke of the burning Pequena plant you will come face to face with the demons that hold you back, keep hidden in a world of shadows, far away from the life you truly should be. You know what I’m talking about?

Officer Barrett kept writing in his book and did not look up.

The prisoner continued: “You know, that gentle nibble, the irritation gnawing at your soul.”

Officer Barrett wiped sweat from his brow with a white handkerchief, and glanced in the rear view mirror at his prisoner.

“You got illegal plants, Golton?” Barrett asked.

“Illegal? That plant? No. Extinct in the wild, very endangered world wide.”

“Extinct huh?”

“The smoke sets you on a journey you wouldn’t believe. You like to try?”

“I know you don’t have anything on you, unless it crawled out your ass.”

“I know where to get it. Close by.”

“I don’t smoke amigo. But you keep talking like this, I’ll book you on more than just being a public nuisance and intoxication, understand?”

“I can get it for you now. You see what it can do.”

“Did wonders for you, huh?” Officer Barrett chuckled as he wrote in his log.

“You see what I mean? I have an offer for you that could change your life and all you can do is write in your police book. Why don’t you look around, Hombre? People are living other people’s lives.”

Barrett glanced in the side mirror for oncoming traffic and merged quickly onto the single lane highway from the shoulder.

Golton made a clucking sound with his tongue and rested his head against the back cruiser door. The desert heat penetrated the car and washed over the men in rippling waves.

“Hey Hombre, how about turning up the air in this bucket?”

“Don’t worry about it; we’ll be at headquarters in fifteen minutes.”

“You telling me you don’t have air?”

Barrett said nothing.

Golton kicked the seat and slumped down.

“You kick that seat again and I’ll close your window.”

The two men stared at each other in the mirror.

Golton hummed quietly the Spanish song, De Colores as he turned away and looked out the window.

Distant, low mountains tops gleamed in the desert sun. Sequoia cacti dotted the sparse landscape. The occasional tumble weed blew across the dusty road.

“I see a few lonely plants out there, Hombre. But none like the Pequena. She has the most beautiful flowers of any plant, more beautiful than the cactus flower. I can take you to see it.”

Barrett smiled into the mirror. Golton frowned. “Hey, these cuffs are hurting my wrists. Why don’t you fix them at the next stop?”

“Next stop for you is the jail.”

“Before that.”

Barrett started to roll up the rear window.

“No, no! Please the air is all I need!”

The rear windows rolled back down and Barrett smiled into the rear view mirror.

Golton Nodded. “You have a heart, Amigo.”

They sat in silence for a mile or so. Golton coughed and sighed, then said, “The first time I tried the plant, it was such a beautiful day. It was at my Cousin Celia’s house in the back yard. We sat under some trees there and she pulled out the little dried piece of the Pequena. The air was thin and dry that day, too. Some clouds were trying to roll in from the foothills, but the sun was keeping away. Celia, she lit this little twig and pulled a shawl over us to breath in the smoke. I coughed and choked, Amigo. Oh, man my throat closed up and I could hardly breathe. But, that was when I saw her. She came to me under that tree. She appeared to me first from a cloud and took the shape of a beautiful woman with long flowing gowns. She had flowers in her hair. . I said to her, ‘Where do you come from?’ And do you know she looked right at me and her eyes sparkled, little silver sparkles like tiny bits of sun came from her eyes. ‘I have always been with you,’ she says. Then she spread her wings and covered me, she took me in her arms and…”

Barrett looked at Golton in the rear view mirror.

“She took you for a ride, huh?”

“No man, she made me see. I saw my life the way it should have been instead of all the way it is now. I was a different person. I was me, but a better me. Different…”

Barrett pulled his aviator glasses down his nose a bit and glanced at Golton. “Yeah, you weren’t a screw up anymore? That’s rich. Most drug trips just kill a few thousand brain cells, right amigo?”

Golton looked out the window. “You wouldn’t understand even if I told you the whole story. You would just laugh. People like you always laugh at people like me.”

“Laugh at drug addicts? I’m not laughing at you Golton, I’m laughing with you, you and your story.”

Golton began to cough. He gagged and choked and tried to catch his breath. Barrett pulled off to the side of the road and got out of the patrol car. Opening the back seat door, he leaned in to see to Golton, when the spray hit him squarely in the face. Barrett shot straight back and put his fingers to his nose and wiped. A fine dark purple power covered his finger tips. The earth began to spin. Round and round it went until he could no longer hold on, until he staggered back and fell.

