Mia: Shaken Not Stirred

The true life stories of a NYC female.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mia & Cleo's Most Excellent Adventure

I pushed myself away from the paper I was working on. I needed a break. I was nursing a “shoot me and put me out of my misery” type headache that just wouldn’t go away. The past few days had been unbearable, and my body ached. I had a new professor at school a Puerto Rican woman from Nebraska with a huge chip on her shoulder. She was determined to prove herself as a teacher here in the Big Apple by making what should have been a five week piece o’cake class into something the Marquis De Sade would’ve found too torturous.

The professor angered over school policy forbidding finals for this five week class came up with a way of circumventing school policy in the form of a weekly exam and a weekly paper. We had to pick the topic ourselves and provide our own research and apply to whatever we had covered in class during the week. Doesn’t sound too hard does it? The problem was that if she did not like your paper for whatever reason: topic, writing style, wind blowing up her butt during a full moon, it would be returned to you un-graded and you’d get no credit for it. There were no “do overs.” Now take into consideration that the five papers written for this class make up 3/4 of your final grade and you start to feel a little antsy about the quality of each paper you write, more so than usual.

Adding to the misery was the weather. It was as if someone had turned New York’s furnace on full blast and closed all the windows. Luckily my apartment was not too bad. It’s one of the advantages of living so close to the water. There was a wonderful breeze skipping off the long island sound and into my bedroom. Every time the breeze hit me there was tiny aroma explosion of cucumber melon, a result of my body spray and lotion. Looking out my window I remember thinking how beautiful the sky was, and how lucky I was in general. It was one of those “Gracias for the many blessings Ms. Divine Power…can I hear a hallelujah and amen” moments. Life at that particular moment was very good.

My dog Cleo was standing beside me looking out the window when a massive funnel of wind barreled into my bedroom sucking everything up in its wake. I felt myself being sucked out of my room flying through the air everything swirling around me. I grabbed my messenger bag with my school work as it flew past me and wrapped it tightly around me. I heard Cleo barking and I stretched my hand to feel for her pulling her towards me and hugging her close as we twisted and turned in the air.

Through the air I flew with my faithful companion super puppy until the wind died down depositing me flat on my butt with Cleo in my lap. I heard tiny voices yell out “The Mia has landed!” and was suddenly surrounded by the lollipop guild wearing stethoscopes and setting up IV poles.I dusted myself off and looked around trying to figure out where I was, “Cleo I have a feeling we’re not in The Bronx anymore.” The paper I had been working on lay scattered at my feet. I looked around me. There was pastel colored graffiti every where. My father would have a fit if he saw this! He would’ve cursed up a storm “*&^%! Kids!” and have ran to find the bottle of graffiti remover. My mom the artist would love it! She would’ve asked me to photograph it. I rummaged around for my digital camera the one Jackie got me as a birthday gift. It wasn’t in my bag, it was back home.

I saw a few heads pop up here and there obviously as curious about me as I was about them. A woman slowly made her way towards me. I was struck by her height and beauty. Well considering that I’m 4ft 11 anything over 5ft is tall to me, but this woman was actually tall. Her long curly hair was blonde, real blonde not that fake L’oreal bottle blonde. Her eyes were a very pale shade of blue. She reminded me of my mother despite the fact that my mother has auburn hair and dark eyes; still she looked so much like my mother. “Hola mijita” she said taking my hand into hers. I felt safe with her. She led me to a table where four men were playing dominoes. “Capicu cabron!” yelled one old man as he slammed his dominoes on the table causing it to vibrate. He spotted me and stood up. He came towards me and we just stared at each other. He had the most amazing dimples, and cheek bones. There was something oddly familiar about him. I felt as if I should’ve known him. His dimples and the cleft in his chin reminded me of the ones that grace the features of my uncles and my brother. His dark oblique eyes and copper colored skin reminded me of my own. He looked like an older tanner version of my uncles Tank and Gil. As he got closer to me I realized he smelled of Old Spice after shave and Marlboro cigarettes with a hint of café Bustelo. I liked it; his scent brought back pleasant memories of my great grandfather Don Candelario and of my grandpa Che. While the old man and I continued to size each other up there was a slight commotion in the crowd that had gathered. A tiny ancient woman stepped up. She looked old enough to have baby sat for Moses and Jesus. She told me I had to leave or I was going to miss the deadline for turning my paper in. She told me I had to hurry or I would miss the bus. I knew she was right I didn’t have time to chill I had work to do. “So where’s the bus?”

