“Piernas Abiertas” by Fedora Copley

In World of Whorecraft, Nathan McBride is not a produce worker at Piggly Wiggly. He is Señor Piña and he has the best prostitutes in all of Piernas Abiertas. And now he is lounging by his well in the center of the pueblo.

Upon his head, Senor Pina places his black and red sombrero with the embroidered pineapples. His freshly greased mustache glints in the hot Mexican sunlight. He is impeccably clean in a town where red dust clouds the air.

From out of the shadows of white-washed buildings, Señor Piña’s putas saunter towards him.  They are dark-eyed beauties with shimmering skin and puckered lips. They press pesos into his belt and whisper the names of bad men into his ear so he may deal with them later. Señor Piña’s favorite puta, Tepita, plants a kiss on his cheek, and he smiles.

Tepita moves her mouth to his ear, and tells him there is trouble brewing. Some local hotshots are fed-up with Señor Piña’s power over the well. You must be watchful, she tells him. Don’t become lazy with your power, Senor.

Señor Piña sends them away to find more business, and dismisses Tepita’s concern.  In Piernas Abiertas, one can’t let fear come too close.

* * *

Nathan McBride is restocking eggplants. He wonders if they have eggplant in Mexico. A red-headed woman approaches him, and asks if he knows where to find the organic toe cream. He wants to tell her no, I don’t know where the fucking toe cream is, this is the fucking produce section, but instead he smiles and says Aisle 3 and 4 have hygiene products ma’am.  She says thanks, and didja hear that Ghana won the World Cup? He says No I didn’t hear that but it sure is great, with them a developing country and all. And as her red hair bounces away, he goes back to the eggplants.

When he looks up again, there is a brown woman next to him examining the avocados. He has a weakness for brown women. Hey, he says to her with a broad grin, you gonna make some tasty sauce with those?

She looks at him strangely and walks away. He has a way with brown women, he thinks inwardly. A way of making them really creeped out.

* * *

Senor Pina is wearing his silver and green sombrero with the painted Santa Muerte. His putas have less money to give him than usual, and he is angry. He broods by the well, and denies water to women who come with empty buckets to fill unless they give him pesos.

When the sun is hot overhead, he sees a Mariachi band spill out from the bar. They laugh, stumble, clank together their instruments in rhythmic discordance. He yells at them to be quiet, or else play a real song. Si Senor Pina, says one in a sing-song voice. We sing to you a song…is called…is called La Mujer Mas Estupido es La Mas Bonita. You will like!

Señor Piña tells them to play it for him and he will decide if it is good and worth a cold drink from the well. The Mariachi band begins with joyful, sloppy enthusiasm. The blaring horns and the trilling voice relieve Señor Piña of his trouble for a moment, and he allows his eyes to close. At this moment, the music ends suddenly and an accordion collides with his face. Hijo de puta! he yells as he is thrown to the ground by the impact. The Mariachi band surrounds him and the accordion player goes in for another hit. But Señor Piña pulls his knife from his boot and slashes up in time to split the accordion in two. Two horn players throw themselves towards Señor Piña and punch him in the ribs and stomach. Señor Piña strikes at them with his knife and sees blood leaking from their faces. But there are too many of them.

Suddenly Tepita is there with her brothers and they are yelling and they grab the Mariachi players. Soon everyone is fighting the ground and blood is soaking into the dust.  Señor Piña is free and he lunges toward the leader who is shouting at his cohorts. Señor Piña stabs him twice in the abdomin and he screams and soon he dies. When all the Mariachi players are dead in the dust, Tepita’s brothers gather around Señor Piña to see that he is well. In Piernas Abiertas, it helps to have ten brothers as body guards.

* * *

Nathan McBride is calmly explaining to a large man with a bushy mustache and NASCAR shirt why the bananas have changed location. You see, sir, they’re more accessible here, next to the pineapples.

But the man keeps repeating I don’t understand why you sonsabitches have to move every thing all the time! When I want my bananas, I want to know they’ll be next to the oranges, not the fuckin’ pineapple! Do I look like someone who wants some pussy pineapple next to my bananas?

Nathan McBride says No sir, you sure don’t look like that. I’ll tell my manager your request.

The man scoffs and strides off, and Nathan McBride sees a Hispanic woman reaching for the zucchinis. Hello there ma’am, he says with a broad smile, looks like you sure know how to choose the biggest ones, huh?

She looks at him, confused, and takes her child’s hand to lead him away from the weird white man. Nathan McBride sighs and walks to his cart of wilted spinach. The scent of rotting plants prickles his nose.

* * *

Señor Piña is wearing his white sombrero and Tepita is greasing is mustache. You look like a true patrón, she says when she is done. He pulls her towards him and kisses her so he can taste her sweet vanilla mouth. Señor, she scolds and pulls away, laughing. You must pay for that! she teases.

Tepita’s brothers lounge around the well now. They give Señor Piña the feeling of security. He knows they will hold true to their word because he gives them money and access to cold water.

The Indians come when the sun goes down. Señor Piña is collecting from his putas when he hears their war cry. They have been hiding behind the jail, and now they run out with their spears and knives. One of Tepita’s brothers falls when he is hit with a flying spear. A few other fall down, wounded, before they can take cover. They have only knives, which cannot fly as the Indians’ spears do. But Señor Piña

has his revolver now, and he fires it at the charging Apache. They scatter, afraid of the metal weapon, but they are determined. They zig-zag toward the putas who are cowering next to the bar with a few brothers as protection. Señor Piña yells at them to run into the bar, but the Indians are fast, and they reach the screaming putas. The Indians grab them, throw them over their backs, and take off running. The brothers run after them with their knives, and Señor Piña shoots some in the back. The Indians manage to take only a few putas who were not very pretty anyway. Señor Piña is shaken but considers his good fortune. Then, he sees an armadillo curled up on the ground. One of Tepita’s brothers says Madre de dios! The Indian chief’s companero, Muk Muk. We should take it Senor, keep it for ransom! In Piernas Abiertas, it helps to have an Indian Chief’s armadillo.

* * *

Nathan McBride is tired of potatoes. He is tired of vegetables and he is tired of this Piggly Wiggly. He wishes he could be with his Tepita and feel the rush of adrenalin as the next foolish man charges him. But he is here, and he is moving bags of potatoes. A young girl comes up to him and asks him why he’s moving those. Well I’ve gotta put the new ones out and take the bad ones away, he explains. Oh, okay, she says. Do you like to eat Thanksgiving? That’s my favorite. And he tells her that’s his favorite too. She laughs and gives him a twisted up paperclip. She bounds away, beaming, to her mother. Nathan McBride does a double take, because her mother is surely the most beautiful Latino he has ever seen. He walks towards them, and sees she is not wearing a ring. She reaches for some plums and gently squeezes them. He is there, and he doesn’t know what to say. Do you like plums? he says. They’re my favorite. She laughs and says Weird. They’re my favorite too. Nathan McBride has a way with brown women. A way of making it work out, somehow.

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