“I forgot to tell you, Amigo, it comes in powdered form, too.” Golton laughed.

Barrett was rigid on the ground. His body convulsed once, and then went limp.

“Oh, shit, Amigo. Don’t die on me now. I still have to get you off the road.” Golton dragged Barrett around the back side of the cruiser and lay him face down in the dirt. He removed the keys to the cuffs and unlocked them from his wrists. “These hurt me, Amigo. For that you will pay.”

Gloton went trough the deputy’s pockets and found cigarettes and matches and lit one up. In the front seat he found a bottle of water and drank his fill. Water droplets tickled his nose and he rubbed his fingers under his nose and wiped. When he pulled his fingers back he saw they were purple. “No!” He said out loud and looked in the rear view mirror. The purple was in his nostrils and on his fingers. “Shit, shit!” Golton wiped his face on the deputy’s shirt. He found Barrett’s hanky and used it in each nostril, but it was too late.

Golton looked far across the desert plane and as far as he could see, a small dark cloud lingered in the distance. But soon that cloud was rising up. And he could see her coming. On a galloping cloud she rode. Her teeth bright white and clenched, her hair flowing back into the wind. In an instant she was there. Her wind horse screamed and the dust flew up into his face. She sat on the thundering horse cloud as it reared up before him. Her shadow cast him in darkness and the wind blinded him with sand. “Please leave me now! Please help me!”

She leaned forward on the swirling mass and spread her wings.
“Forgive me mother soul! I am a wicked man! Please. I know I have not done what I am supposed to do. I have failed you! Please!”

Her voice ran through him as an electric current would tickle skin. It yanked and pulled his flesh, yet was a smooth and comforting. A voice other worldly in gravity and charm. A voice that grounded him pinned him to the floor of the Earth and opened him as a frog on a dissection table. “You are. No more or less than eternal truth has created you.” She said. And it all went black.

A buzz reached is ear and pulled him through a dark tunnel back into the light. The voice was harsh and hard to understand. Then it came back to him that he was human and had ears and could hear and understand these words. “Come on, get your ass out of the car, I said!” Barrett pulled Golton from the car and steadied him as they walked to the police station door. Golton strained to open his eyes. They stung and felt filled with sand as he tried to concentrate on Barrett’s commands.

“I don’t know what stunt you pulled on me, Golton. But I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let you get away with it. Assault on an officer is a serious charge!”

“Hey, Amigo. I’m glad to see you’re all right. I thought maybe you had a bad accident or something. Last I saw you, you were lying by the side of the road.” Golton said, as they made their way to the processing room. Barrett sat Golton at a chair and cuffed his hands to the table there.

“Hey, Amigo. Have I told you about the Pequena, the lady in the wind? She comes to me and tells me when things are going to happen.

“Yeah? Did she tell you you’re gonna spend a few days in lock up?” Barrett said as he filled out a form.

Another voice charged the air. “Barrett, what the hell happened to you?”

“Nothing, Sarg. I got the wind knocked out of me is all. Damn little prick hit me with some kind of spray.”

“Yes. Yes, she tells me many things, Amigo.” Golton said out loud but not so loud as to be heard.

"Well, you look like shit." The voice said. "Barrett? Barrett!"

Golton still could not see, but he heard now a banging, a fall. Men scuttled toward him and then to Barrett. They said things like, “Get the EMT’s. And, “Put his feet up.” He heard the chest compressions being performed. More men scuttling back and forth and the far off siren as it raced across the desert toward them.

“Hey, Amigo? Are you still there?”

A voice called, “Somebody get him out of here!” And Golton was being led to a cell. The blurry path to the back was lined in tan uniforms and shiny guns and badges as the whirling sounds of life and death played out in back of him.

“Amigo. Don’t fight it, Amigo. I see now what she told me. Yes, she told me she was coming. For you, I guess. I thought it was me. But she covered me with her wings. It must have been you, Amigo. You! You see? The Pequena Senora, she never lies. I told you, Amigo. She sends you on a trip, eh?” Golton laughed and coughed. “A trip, eh?”

Golton grew suddenly tired and rested his head on the bench in his cell. The sirens were there now, just outside his door, but they could not keep him awake. They could not bring him back. He fell slowly into the desert's swirling winds, covered only by her wings. Protecting him from all that will ever be.

The End
Disclaimer: The Pequena Senora is NOT a real plant, it is not used to get high or smoke or ingest in any way and does not make you high. No drugs or plants should be used for any kind of ingestion. This story is fiction.

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