Before anyone could answer trouble swooped in from the sky on a swiffer broom. It landed gracefully at my feet in the form of my “Analyzing Criminal Behavior” professor. I held my breath as she reached for the papers that were scattered about on the ground. The papers seemed to have a life of their own dissipating into the air and into my messenger bag as soon as she reached for them. I quickly figured out that was not a good sign.

The wicked professor from the mid-west stood before me and held out her hand. She tapped her foot impatiently on the ground sending little clouds of dust into the air making her companions the winged monkeys cough. “Mia give me the paper now.” she said, Jabbing her long fingers into the tattoo on my arm. “I-I-I can’t. I haven’t finished it yet.” The winged monkey on her left mimicked her behavior. All of a sudden the winged monkey seemed to fly but not of his own free will. Someone from the crowd had kicked him where the sun didn’t shine. The wicked professor from the mid-west looked around and saw she was out numbered. She gestured towards her winged minions as she mounted her swiffer broom. She took off into the sky and did a 360, swooping down inches from my face and said,” I’ll get you yet, your paper on Psychiatric Disorders in Youthful Offenders and your little dog too.” I remember thinking that MGM and Turner Classics were going to be suing me big time since my dream was sounding a lot like a certain movie they own.

In an instant she was gone. I had no time to lose. The bus stop was 50 miles away and due to the lack of transportation in this place I was hoofing it. My paper was due in a matter of days. My degree hinged on my passing my summer class, and passing the class was contingent on this paper. “Take el path, el mosaic path tu sabes, the one embedded con el arte, follow it.” I was told. Yes people I dream in Spanglish. Hey what can you do man I am a product of my environment.

I was instructed not to get off the road and to ignore any voices that might call out to me from the side of the road no matter how familiar they sounded. If I stepped off the road I couldn’t go back home. I’d have to stay there and “ Nena you’re not going to like what is off the side of the road it’s not pretty. Okay? So cojelo con mucho take it easy stay on the road. If someone calls you act like you don’t hear them.” said the ancient woman. “The Piraguero (snow cone man) will be there waiting for you tell him I sent you. He’ll give you a metro card so you can take the bus straight home.” I waved goodbye and set along my path. Every now and then I looked back only to see them getting smaller until there was no sign of them. I focused on the road; it was a true work of art! More like a museum on the ground. It was embedded with mosaic reproductions of great works of art. I spotted Starry Night by Van Gogh, El Velorio by Francisco Oller and a few works by Frida Khalo , Diego Rivera, Goya, and Picasso. Every now and then I heard someone sweetly calling my name but I just stayed on the path just as I was instructed.

Cleo and I had been walking for a while when we came across a couple of girls. It turns out they were headed to the bus stop too. Now the walk wouldn’t be too bad as I had human company. I mean don’t get me wrong Cleo is excellent company but she is not exactly a great conversationalist. We talked about our lives, fashion, tramp stamps, the state of the world and of course men as we made our way closer to the bus stop. Halfway there someone suggested we stop off at a Starbucks that was on the side of the road. I tell you those things are just everywhere! “ Declining their offer I explained that I had to stay on the road. Suddenly the sky was filled with fireworks. I am such a sucker for fire works. Fire works for me is like waving cake in front of a fat kid’s face,irresistible. I was mesmerized by them but with each explosion that went off I felt my head hurting as if it were going to split open. It was if my head and the fireworks were in sync with each other. One of the girls placed her hand on the small of my back gently guiding me into Starbucks, while the other chick held the door open for me, “come on you need to sit down you’re exhausted.” Okay I’ll sit for a minute, catch my breath and leave.

As soon as I stepped into the place I began to feel funny. My heart seemed to slow down and I knew I had made a mistake. The last thing I needed right now was the rush of caffeine in my system constricting my arteries. The aura I got off this place was bad; it was one of panic and sadness. Probably from all the Starbuck heads flipping out over the long lines I thought. I couldn’t breathe and I could actually hear my heart slowing down. I put my hand on the now closed door. The pauses between beats were getting longer until it felt as if my heart had stopped. I couldn’t get the door open it was too heavy for me. I sank down onto the floor leaning on the door. I told the girls I needed air. I could hear my father calling out my name. Cleo was barking again she wouldn’t let the two girls near me; they were trying to help me up and guide me to the back of the shop. One of them said there was a cot in the back for me to lay down on. It looked really dark back there. I don’t like being in the dark in unfamiliar places. It smelled horrible, they needed a case of Fabreeze and to light some incense ‘cause it smelled like decay or what I imagined goat ass to smell like up in there. I was trying to pull myself up grabbing onto Cleo for support when someone on the other side of the door opened it up.

I landed at the feet of a man wearing a black trench coat. He had several friends with him. How did I know they were friends? They were all wearing the same black trench coats. So either they were a gang or there had been a mega wicked sale on black trench coats at the local department store. “The Black Trench Coat Mafia” popped into my head. The leader of the black trench coat mafia bent over and scooped me into his arms. He then put his hand on my chest. Carajo this is not my day. Not only can I not breathe but now this dude is gonna cop a feel and I don’t have the strength to punch him in his face. I swear I have no luck. Cleo for this you don’t bark?

As soon as his hand touched my chest it felt all warm but then again I’m sure many women have experienced that in their life time but this was different. I felt my heart starting up again. He looked into my face smiling,” all better now?” “Yes” I kind of felt guilty for thinking he was trying to feel my boobs up. He slowly set me on my feet. All of a sudden I didn’t feel too good. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I felt so tired and so cold. Someone’s hand touch my forehead. My body felt weak and I felt my legs give from under me. “She has a fever. Lay her down she needs rest. We can’t help her with this one. It has to break on its own.” WTF is this Little House On The Prairie? Someone go fetch Pa Ingalls and give half-pint some Tylenol, she’s got a bus to catch!

I rested in a field under an apple tree, with a black trench coat as my bedding. Nearby there was a stream. I could hear it. I struggled to wake up but my eyelids were just too heavy. I could feel movement around me. Every now and then I’d manage to pry open my eyes and would see gauze filtered images of the black trench coat mafia members watching me. They laid cool cloths dipped in water on my forehead. They moistened my dry lips. Someone covered me with their coat when I was cold. Sometimes I could hear the winged monkeys flying over head and hear the voice of the wicked professor of the mid-west calling out to me. Other times I heard my mother calling me in the sing song tone she uses when she’s waking us up for school in the morning. I don’t know how long I laid there but when I awoke Cleo was licking my hands. After having something to eat and drink I felt better, ready to resume my journey. The leader of black trench coat mafia informed me they’d be walking me to the bus stop.

Mia: Are you all part of a band or something?

Harry: No we’re guardian angels.

Mia: Curtis Sliwa’s Guardian Angels ?I don’t see red berets.

Harry: No not that kind.

He rolled his eyes towards the heavens and pointed upwards.

My eyes opened up to the size of saucers and if anyone of you have ever seen how big my eyes can get you know that’s not pretty. Freak it the way this dream was going it was to be expected. Might as well go with the flow.

Mia: Oh. Are all of you are my guardian angels?

Harry:No, just me. The rest are just my friends. We were just in the area. You know Mia you’ve had me working over time these past few days. First the incident with the bridge, you should know better by the way young lady, then the car and now this.

Mia: Sorry.

Harry: My name is Harry.

Mia: Nice to meet you Harry. Has anyone ever told you look like Bruno Ganz? Damiel in Wings of Desire? No offense but I’ve always pictured angels and being more dainty looking. You kind of look like a hit-man or something.

Harry: Yeah I get that all the time. Not all of us look like Fabio on the cover of a romantic novel.

Mia: I like faces with character. So you’re my guardian angel eh?

Harry: Yup.

Mia: So mira where’s the halo and those huge ass wings I’ve heard so much about ?

Harry: Oh the halo ‘s strictly for the stay at home angels. You have to look really close to see our wings they are invisible to the human eye. We like to blend in.

Mia: Stealth Wings, how pentagon-ish of you.

Harry: The heavy bird like wings and all that other stuff out in the open wouldn’t be practical on earth you know. We walk among you.

Mia: Ahh so the rumors are true then. So have you always been with me?

Harry: Mostly…Yes.

Mia:The time that I was caught in that….

Harry: yes that was me.

Mia: What about the….

Harry: Yes that was me too.

Mia: Get along gang tricycle incident of 1985?

Harry: Me.

Mia: So you’re the one to blame for that beautician hacking all of my hair off and making me look like Dora The Explorer when all I wanted her to do was to trim my layers?

Harry: No that wasn’t me. I was at a seminar. There was a replacement guardian on duty that day. That was that guy over there. Martin raise your hand!

All of a sudden an angel with a Dorothy Hamill hair cut shot his hand up. Suddenly the hair cut I had been given made sense to me.

Martin: Sorry about that love.

Seeing Martin who looked rather effeminate reminded me of something…

Mia: Harry I’ve always wondered about something I remember reading once.

Harry: Yes?

Mia: Angels they are neither male or female right? They are both sexes right?

Harry: Yes.

Mia: But you’re a guy. I mean you look like a guy

Harry: Yeah but some of us look like women and with some of us you can’t tell exactly what we are at first glance.

Martin: androgynous


Mia: Like a lot of my auntie Yvette’s friends but without the gay pride t-shirt.

Harry: Yes

Mia: So angels in a way are the original transgenders.

Harry: Mia you have a very unique way of looking at things.

Mia: So I’ve been told.

I noticed that the travelers that were with me were not among the trench coat mafia .

Mia: What happened to the other 2 females going to the city?

Harry:They changed their minds.

Harry: Are you tired?

Mia: No I’m used to walking. I walk several miles a day.

Harry:Yes I know…the bridge in the middle of the night.

Mia: You’re not going to let that go are you?

Harry:Are you ever going to do it again?

Mia:Well since you and my mom are being so anal about it. No, I promise I won’t ever do it again. Are you ever going to be out sick and leave Martin in charge of me again when I am getting a hair cut?

Harry: laughing No.

“I’m surprised at you Mia”, said one of the trench coat mafia members Harry told me his name was Octavio.


Octavio: Well usually people want to ask questions

Mia: Like what?

Octavio:What’s the true meaning of life...

Mia: Oh I know the answer to that one.

They all looked amused… “Well enlighten us child”, piped a voice.

Mia:The true meaning of life is different for everyone. It’s never the same for any 2 people. It all depends what lives in their hearts. What gives them peace.

Octavio:How old is this child again?

Harry: 23

Martin: She’s been here many times before you know.

Mia: Have I really?

Martin: Yes. I’ve met you a few times before you know.

Mia: And none of those past Mia’s filled you in that this wasn’t a good look for me ?!pointing to my haircut as I shot him the evil eye

Harry:laughing Let it go Mia.

Mia: Fine.

We walked in silence for a minute or so. Cleo kept the trench coat mafia amused by doing tricks.

Harry: So you have no questions?

Mia:Well yeah.

Octavio: Oh really so what’s the question?


Octavio: Because I am curious.

Mia: No the question is Why.

Octavio: Why what?

Mia: Just that. Why? Por que. Why the wars, why the hate, why the genocide, why the disease, why the evil. Why the flowers, why the music, why the love, why the good.

Octavio: What do you think the answer is ?

Mia: Why ask why. If none of it existed we’d never know the true potential of human kind. Accept it and try to change what you can. It’s all about free will and making choices.

Octavio: That’s it then?

Mia: No I’d like to add a big Thank You as well.

Martin: Why?

Mia: For everything I mentioned and more.

Martin: Wise beyond her years.

Mia: Ay don’t try to suck up Martin you’re still not off the hook for this! pointing to hair

Martin: You promised to let it go Mia!
I was about to make another snarky remark about him sleeping on the job during my hair cut when I saw the town ahead of us. It was beautiful. It reminded me in some ways of my favorite spot in Central Park. Underneath a weeping willow tree stood an old man handing out piraguas (snow cones). I approached his cart checking out the tamarindo (tamarind), jonjoli (sesame), cherry and coco syrups he poured liberally over the piraquas in their paper cups. “ Hola Don Piraguero la vieja del otro pueblo me mando ande usted.”(Hello Sir Snow Cone Man the old lady from the other village sent me) “Si ya lo sabia tesoro” (Yes, I already knew it treasure) and he handed me a coco piragua and a metro card. He touched my face giving me the warmest smiles “que dios te bendiga mija” (May God Bless you my child) “Gracias senor igualmante!”(thank you sir likewise) The leader of the trench coat mafia pointed out the bus stop in the shade of a tree.

Harry: Quite an adventure you’ve had haven’t you?

Mia: Yup Mia and Cleo’s most excellent adventure.

Harry: Are you and Cleo ready to go home now?

Mia: Yeah I have a paper I have to work on.

Harry: Do you feel better now?

Mia: Sure do you and the rest of the trench coat mafia took good care of me.

Harry: The trench… oh my I’ve never heard us called that!

We walked towards the bus that was going to take me home. It looked a lot like the #36 bus that runs past my house. The trench coat mafia took turns hugging me. I hugged Martin and told him,” I was only teasing you Martin…it’s only hair relax it ain’t that serious.” Harry got on board the bus with me. “I’m escorting you all the way home.” I turned to wave good-bye to the rest of the trench coat mafia and winked at Martin. I don’t know how long the ride took all I know is that I leaned on Harry and quickly fell asleep. When he woke me up the bus was in NYC, well actually we were at the supposed entrance of NYC.
Harry: You’ll be fine from here just open the door. You're out of the woods You're out of the dark You're out of the night Step into the sun Step into the light Keep straight ahead for The most glorious place On the face Of the earth or the sky Hold onto your breath Hold onto your heart Hold onto your hope March up to the gate And bid it open—Open...

Oh wunnerful a guardian angel that quotes lyrics from The Wizard of Oz my butt is definitely getting sued by MGM because of this dream.

I opened one eye first…ay bright light! Bright light! I quickly closed it. I decided to open them slowly. I smelled flowers, lots of them. I slowly opened my eyes trying to adjust to the light in the room. Once they were fully opened I noticed all the flowers. Wait a minute this is not my bedroom. What’s the deal with all these flowers? I saw someone crying I couldn’t make them out. Okay let me add this up. Flowers, lots of flowers plus blasting air conditioner plus crying person equals funeral parlor! HOLY CRAP se jodio Mia . That’s it I am dead…I’m dead, I’m dead…my tummy growls. Hold up. Dead people feel hunger? This not Dawn of The Dead human brain and flesh hunger. This is more like turkey and cheese on whole wheat with spicy brown mustard type of hunger. I pick up my head and say, “Ma? Pa?”, nothing. Louder with feeling, “ Mami?! Papi?! ” In less than a second my bedside is filled with people.

Dad: So you had a really bad dream?

Mia: It wasn’t all bad. I just wanted to get home.

Dad: (laughing) All you had to do was click your heels three times and say “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Mia: Pa?

Dad: Yeah baby girl?

Mia: If anyone from MGM or Ted Turner’s office calls you’ve never heard of me okay?

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